STRUCTURE OF ENVIRONMENT

ENVIRONMENT:

By definition, the term ‘environment’ means surroundings in which the organisms live. It is the sum total of all biotic(living) and abiotic(non-living) factors that surround and potentially influence an organism.

CLASSIFICATION:

The environment can be broadly classified into four groups-

  • Atmosphere
  • Lithosphere
  • Hydrosphere
  • Biosphere

ATMOSPHERE:

Atmosphere is the layers of gases that surround the earth like a coating. It can be further divided into many sublayers which explained in the figure below.

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LITHOSPHERE:

Lithosphere is the layer of rocks that is present planet earth which covers the crust and upper mantle of the earth.

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HYDROSPHERE:

Hydrosphere is the major constituent of the earth surface. It is majorly divided into salt water and fresh water.

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BIOSPHERE:

Biosphere is combination of all ecosystems. This is one of the main sphere which should be concentrated by the human being.

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          The other two important spheres are pedosphere(soil) and cryosphere(ice).

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ANIMAL TESTING

          Animal testing means using animals in experiments for testing drugs that can be used to human treatment. It is an issue which is widely debatable among the people whether it is morally correct to kill animals for human needs.

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          In my view, animal testing can be classified into two types. Firstly, testing the drugs on animals which are manufactured to cure some dangerous and incurable diseases. This one had proved to be a great use to humans like the invention of polio vaccine which stopped the loss of millions of life. On the other hand, testing the drugs that are used for cosmetics manufacture and other luxuries is an unnecessary one. This one can be stopped by incorporating laws and government can stop funding such projects.

          Most people talk about the alternatives instead of animal testing like human testing but like animals humans cannot be confined to a particular environment if they got affected. Animal testing can even save their own kind if a drug is invented to cure other animal diseases using animal testing. Though there are many moral issues, animal testing is an essential one unless any other alternative is invented.

EVS PROJECT

  DISPOSAL OF e-WASTES

Motivation :

The term  e-wastes include electronic items like phones, laptops, television, parts of a computer, CD players. The amount of e-wastes is on the rise over the past 5years especially. The total volume of e-wastes in the entire world per year is estimated to be about 40 million metric tonnes. However, proper disposal of these wastes have not yet been designed. The reasons include

  • Lack of awareness among people about the method of disposal
  • No special steps taken towards it since the waste collected per week from homes is very less compared to the municipal wastes

Existing Methods:

Landfill is the main method for disposing e-wastes in most parts of our country. Recycling and reusing of e-wastes is the second major method which is followed in places where funding is provided. Resource conservation and Recovery Act is the law that is followed by many countries in recycling e-wastes.  Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment and reduction of hazardous substances directives are some of the directives in urging the manufacturers of electronic equipments to provide recycling of those equipments after use. But these laws are carried out in very few countries. Advance Fee Recovery collects extra money from customers who purchase electronic goods for recycling purposes. Trishyiraya  Recycling India recycles e-wastes in India but  it is also done only on a smaller scale.

Proposal :

The solutions for proper disposal of e-wastes can be derived from the reasons for its improper disposal. Educating people on the safe method of disposals through advertisements ( may be ask some famous actor or cricketer to take the lead), documentary films, shopkeepers when they buy the product could be one of the solution. ( who knows this step may become a huge hit like the polio campaign advertisement by Amitab sir) The second method is to make the producers itself collect the used ones. Since, there are many electronic companies that are set up at various places, large companies like Nokia, IBM, Samsung should take the initiative of setting up a separate recycling unit one for each type of electronic product and ask the smaller shops to collaborate with them in sending the collected products to these recycling units. This also provides employment opportunities to many. Currently, only very few companies have recycling plants. Also, laws must be strictly enforced for ensuring that people do not throw away the products in the municipal waste or else fine should be levied from them. Exchange of products is an attractive and ongoing solution but not all companies do not recycle them. By the above solution of smaller companies tying up with larger ones these exchanged products could be recycled in an efficient manner.

 

Collection and Controlled breakdown:

Once the general public has been informed and awareness made common to masses, steps need to be taken to make public means of controlled and systematic dismantling, breakdown and disposal of e waste. A central body can be set up to manage general workings of children institutes where e waste disposal guidelines are made public and its services made freely available. This body must also adhere to stipulated laws that have been passed in regard to the e waste disposal procedures.

Working of this body could significantly improve centralized and controlled handling of e waste. This can have a cumulative positive effect on the environment. Everything from the economic boost received by revenues generated directly and indirectly by safe dismantling, to the safety of health of concerned workers can be integrally safe guarded. Workers would otherwise have to deal with non-standard means of separating out molten chips from silicon beds, the fumes of which are known to have severe and lifelong effects on its frequent inhalers.

It is however noteworthy to highlight that only a wide approach to this kind of disposal would amount to significant measurements of success. Success can be quantized by statistical study of waste silicon related e products ending up in landfills and the amount of revenue generated by its relative processes.

Disaster Mitigation Strategies – FIRE

1. INTRODUCTION: 

Disasters may be either man-made or natural. Every region is prone to one or the other kind of hazards like cyclone (Air), flood (Water), drought , earthquake (Land), Hail (Sky)etc… Fire hazards is caused by the fifth natural element the Fire. Fire disasters can again be either natural (forest fires) or man-generated ( due to bombing ) . It can occur on all three regions- above land in skyscrapers, aeroplanes; on the ground (forest fires); below the ground in mines.

1.1  TYPES:

Based on the cause for the outbreak of fire, it can be classified into the following two types:

  • Natural : It may be caused by volcanic eruptions, damage to power lines and natural gas systems during earthquake. However, it is a complex scenario which occurs rarely.
  • Man -generated : It may be the result of short circuit in buildings, electronic equipments in large companies, kitchen fires, ignition of flammable substances which are accidental. The fire emanating from garbage wastes due to reaction of chemicals and combustible substances, bombing activities also result in fire which is intentional.

II.  FIRE PREVENTION STRATEGIES:

          1. Prevention of fire due to Hazardous chemicals  

Chemicals used and stored in school and college laboratories must adhere to strict Hazards Communication Policies. Safe storage and handling of chemicals is of prior importance to prevent combustible chemicals from producing fire hazards. Thus, these institutions must follow strict guidelines and the staffs handling them should be provided training to handle such chemicals.

          2. Safety at home

! Check if you have turned off the gas before leaving home

! If you detect any leakage of gas or short-circuit, turn off your main, open the kitchen windows, alert everyone in the site to leave to open ground and immediately call to fire brigade service

! At kitchen, ensure that oil is not close to combustible substances as it intensifies the fire

! It is always advisable to wear apron or cotton clothes while working in kitchen as nylon or silk materials stick to one’s skin on burning.

! During festivals like Diwali, take atmost care while bursting crackers. Burst rockets and sky crackers at a high altitude (terrace) or open grounds (most preferable)

           3. Safety at Work place

~ All companies are requested to have fire extinguishers ( minimum of one on each floor) so that incase of outbreak of fire it could be immediately put off

~ Each and every employee must be taught to operate these fire extinguishers

~ For air-conditioned rooms, emergency exits should be created

~ Incase of companies dealing with chemicals and electronic equipments it is solely their responsibility to undertake safety measures enumerated in the manual of those chemicals and electronic items

~ Unused e-items should be disposed off immediately rather than storing them in a repository

        4.  Safety during mass gatherings at an event

! Use decoration items that are non-combustible

! Inspect lighting wires for damaged insulation, bare wires, loose connection

! Ensure that there is no lit candles, the cooking area is away from the gathering

 III. FIRE MITIGATION STRATEGIES

 3.1 What to do before a Fire?

~ Prepare escape routes from the site by analyzing the different ways available with your family. Practice the route if necessary

~ Ensure that each room has a fire safety opening  feature on windows for exit

~ Place fire extinguishers at various places in the building. Test and clean it at regular intervals

~ Have a ladder in a storeroom of the apartment to evacuate people from other floors

~ Don’t smoke indoors particularly near flammable substances

~ Store flammable substances like gasoline, kerosene in approved containers

~ Keep matchsticks and lighters at a high place away from the vicinity of children

3.2 What to do during Fire?

! Call fire brigade alerting  services immediately

! Remember that hot air raises to the top. So, air near floor will be cooler. Try to crawl through any exit

! If you are out of the room that has got fire, keep the door closed and evacuate the room. Do not open it

!  If your clothes catch fire instead of running which will only intensify it, cover yourselves with a blanket or roll on the floor till the fire is extinguished

3.3 What to do after fire?

~ Do not open any closed boxes immediately after entering the room since it would have been heated and opening it would result in bursting of contents

~On entering the house, if you still detect heat leave the room

~ Inform your landlord if it is a rented house

 IV. FOREST FIRES IN INDIA

Forests are most prone to fires compared to any other kind of disasters. It is the result of flames produced from twigs that settle down on the forest cover during summer. Himalayan forests experiences forest fires frequently. Such disaster destroys the flora and fauna in that region thus disturbing the ecosystem. In Himachal Pradesh, the total number of cases registered for forest fires in the year is about 450. Forest fires can in turn be classified into various types namely underground fire, surface fire,ground fire and crown fire.In South India, it is a common practice for many tribes to carry out Slash and Burn Method of farming in which they clear a small portion of forest area and burn the vegetation in it for cultivation. This also serves them as a source of fertilisers in the form of ashes. However, if practiced continuously it may affect the environment adversely. Moreover, Forest fires result in huge amount of noxious gases being released into the atmosphere which causes health hazards like respiratory problems and global warming due to increase in the level of carbon monoxide, methane hydrocarbons. Ultimately it also results in the depletion of ozone layer.

 4.1 Forest fire prevention

There is a separate forest department allocated for each and every state and union territory.  Currently, the Forest Protection Division is implementing a scheme called, Modern Forest Fire Control Methods under which financial assistance is provided for all states in achieving prevention of forest fires. Using this, the state is required to obtain fire fighting equipments, construction of fire watch towers, fire resistant clothes, propagating the safety measures. Forest fires were prevented during the British regime by clearing off the forest litters during summer. This was called Forest Line. This method should now be brought into existence.

V. STEPS TAKEN BY GOVERNMENT IN PREVENTING FIRE

From the beginning, government of India has envisaged many different fire safety acts including that of  Fire force bill, Fire services bill, Fire prevention and safety act for buildings. It had also taken a great step towards incorporating the subject Fire Protection and Control as part of  the 7th schedule of the Constitution. Explosive rules for fire crackers, creating many awareness programs are some of the credible measures taken by the Government. Delhi Prevention act ,1986 was introduced in our capital which checks if all apartments are equipped with fire fighting instruments, providing fire safety guidelines at various Fire prevention wings. National Forest policy was adopted in the year 1988. The main aim of the policy goes like this :

” The incidence of the forest fires in the country is high. Standing trees and fodder are destroyed
on a large scale and natural regeneration annihilated by such fires. Special precautions should
be taken during the fire season. Improved and modern management practices should be
adopted to deal with forest fires.”

VI. CONCLUSION

There are various fire mitigation strategies laid out by the government and it is our duty to follow them inorder to prevent fire disasters from happening in the future.

Reference:

Online: “Fire Disasters” , saarc-sdmc.nic.in/pdf/fire.pdf

PALLIKARANAI AND VANDALUR TRIP

PALLIKARANAI:

          I along with my classmates have visited Pallikaranai marsh lands as an activity for our environmental studies course. Though it is referred as marsh land, in reality there is only a small lake remains. It had been said that this land is used to be shelter for many species of birds before a decade but now this wet land have been occupied on one side by local government to dump daily city wastes and on the other side, majority of the land were converted into construction plots and IT companies. I always wondered about the fact that during the monsoon season, majority of the south Chennai will be surrounded by rain water and it takes weeks to drain this water but now after visiting this marsh land I understood that it is because major  regions of south Chennai was formed by destroying these marsh lands.

VANDALUR ZOO:

Finishing our visit to Pallikaranai wetlands, we travelled to the famous Vandalur zoo. On my way, I had the chance to see remains of those wetlands here and there like small ponds with contaminated water and some birds flying around.

          Entering the zoo, my initial instinct reminded me the zoo as a denser Anna University with lot of trees around. We have started our trip into the zoo by seeing our own species of monkeys. Then we came across different species of birds and then the highlight of our visit, the white tiger and not to forget we have taken numerous photos of both the residents of the zoo and us. Overall it was a very entertaining and useful day for all of our classmates.

AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH

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          An Inconvenient Truth is a documentary movie in which former vice president of United States of America, Al Gore tries to explain people on the present concerns to the environment with his own experiences.

MY VIEWS:

          After watching the movie, I have googled many topics discussed in the movie. After doing so I have come to a total agreement with the documentary. The facts that were shown by Al Gore clearly state the need for the immediate steps by humans and governments to stop and reverse the action. The photos that showed the increasing rate of glacier melting is the best example for the effects created by man to the environment in terms of global warming.

IMPACT:

          Al Gore’s explanations have clearly educated me on the present situation of environmental impact by use of fossil fuels and different energies. These facts made me to concern more for the environment as I have increased my travel through public transportation and planted trees with my friends through NSS.

GENETICALLY MODIFIED RADISH

The genetically modified Radish is used to produce vaccine for acne.

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THE NEED:

Pimples are one of the most common disturbances among young people. Pimples occur when pores in our skin get closed. This causes the oxygen level to drop and making the bacteria present there to eat our skin. Using antibacterial creams, we can destroy these bacteria but the other good bacteria will also get destroy. Instead these pimples can be treated by using genetically modified radishes.

THE EFFECT:

The genetically modified radish will have scax gene which make the crop to produce some specific proteins. After this the plant is grinded and a nasal spray is produced from it. Using this spray in humans, the antibodies needed destroy the proteins that affects skin wall is produced which will more safe compared to other creams.

GOVERNMENT POLICIES:

The Australian government has denied permission to grow genetically modified radish because it can combine along with genetically modified turnip so that they exchange pollen and start producing hybrid products. The output of these genetically modified crops have many hazardous impacts on the human health. So they trying to maintain the status of  GM free state.