Pollution: A ‘Time Bomb’ for Earth

Nowadays, our ‘green globe’ the earth is facing a serious problem of pollution which is not a little enemy of mankind; rather it is a time bomb for the earth.

In terms of loss and spread, pollution has no boundaries and needs no passport to enter any area. It is a constant threat to mankind and the entire civilization. Pollution has created a lot of hazardous problems for human beings on the earth. Pollution has destabilized the atmospheric balance. It can bring ecological changes capable enough to subvert the entire civilization.

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There are many factors that pollute our environment and we are responsible for them. Such as air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, and noise pollution. Staying alive in a clean environment is the birthright of every living being. Air is an important requirement for staying alive. Everyone may live without water and food for a few days but without air staying alive for more than a few seconds is impossible. According to World Health Organization (WHO), an adult human being requires approximately 15 kilograms of air daily. In scientific times, the ratio of the gases in the environment is changing drastically. Due to the different human activities, a number of poisonous gases are entering the environment disturbing the natural balance on the earth.

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 Air is polluted by poisonous gases, smoke, dust, poisonous vapors, and radioactive rays. The dangerous form of air pollution is Chlorofluorocarbon emitted by air conditioners and refrigerators. These carbons ravage the ozone layer and make a hole in the layer, which is the size of the Australian continent. Air pollution can affect lung development and can implicate asthma and other respiratory diseases. The dangerous effects of air pollution on our environment are heart problems, child health problems, global warming, acid rain, and effects on wildlife. Air pollution is a major public health problem across Pakistan. In Pakistan, an estimated 1, 28,000 people die annually because of air pollution. Human beings, agriculture, and buildings cannot remain unaffected by air pollution. According to Air Quality Index (AQI), the most polluted city of Pakistan is Lahore. In Lahore, the rate of suspended particulate matter (SPM) is 496 micrograms per cubic meter, which is more than other industrial cities of the world.

Allah Almighty has bestowed us with the great blessing of water on the earth. Without it, the survival of human beings is not possible. In our body, 70 percent of our total weight is water. On land, only 2.8 percent is freshwater. Only 0.65 percent of freshwater is found in the liquid form, the rest is found in the form of snow and glaciers. The remaining 97.2 percent of the water on the earth is salty.

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But nowadays, our blessing is facing the deadly problem of pollution. Water is polluted by the waste of industries, farms, and drainage systems. Industries through their waste products into seas and rivers, by which water gets polluted. Farms also pollute the water. Farms through fertilizers and pesticides into water. A drainage system is defined as; the system of contaminated water that comes from houses, offices, and other buildings to canals and seas.

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About 20 percent of the whole population of Pakistan has fresh water for drinking. The remaining 80 percent of the population has unsafe water for drinking, due to scarcity of safe and healthy water. Pakistan’s water issues are due to ineffective management, unequal distribution and growing population make water management a difficult task. Due to the rapid increase in pollution, the quality of water is also changing. The presence of dissolved oxygen in the river Indus is 2.3 milligrams per liter, which is a very low ratio than the average ratio of 5.5 milligrams per liter. Contaminated water is not only harmful to human health but also leaves negative effects on animals and plants as well.

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The presence of harmful elements in the soil makes it polluted biologically, chemically, and physically. Soil gets polluted by natural and artificial elements. The natural pollutants are fire in forests, floods, earthquakes, and many other pollutants which pollute the soil naturally. Artificial elements mean activities done by humans. Agricultural economy expert Amir Hayat Bhandara said, human activities are the main cause of soil pollution in Pakistan. The artificial pollutants are the agricultural waste, rubbish, waste paper, waste of metals, empty boxes, rubber, plastic, leather, cloth, useless items and leftover food, the waste of slaughterhouses, construction waste, dead animals, chemical waste, and insecticide in large quantities and industrial waste. These pollutants not only pollute the surface of the earth but also affect the soil and its fertility. These pollutants also cause skin cancer and respiratory diseases. All these harmful elements are polluting air and water, eventually, pollute soil and entering into the human body, animals, and plants by the process of the food chain.

Noise is also a type of pollution. It is especially found in urban areas. There are many sources of noise pollution in urban areas. Such as the noise of airplanes, the noise of vehicles, the noise of construction machines, the noise of industrial units, the noise of loudspeakers used by street vendors, and marriage bombs. It affects the sense of hearing, causes anxiety, depression and increases blood pressure and changes in heart rate, increasing fatigue, making stress, sleep disturbances, and nervousness. These health problems can affect all age groups, especially children.

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The noise above 80 dB may increase aggressive behavior, but noise levels have reached critical levels in Pakistan with average noise values of 86 dB in Peshawar, 76.5 dB recorded in Karachi, and 72.5 dB in Islamabad. There is a dire need for legislation to control increasing noise pollution inside the cities.

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There is an urgent need to wage a war against this earth’s time bomb. We have to fight together against this dangerous issue. We should clean our environment and improve green culture. We should make a possible way of equal distribution of water. We should make sustainable water and forest management. Building courts should take strict measures against those industries, which are in the center of the city. Industries must be built in those areas, where is not any home. Pressure horns and loudspeakers should be banned. The use of fertilizers must be decreased. The garbage must be burnt safely and bio-gas must be used for cooking purposes instead of wood and dung.

We should follow all these instructions, by which we can protect many lives and can make Pakistan a pollution-free country.   

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This write-up has been contributed by Abdulmajeed Soomro. 

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