Degradation of Environment due to Industrial Development
The degradation of environment is one of the major problems of industrial development. Until very recently consideration for environment was considered as restricting the economic growth but now only after a decade of environment planning it is considered as an aid to industrial development. This means that industrial development and environment planning are complementary. They almost go band in hand. Some of the major problems of environment degradation on account of industrial development are the following:
(i) Problem of Resources: Many of the resources are used wastefully. In a developing country like India many resources are used at between 35% to 50% efficiency. For example lot of coal was wasted only just 5 years back. The same wastes are today used for making chemicals and fertilisers. The power plants have an efficiency of just 50% to 60%. A lot of coal, petrol and gas as well as human resources can be saved by raising the efficiency level.
(ii) Pollution and Wastes: Industries produce all types of wastes in liquid, solid and gaseous forms. These wastes are the chief cause of pollution. The chiorofluorocarbons (CFCS) which come from_aerosol sprays, nuclear weapons, refrigerators etc. have caused a hole in ozone layer of atmosphere. This hole is leading to increased amount of harmful ultraviolet radiation reaching the earth. Water pollution, atmospheric pollution, noise pollution etc. are all a result of industrialisation resulting in environment degradation.
(iii) Degradation of ecosystems : Man created land forms on account of large scale mining and housing, deforestation to make way for industries, modifications in vegetation and slopes, entry of chemicals in natural ecosystems, mechanisation of farming have produced artificial ecosystems leading to their degradation. This is resulting in spread of many diseases and extinction of flora and fauna.
Measures to Control Degradation
The struggle of people and their governments against environment degradation is best described today by conservation. Almost all the conservation measures are interlinked and interdependent. For example, increasing vegetation cover or afforestation can directly benefit industry• through cleaner environment, increasing ground water resources for industrial use and making many raw materials available. However, some of the specific measures taken in this field to controlling environmental degradation are the following:
(a) Mineral conservation : Minerals are the chief raw materials of industry. Minerals can be conserved through improving efficiency. in processing of minerals, reducing wastes, recycling of minerals like iron (scrap), aluminium, waste paper and many other resources, improving mining methods arid finding substitutes. Government of India has also taken many steps towards conservation of minerals. Some of the important steps taken include remote-sensing of mineral reserves, mapping including scientific development of mineral resources under the overall direction of Indian Bureau of Mines.
(b) Pollution Control : The Government of India has taken many measures under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 for management and control of hazardous substances. Many individual legislations have been passed by the Parliament. Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules and Hazardous Wastes Rules pertaining to industry have also been formulated and many rules are already being implemented. The Water and Air Acts are major instruments for control of water and air pollution.
(c) Legal Measures and Public Awareness : The Government is taking many regulatory and legal measures like for example environment clearance for setting up new industries as well as their location; putting into force Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Rules 2000; prohibiting commercial lending agencies and banks to extend financial assistance or loans to industries using outdated technologies or ODS-technologies. Many awards like Rajiv Gandhi Environment Award for Clean Technology, Pitamber Pant National Environment Fellowship Award, Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Puraskar and other public awareness measures are also being taken to prevent environment degradation by industries.