In the 21st Century, humanity has made great progress in the fields of science and technology, thereby making human life more comfortable. However, do we ever spare a thought for the impact it has on our environment?
As far as the developed nations are concerned, they have a reasonable system of ensuring safe disposal of industrial and domestic waste products. However they need to think beyond their own land – the impact their system has at the global level. It is here that the developed nations have failed – the biggest culprit being the United States. In spite of repeated persuasions, they have refused to sign the Kyoto protocol, which was supposed to be a landmark agreement towards sustainable development. And the results are there for us to see – irregular weather patterns due to global warming, of which lately the superpower itself has faced the maximum suffering.
Environmental problems arise primarily due to inefficient utilisation and of resources, and their improper management and lack of proper planning. In developing nations, problems are aplenty. Millions of people in Africa and Asia do not have sufficient access to food, clean drinking water and shelter. There are people in rural areas and the slums still grappling with diseases such as malaria, typhoid, cholera, polio, etc. which the developed world has eradicated long ago. Bad governance has played a part in the misery of the people as well – it sucks up a large portion of funds through corruption and the help is not reached to the needy. Disasters in India have seen a spurt of scams in the financial aid distributed by the government. In developing nations the divide between the rich and the poor has become larger and larger. This has lead to the disillusioned, especially the youth resorting to crimes. Terrorism is a possible by-product of these problems.
There is an imbalance between the use of resources between the developed nations and developing nations. As it is rightly said by Mahatma Gandhi, “The earth has enough to satisfy everybody’s needs but not everybody’s greed.” It is estimated that if each one of us on this earth would use resources equal to that of an average American, we would require three earths to sustain this! It is high time that these nations come forward and help the less fortunate ones.
Public transport is an area directly linked to sustainable development. Talking about India, the public transport system has nothing to boast about. It is almost non-existent except in the metro cities. Just recently the capital, New Delhi has developed a subway system (still only on a few routes, and yet to be completed) which London, New York, and Washington to name a few cities, have had long before. Mumbai has a dated suburban railway system, however for a novice it can be a nightmare. The exponentially increasing population has lead to the overburdening of the system. Peak hours can see people on the rooftops of the train dangerously close to the overhead electric lines! In no other country would this be acceptable! Security on the trains is not assured – there is an increase in crime against women on these trains, in addition to the usual pickpocketers. Due to an exponential increase in population, most of the local trains people standing neck-to-neck and even leaning outside. As a result there are more private vehicles- which eventually increase pollution. Ahmedabad, where I live, is one of the most polluted cities in India. Driving a vehicle during peak hours can be an unpleasant experience – with vehicle fumes as company! Adulterated fuel does not help the cause either. As far as public transport is concerned, India is a failed state.
What is more shameful is that it takes orders by the Supreme Court for the central government to ensure public health and safety. It was only after that the courts intervened that it was made compulsory for public vehicles on roads in the capital to run on CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), a non-polluting fuel, to be followed suit by other cities. Again it is the courts which have made wearing a helmet while driving a two-wheeler compulsory only recently!
I feel that developing an efficient public transport system is a bare necessity as it is beneficial on both counts – lesser fuel consumption and therefore a cleaner atmosphere. We could have more vehicles running on alternative fuel and replace fuel guzzling machines with more economical ones. It is high time we became more aware and concerned about our surroundings.
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Good Henry Ekwuruke
| Jan 4th, 2006
public transportation Conor K.
| Apr 23rd, 2009
Along with progress should be the environmental awareness not just only by the government but also of the people. As the number of transportation vehicle is concern, environment became abused with smoke and waste products. As the government like the Obama administration, having the Obama high speed rail plan could lessen the negative effect of transportation progress on the environment that even our grandchildren will be benefited from this.
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