All Pervading Pollution and Man … A Consequence
By Dr. Satyendra Nath Maitra(Ex-Associated Professor in Zoology, A. P. C College New Barrackpore, Guest Faculty at State University, A. P. C College in Rahorah, V.C. College for PG in Botany)
Anything harmfully deviated, for life process, from its Natural form by any source other than the Nature, can be called as pollution. Thus no form of pollution can be beneficial to any organic life so to say the man. Only thing is some pollution may be of less harmful, yet others are of medium harmful and some yet others are of acute harmful or even may be of instantaneous effects or for that matter of gradual and cumulative effects.
In general the term pollution indicates any change surrounding man and that causes harmful effect in human life in term of their sustainability, growth and reproduction. This very idea is inappropriate in a sense as in this thinking man has been given the priority to be the only sufferer of the pollutions occurring throughout the Globe and even beyond, the causal agent of which is, of course, the man and only the man – the greatest Pollutant in this Globe. Now automatically question arises as what is that which means’ Natural’ and that has been occurring at the behest of the Nature. To have insight of it one has to go through the scientific lanes of the remote past when the ‘Nature’, in our sense, was yet to appear to its all pervading capability to control and regulate all the types of Evolution of inorganic and organic material and the interconvertability among them in this Globe, as we visualize today. This gradual but continuous evolution from the simpler to the complex forms under total guidance of ‘Natural selection’, till today, was first revealed by Charles Darwin and Wallace ( 1859) for the first time, by extensive observational facts and their analytical derivation.
This very ‘Nature’ could come in to its existence, with all its regulatory power, only about one billion years ago that started its origin after the availability of the free oxygen about one and a three quarter billion years ago from now. Actually this all pervading ‘Nature’ could accumulate its real power as Evolutionary agent from about five hundred million years ago from now that is the beginning of the Cambrian age according to Geological scale. In reality this Earth was the result of huge catastrophic prolonged bombardment, about five billion years before from now, in the Solar Galaxy along with other such bodies including the Sun. This Sun, in reality, formed the Nucleus of the ‘Nature” in course of time. Thus our Solar system without the Sun would have been like an organic cell without the nucleus.
Therefore, according to the emerging scientific knowledges, it appears that the Pollution can be of five types, from the stand point of its exerting effects on all organic forms including man, which are local, National, intra continental, inter continental and above all the Global. Each of these forms of Pollutions should have been addressed from the respective forum for their future controlling. Till date there is no such attempt to address from all those platforms except the National and International forums. Even the International forum is not so cohesive, fundamental and definitive partly due to political and partly due to different interest of different countries. Recently held conference at Kyoto of Japan for Global pollution control can be set as an example for this. In same way the National Pollution control Board also cannot exert full meaningful effort to control pollution due partly to political reason for the governing parties of respective countries and partly due to the influences of some very influential person/persons of that particular country.
Actually it is the man who has been polluting this Globe locally, nationally and internationally by the application of technological knowledges gradually gathered for the last about ten thousand of years or so though the modern man (Homo sapiens) has appeared on this planet for about two lakh of years from now in African peninsula. They started their journey from the African peninsula somewhere at about sixty thousand years back from now mainly through Mesopotamian region first by settling in and around Mesopotamia. At that time man used to be unsocial, uncivilized and uncompromised. The gradual experiences gathered from the day to day survival struggle compelled them to be social so that they could face any natural and or artificial hurdles successfully.
Ultimately that initial loose social structure emerged in time as a cohesive, coherent and decisive one with certain imposing rules in different groups of ancient man according to the need of the surrounding environment. Actually man is the first evolutionary unit in Natural arena who could realize, for the first time in evolutionary history, the ’cause and effect relationship’ which is really an unique perception by means of which man has been able to exploit the Nature so shrewdly, crudely and irreversible destructively, of course under the pretext of another hypocrite coverage known as ‘civilization’.
This very term ‘civilization,’ appears to be paradoxically most hazardous and detrimental for both man and rest of the living organisms on this planate because under its coverage indiscriminate material conversion came in to the fore front resulting in to the rapid industrialization and setting up of multi storied buildings to set up various towns and cities in almost all continents for the last two to four thousand of years or so. As a consequence huge land area had to be deforested; probably more than eighty percent, and lakes and other marshy lands were utilized for those purposes. Instead of green lusturous Natural forests kilometer after kilometers large and huge jungles of concrete came up that started to absorb huge heat from the sun during day time and releasing it during night causing heat imbalance on the Earth surface. For the last thousand years or so this process went on with galloping effect along with other rapidly and steadily achieving multidimensional technological knowledges led man to implement so much material conversion that altered the Nature’s style of functioning on entire environmental scenario throughout the Globe. Those interfering agents are maximally exploited fossil fuel and its burning, production of various non degradable materials such as plastics, huge number of vehicular construction by material conversion, large areas of hilly and mountain area have been catapulted to erect human habitation and agricultural land. At the same time engineering and biomedical researches enabled man to minimize the human mortality causing increased population count that led the increased demand of food and shelter as a result for higher growth of food grain, indiscriminate use of pesticides, insecticides and herbicides have been practicing especially for the last fifty to sixty years throughout the Globe mainly under the political pressure at various countries.
As a result multi billiontones of those chemicals have been infusing in the water bodies including the oceans and by this way the aquatic organisms that constitute the human food have been impregnated that are being regularly consumed by man and other organisms causing gradual accumulation of those chemicals and ultimately insulting the life regulating molecule the DNA in various capacities. In addition entire human genome has been made to be stagnant by leading in to a blind end. More over every day burning of million tones of fossil fuels yields several tons of C02 and other unburned hydrocarbons to occupy the air every day throughout the Globe.
Those gaseous materials ultimately travel up to the Natural protective shield from the incoming dangerous rays of sun and it is already evident that this protective layer has been thinning considerably creating ozone holes particularly at northern region of the Globe. A comparatively steady but sustainable 02 : C02 ratio (about 50:1), is essential in any environment for maintaining entire life process in any plant- animal interactive ecosystem along with all other Natural forces. Indiscriminate destruction of large number of plants and marshy lands through out the Globe , for accommodating rapidly increasing human population at one hand and to arrange food for them on the other hand, has ushered extreme change in this 02:C02 ratio to become 20:1 or so as a consequence the sun light gets diffracted instead of reflection from earth surface retaining more heat in the air , as a result rapid melting of polar glaciers has been reported causing rise of oceanic water level. Thus solar heat retaining has been increasing more rapidly than the scientists thought previously that causes increasing greenhouse effect for all types of Global ecosystem which is really detrimental to living organisms.
Another more dangerous man made pollution that has been practicing for the last thirty to forty years, is the Gene manipulation to produce transgenic organisms, GM food, Gene therapy against human diseases etc. In doing this large numbers of viral genomes have been altered quite injudiciously for creating various vectors for genetic engineering purposes. Although except the gene recombination study in prokaryotic forms attempts in eukaryotes have still been eluding. As there is no co-linearity between the genomic DNA and their synthesized polypeptides in eukaryotes as in prokaryotes, any inserted foreign DNA molecule cannot integrate at its own functional domain as a result those vector borne inserted DNA molecules remain floating in the targate cells and get lost in the next generation expressing their genes in some cases in body cells only for that generation. Besides all those problems this practice is very dangerous and detrimental for entire planet as there is a very good possibility that Natural species may be contaminated at genetic level. This may cause the loss of Natural species in the long run by totally altered function. In addition this uncontrolled genetic engineering study through out the World may facilitate for new viral particle to develop which may threaten very human existence and at the same time while inserted foreign DNA molecules are free to integrate anywhere in the genome to convert any essential gene to be either turn off or to create very bad gene product of totally unpredictable nature.
Thus if we discuss any annexed technological step in the ascendance of human civilization, that has been adopted and accumulated throughout his history of civilization, was/is apparently good but in the long run that becomes highly detrimental with irreversible cumulative effect as recently WHO has warned that the so far developed antibiotics are becoming resistant to many bacteria due to indiscriminate and non judicious use of those medicines. Similarly the acquired knowledge about nuclear fission and fusion to develop weapons of mass destruction, Hiroshima and Nagasaki reveal this very evidence, and to produce bulk electricity generation for which Chernobyl of Rashia and Fuccushima of Japan explicitly speak. Thus we can summarize the most dangerous, detrimental and irreversible technological fall out that man has annexed for the last few thousands of years, initially not knowing the far reaching effects and lately helplessly without any directional way to reverse any of those technologies which are now fully controlled by the World politicians and money power.
01Non judicious and indiscriminate deforestation for human habitation and land for cultivation of food. Result: i. decreased 02:C02 ratio to create greenhouse effect and ii Melting of polar glaciers to raise oceanic water level as a result large number of countries’ inundation within next hundred years or so. If man had been judicious from the beginning only about, at the best, 50% of total plain land ( leaving aside Deserts and the Mountains) should have been used for the purpose leaving another 50% for Natural preservation. But that did not happen. Instead about 70% , in some cases may be more, of total land has been deforested and now there is no way to reverse it as no Global agreement in this regard is possible at least in near future.
02Development of technological knowhow to produce various pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and larvaecides for increased food production ones was highly beneficial both economically and politically. But now we understand its effect in food chains causing tremendous bad effect on the genetic system on man as well as on other organisms. To increase food production, use of synthetic manures are also very dangerous for ecosystem. Scientists failed to gauze the future extensive damage of the Nature but when understood it is too late. Immediately in all fronts Biological controls should be attempted as soon as possible and at the same time use of Bio and organic fertilizers should be implemented.
03The extraction and use of fossil fuels throughout the World has worsened the situation irreversibly actually by changing geological condition and the burning of million tons of fossil fuels worldwide to maintain civilization of only the man by producing electricity, for billions of vehicular uses and cooking. For all those aspects alternate thinking and judicious uses of existing fossil fuels should have been designed long before in a Worldwide manner collectively by all countries.
04Huge material conversions starting from metallic changes, cement and bricks have made the World wide Concrete jungles replacing greeneries of the Nature and that had/has been done quite injudiciously and in most unscientific ways. Had scientists been understood or would have been allowed to understand about the probable worst such effect, they could have suggested for big multi-storeyed buildings within half of today’s extension and less land would have been deforested to maintain better environment. Today again it is too late for that. This step also should have been taken collectively.
05Hundreds of satellites have already been orbiting the globe in the high up of the sky and within coming years the number will be tremendously increased. It is not known as yet whether any bad effect would be exerted by would be jungle of satellite in the environment by absorbing heat and various rays from the sun, again for only human civilization Scientists should examine, without spending any more time, very sensitively, collectively and judiciously whether this increased number of satellites, orbiting or would be orbiting the Globe, would exert any problem in geomagnetism and or reflecting various rays coming from the sun. They, therefore, should honestly and sincerely try to restrict numerically as much as possible till they are sure that they are not much harmful for the existing Nature in and around the Globe.
06Finally man has started DNA warfare with prokaryotic world intensively for recombinant DNA production. Who knows in future any new virus, capable of extensive damage to mankind in particular and entire living world in general would not come up? For this type of study all the scientists of this field of the world should come forward with a highly cautious and restricted programming. That has to be monitored by the world body so that no such new viral particle, even if emerges, can leak out of the laboratory.
07As regard to the usage of nuclear fission/ fusion for the sustainable human civilization World scientists should come together to keep its use as controlled as possible for global welfare only under strict vigil. Finally I can conclude that human greed, ignorance about Nature, even today, and the political power made the Nature quite antagonistic both to man and the organic lives throughout the world which has attained such height that we are today really threatened for our survival. At this juncture, therefore, if world body that is UNO fail to take an effective measure very seriously to combat this Natural furry, uniting the World’s leaders, it is going to be highly catastrophic and destructive for the entire creation.