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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Human activities causing stress on civic amenities

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Human being plays a key role in environment as he has a capable mind and will power to do everything by the skill and technology he has developed so far. But most of his activities done for his development and welfare have been causing seriously negative impacts on the virgin environment he has been blessed with. We can prepare a long list of human activities that have been disturbing, destabilising and degrading the natural environment.The explosion of human population has enhanced the negative impacts of human activities on environment. Man has adopted such a life style which has no room for conservation and preservation of environment as he has become just a consumer in the modern world. He has destroyed many terrestrial and aquatic habitats causing numerous species of plants and animals to go extinct. He has cleared forests and has killed numerous wild animals to disturb the balance of the nature. His activities leading to pollution have been causing a number of local and global environmental problems ranging from spread of epidemics, depletion of ozone layer, global warming and climate change. The fertile land degraded by human activities has been converted into vast desert and his activities of misuse and overuse of water and reclamation of water bodies has been leading to the crisis of water in many parts of the world. Most of the fossil fuels have so far been used up by him due to whom an energy crisis is overhead. Most of the human population of urban areas has been migrating towards cities leaving agriculture aside and this is causing urban congestion, encroachment to monuments and government land on one hand the a steep fall of agricultural production on the other. Lots of wastes created by humans have spoilt the landscape and urban areas are under immense stress due to over congestion. Civic bodies in urban areas are under hard pressure to manage civic amenities and improper management of civic facilities is sure to endanger the community life.
The word civic relates to the life of city or town area and amenities are features of city or town area that make the place pleasant, comfortable and easy to live in. Thus,civic amenities are features of a city or town area that make the area pleasant, comfortable and easy to live for human beings.

Spoilt landscape

Plastics and Garbage thrown by human beings spoil the landscape besides damaging the environment

Services provided by municipalities or municipal corporations to their civilians are called as civic services. These services include general cleanliness, water supply, waste disposal, maintenance of drainage systems, community healthcare, care of stray animals (Dogs and cattle) on roads, basic education etc.. Growth of population has put excessive load on civic service providers due to which they have become unable to perform properly. On the other hand many people in our cities or towns don’t have the civic sense. Some of them drop their domestic wastes into drains or throw away garbage including banana skins on roads.

Cattle on road

Stress on the supply of water and electricity
Human beings use water through hundreds of ways. Some of the major uses of water are in the sectors of irrigation, industries and domestic. The explosion of population and pollutions pose enormous stress on the Global Supply of Usable Water. The population of the world continues to increase but the supply of usable water is constant. On the other hand the distribution of water across the world is uneven.

The United Commission on Sustainable Development has noted that the amount of water available to each person decreases as the population grows causing the possibility of water shortages. According to the Unite Nations, more than three river basins and aquifers world wide cross national boundaries which create potential conflicts.

People have been collecting rainwater and its run off, digging wells to access ground water, building dams to capture and change the root of water and developing laws to guide the use of water. An ancient Babylonian King developed a set of laws to direct its people on various aspects of life. Those sets of laws are called as Hamurabi’s codes. Several passages about proper use of water for irrigation have also been incorporated in these laws. Today, water is a scarce resource in many areas. Under this condition ladies have to walk very long distances in search of drinking water. In cities, it has become very difficult for Waterworks Departments to maintain adequate supply of water for entire urban population. Many cities in India have to bring water from long distances through pipelines. Thus water supply in urban areas is causing stress on rural areas.

Electric is most important for modern industrialized society and for development. The consumption of electricity has increased considerably due to modern lifestyles. Today we have numerous types of electricity operated equipments in our houses, offices and markets and still more and more electricity operated devices are joining our markets day by day. Though the potential of power generation has increased, how much electricity can be generated to meet our endless demands? Generation of electricity depends on coal also which is a fossil fuel and is to vanish sooner or later. On the other hand burning of coal causes serious pollution. As such we are not in the position to misuse electricity.

Stress on waste disposal system

Waste substances are generated in greater amounts in urban areas. The increasing consumer culture in urban areas is creating lots of solid, liquid and gaseous wastes. The throw away culture and over-utilization of resources are causing accumulation of numerous types of wastes along streets and on open grounds. In congested urban areas drains are used as channels of dumping of wastes. Non-decomposable plastic wastes thrown into drains cause obstructions in the flow of liquid wastes through drains. It causes bad smell and most of the dirty water flows on the roads during rainy seasons. Dumps of solid wastes in open destroys landscape and produce foul smell. These places become breeding grounds of various types of germs of diseases. These germs are disseminated to human populations through food items and drinking water. Accumulation of wastes can be checked by reducing their volume and controlling them at the source of their generation. Industries and automobiles should be fitted with pollution control devices.

Stress on transport facilities

Transport is the basic civic amenity on which depend most of the activities of social welfare and development. But increasing population has put serious pressure on this amenity also. The number of buses, cars and other vehicles are going on increasing on roads. These vehicles run on fossil fuels like petrol and diesel. The combustion of these fuels produces serious pollutants that go up into the atmosphere and produce global effects like Global Warming and Acid Rains. Trains consume lots of diesel and coals and produce clouds of smoke. Even electricity run trains are more responsible for pollution as electricity generation demands coal in large quantities.

The explosion of human population has put excessive stress on transport facilities. You might have seen people overloaded on the roofs of buses and trains. Such type of travelling is illegal and dangerous. Still, due to great rush and unavailability of seat, people take the risk of travelling under those risky conditions.   

Stress on community health services

Various types of pollutions and health hazards are caused through the activities of the modern man. Accumulation of waste on land and in water bodies encourage varieties of disease causing worms, bacteria, fungi and viruses to breed and increase their numbers. Primarily Health Centres, Mother and Child Welfare centres and other medical and paramedical facilities are being provided by governments but up to what extents? The explosion of population and carelessness of citizens for their environment cannot let the facilities to run on smoothly and efficiently. Accumulation of solid waste on land, choking of drains, scattered garbage in streets, contamination of water and even food item are causing risks to our health. In spite of these hurdles the access to basic health facilities has improved and many dangerous epidemics have been irradiated. However, the severe pollutions have encouraged re-emergence of many diseases like Tuberculosis.

Key Words: stress, civic amenities, urban congestion, Hamurabi’s codes, civic sense, over utilization, landscape, desert, wastes, transport, community health, epidemic, garbage, tuberculosis

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