Environmental Concern in National and International Planning

By Ravindra Khaiwal
February 2004

The Author is a Ph.D. student in the Micro and Trace Analysis Centre, University of Antwerp (Belgium) under cultural exchange programme with India. He has completed his Master of Technology (M.Tech.) in «Environmental Science and Engineering» and Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Environmental Sciences from India. Further detail can be found on his homepage.

Abstract
Developmental programmes, urban growth and industrial activities have increased the strain on natural and ecological resources. Environmental problems are more complex and interrelated to each other, which should not be bound to a specific region or nation; they must be treated in a collective way by all nations. There is need of clear understanding between developed and developing countries on environmental issues. Developed countries can help to train local persons in developing countries to protect the environment and for the extension of environmental education. The environmental concern must be applied in all national and international planning/strategies to protect the environment.

Several nations have made substantial progress in the area of health, education and economic development. Despite these important advances, virtually, every nation has to face new economic and social pressure. The quality of life for all the worlds´ citizens has been affected by events of global significance (Cognale G., 1999). The need to interpret our physical, biological and social environment becomes more urgent everyday because significant changes occur rapidly in our environment. Hence the necessity to integrate environmental concern at all level of national/ international planning is more apparent then ever.

Scientific and technological progress has given human an unprecedented power over nature. Which can radically change the world. Environmental deterioration can be attributed to industrialization and urbanization, the depletion of traditional sources of energy and raw materials, constant population growth, the disruption of natural ecological balances (the biospheres internal mechanism of self regulation), the extinctions of various animal and plant species for economic purposes, and the negative genetic consequences of industrial and other pollutants, which include the danger of human degeneration (Sen A. K., 1988; Botkin D.B., 1989).

We must keep careful track of our impact on various elements of the ecosystem on the earth. Not only is it possible, it is imperative to transform the elemental natural environment into a safe one adapted to human needs, and trying to understand the destructive natural forces (e.g. earth quakes, typhoons, hurricanes, storms, flood, drought, freezing, magnetic and sun storms, radioactivity, space radiation etc) for successfully fighting against their impact. The environmental question is, consequently not simply one of pollution and the other negative results of human economic activity. It also involves in changing our uncontrolled impact on the natural world to a conscious, purposeful, and planned interaction with it.

The United Nations conference on the «Human Environmental» held in Stockholm in June 1972 under the slogan of «ONLY ONE EARTH» (World Bank, 1992). It was the blending of environmental and developmental concern - the ideal goal of mankind. It has been realised world over that environmental issue like «Global Warming», Ozone Layer Depletion, Acidic Rain, Marine Pollution and Biodiversity are not merely national issue but are global and must be tackled with the international efforts and cooperation (Engel & Engel, 1990).

After the conference, several efforts were made to protect the environment by both individually and collectively by different countries. As a result, a considerable progress has been made in certain areas of the environmental protection including the control of industrial pollution and international cooperation to protect living species. However, at the same time, the state of environment has become worse with respect to soil, water, air, forests, animals, and plants. Particularly the developing world is experiencing a rapid population increase. Furthermore a growing attention is being paid to the climate consequences of the carbon dioxide rise in the atmosphere surrounding the earth. Environmental problems thus assumed global proportions extending to the environmental and resource, which are the common property of the whole humanity, and to developed and developing countries alike.

The protection of global environment is a common task, requiring united and cooperative action of human being as a whole residing on the earth. For this purpose, world peace is, of course, a perquisite. It is also essential for the developed and developing countries to cooperate with the recognition that the protection of environment and the socio-economic developments are fundamentally inter-related. The future of the global environment does not allow optimism, but efforts towards a constructive solution must be made through worldwide cooperation rather than simply regarding the problem with pessimism.

The protection of the global environment and the efficient use of resources are needed. To protect the global environment, it is important to ensure sustainable harmony among the components of the earth, land, sea, air, animals, plants and human. At the same time, efforts should be made to open a new frontier through technical development. For this purpose, highly specialized analytical methods of modern science should be re-examined and a new comprehensive approach should be promoted.

The environment of each country constitutes an inseparable segment of the global environment. Tropical rain forest, for example, play a vital role in balancing the composition of the atmosphere, surrounding the earth and there destruction is believed to be related to the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The protection of the environment in developing countries concern advanced nations, which depends heavily on imported resources from developing countries. The protection of the environment is essential not only in developed countries but also in developing countries. Therefore, when advanced countries give an aid to developing countries, they should pay close attention to the protection of the environment in the recipient country.

As for the object of aid, it is desirable that higher priority to be given to such projects which are related to the protection of the environment as, population planning, the improvement of the infrastructure as well as environmental monitoring and research. However, the selections of aid projects are usually based on the request of the recipient countries through dialogue between the donor country and the recipient country it is necessary to shift the priorities.

Environmental consideration should also be incorporated in the technical cooperation. Here it is important to select technology, according to the climate, natural features, culture stage of development and other country specific conditions. Extension of environmental education in the developing countries and training of local persons` in the field of environmental protection is urgently needed.

Field of research necessary for the protection of the environment include the application of biotechnology and other advanced technology expansion of basic studies with many unknown variable such as the study of ecosystems, the development of early warning indicators related to the deterioration of the environment, the analysis of a social system relatively free from the resilient to environmental deterioration and the study of relations between the population, resource, development and even at global and regional levels.
Hence, there is a need of stepped-up international cooperation essential to conduct these studies. In particular, research cooperation in the atmospheric science and the problem of destructions of stratospheric ozone layer by chlorofluorocarbons - problems receiving increased attention in the past several years, their impact still remains uncertain. The deterioration of the global environment, can reach to an irreversible stage by the time cause have clarified. To prevent this situation, it is necessary not only to step up research and study but also to attach more importance to long-term viewpoint in nation and international decision-making.

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