“The streams and water bodies are bearing the brunt by giving rise to algal blooms in order to manifest the harmful toxic chemicals used to increase the yield of crops and meet the demands of the population.”
This year’s World Environment Day theme was focused on restoring ecosystems. This was an ideal time to pause and think about our role in harbouring and reviving the ecosystem. The ecosystem was harmed by human intervention and rapid urbanisation. There is always a discussion to restore the ecosystem and various strategies were put in place to revive the already dilapidated ecosystem. There is a long-term goal approach needed to restore the ecosystem where the local conditions along with the community knowledge will help in creating a strong foundation for reviving the ecosystem. Water is the most important factor that imparts an important entity in the ecosystem. The conservation and management of the ecosystem will restore our environment and initiate the process of healing.
In India, groundwater has been extensively used with an extraction of 253 billion cubic meter per year. 25% of the groundwater extraction leads to the depletion of water tables across the nation and another major factor is the rapid unplanned urbanization that results from increased level of water pollution in the form of domestic or industrial wastewater, untreated sewage wastewater, unscientific approach of drainage system and conversion of water bodies into dumping yards. All these factors lead to the depletion of entire ecosystems. The amalgamation of traditional methods and innovative technology propels a substantial change and scope for restoration. To conserve the water there is a need for judicious use of the available natural resources. The need for industry is there for the economic development of the nation but advanced treatment technologies should be incorporated to safeguard the aquatic ecosystem from harmful persistent residual pollutants present in the treated water.
The rapid urbanization has already sealed many of the natural water bodies and recently there was a sudden drowning of a car in a pit in the parking area in Mumbai, India as there used to be a well which was sealed to give way for concrete pavement.
The conventional agriculture has also caused havoc for the water resources and has disturbed the water table level. The excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides leaves behind the residues which eventually leaches to the groundwater or there is a run-off of agricultural wastewater in the nearby surface water. The streams and water bodies are bearing the brunt by giving rise to algal blooms in order to manifest the harmful toxic chemicals used to increase the yield of crops and meet the demands of the population. The eutrophication solicits its presence and depletes the dissolved oxygen leading to the death of aquatic organisms. We need to stop the rapid siltation also as the deforested land has a loosened soil which finds its solace by depositing at the bottom of the water bodies like lakes and eventually drying them.
According to United Nations (UN) studies nearly 30% of the natural water ecosystem has disappeared since 1970, their restoration alongwith the forest will help to save the water utilities around the countries and curtail the water treatment costs. With a hope to revive the past and secure the future for our next generations the restoration of the environment will be a boon!
“Dr. Debleena Bhattacharya is the Associate Editor of InnoHEALTH magazine and working as an Assistant Professor in Marwadi University, Gujarat. Her area of interest lies in Environmental Biotechnology focusing on wastewater treatment.”