Beyond the Horizon
By Pradeep Kumar
Environmental degradation in Sikkim, one of the bio-diversity hotspots of the world, has caused serious concern among members of Voice, a voluntary organization, working for protection and conservation of environment, says its member Junita Limbu though above pictures.
“Survival of living beings on the earth will be threatened, if urgent steps are not taken to end such degradation. The above picture gives enough evidences about mindless actions of human beings. Trees and plants are live givers by generating oxygen and there senseless destruction would deplete oxygen production when life will stand questioned,” she said.
Interestingly, this threat was highlighted with a difference in the ongoing dance completion in one of the TV channels on Saturday evening. The pair projected as a tree was helping life to survive but the cruel human beings chopped it to pieces. The consequence was very thin oxygen in atmosphere forcing all from young to old carrying an oxygen cylinder to survive beside a green plant hanging from behind.
It would be worth mentioning here that earth scientist Dr Manoranjan Misha while imparting training on ‘Environment protection & conservation’, organized by Vishwa Yuavak Kendra & Sikkim’s Environment Conservation Society at Geyzling in West Sikkim had apprehended that if the impacts of climate change continued, who knows after 50 years every human being will have to carry an oxygen cylinder to breath for survival as atmosphere would lack required amount of fresh oxygen, she added.
Dr Misha, a resource person of over a dozen countries on climate change, might have quoted from his experience. China could be cited as the best example.
“China is one of the most polluted countries on earth. So it may come as little surprise that the latest fad in China is literally offering its city dwellers a breath of fresh air. Numerous fresh air stations have been set up in some of China’s most polluted cities.The stations are stocked with individual air bags which provide users with pollution-free fresh air. And they have proved to be a big hit with one air station in Zhengzhou city in central China’s Henan province which was inundated with visitors, Suzannah Hills had reported on 30.04.14 in Mailonline.
Uniformed air hostesses hook up visitors to oxygen masks so they can breathe air sourced from the Laojun Mountain scenic spot in Luanchuan county, which is 80% green land, in Henan province.
There was no shortage of takers as locals flooded to enjoy the free fresh air. User Feng Lin, 75, said: ‘The air is really good, but the time is too short. I had to stop too soon but it was really great until then.’ It comes after just three of China’s 74 cities met the official air quality standards, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection in China
The seriousness of oxygen crisis was reported by Peter Tatchell, in The Guardian on 13.08.18.
Could the decline of oxygen in the atmosphere undermine our health and threaten human survival? The rise in carbon dioxide emissions is big news. It is prompting action to reverse global warming. But little or no attention is being paid to the long-term fall in oxygen concentrations and its knock-on effects.
Compared to prehistoric times, the level of oxygen in the earth’s atmosphere has declined by over a third and in polluted cities the decline may be more than 50%. This change in the makeup of the air we breathe has potentially serious implications for our health. Indeed, it could ultimately threaten the survival of human life on earth, according to Roddy Newman, who is drafting a new book, The Oxygen Crisis. I am not a scientist, but this seems a reasonable concern. It is a possibility that we should examine and assess. So, what’s the evidence?
Around 10,000 years ago, the planet’s forest cover was at least twice what it is today, which means that forests are now emitting only half the amount of oxygen. Desertification and deforestation are rapidly accelerating this long-term loss of oxygen sources.
The story at sea is much the same. NASA reports that in the North Pacific Ocean oxygen-producing phytoplankton concentrations are 30% lower today, compared to the 1980s. This is a huge drop in just three decades.
Moreover, the UN environment programme confirmed in 2004 that there were nearly 150 “dead zones” in the world’s oceans where discharged sewage and industrial waste, farm fertiliser run-off and other pollutants have reduced oxygen levels to such an extent that most or all sea creatures can no longer live there. This oxygen starvation is reducing regional fish stocks and diminishing the food supplies of populations that are dependent on fishing. It also causes genetic mutations and hormonal changes that can affect the reproductive capacity of sea life, which could further diminish global fish supplies.