Management of Natural Resources
Natural resources are classified into two types, the exhaustible and non-exhaustible resources. Management of natural resources is all about their judicious use in a way that the exhaustible resources can last for many generations to come and non-exhaustible resources can be maintained in a pristine form as possible.
Consequences of Exploitation of Natural Resources
There are many consequences of exploitation of natural resources. Some examples are given below:
- Burning of fossil fuels creates air pollution. An excess amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere leads to global warming. Some polluting gases; like oxides of nitrogen and sulphur lead to acid rain, which is harmful to living beings. Acid rain is also harmful to monuments and buildings.
- Excess exploitation of groundwater leads to a drastic fall in the water table. This is the reason many places are experiencing the acute shortage of drinking water.
- Overuse of fertilisers and insecticides leads to soil pollution and soil erosion.
- Many pollutants are directly flown into water bodies. This has resulted in water pollution in many rivers, lakes and even in oceans
Development is necessary for making all around growth yet paying for it in the form of environmental damage is unaffordable. Sustainable development means following certain practices which help in saving our environment from damage. This is necessary for maintaining the earth in a good shape so that future generations can also enjoy the bounty of nature.
Forest and Wildlife:
Conservation of forests and wildlife is necessary to protect the biodiversity. This is important because loss of biodiversity leads to ecological imbalance. But any conservation effort for forest and wildlife must keep the interests of all stakeholders in mind.
The stakeholders who are directly or indirectly affected by forest are as follows:
- People living in or around forests; as they depend on various forest produce for their livelihood.
- The forest department which is the owner of the forest land.
- Various industrialists who depend on forest for many raw materials.
Local People and Forest Conservation
Studies suggest that involvement of local communities is necessary for any conservation effort. E.g.
The nomadic people in the Himalayas conserve nature without directly knowing it. The nomadic herders used to graze their animals near the great Himalayan National Park. They brought their herds down the valley so that the sheep could get plenty of grass to eat. When the National Park was made in that area, the nomadic herders were stopped from grazing their sheep in the protected area. Now, in the absence of grazing by the sheep, the grasses grow very tall in the region. Tall grasses fall over and prevent fresh growth of grass. This shows that by excluding and alienating the local people from forests, proper conservation efforts cannot be carried out.
The Chipko Movement began in the early 1980s from a small village; Reni in Garhwal district. The women of the village began hugging a tree to prevent the cutting of trees by the contractors. The Chipko Movement later spread to other parts of India. It had been instrumental in stopping deforestation to a large extent.
When we think harvesting we only think of crops, but Water harvesting is an age-old concept in India. Khadins, tanks and Nadis in Rajasthan, Ahars and Pynes in Bihar, Kulhs in Himachal Pradesh, Ponds and Eris (tanks) in Tamil Nadu, Surangams in Kerala, and Kattas in Karnataka are some of the ancient water harvestings, including water conveyance, structures. These are still in use at many places.
Watering harvesting means capturing rain water, where it falls and capture the runoff from, catchment and streams etc. Generally, water harvesting is direct rainwater collection. This collected water could be stored for later use and recharged into the groundwater again
The traditional water harvesting structures are location specific and have been perfected by people over a long period of time. They take into account the local geography and the need of the local people and hence are highly efficient.
The traditional water harvesting structures usually focus on recharging the groundwater rather than just making an open reservoir. It has several advantages. Unlike surface water; the groundwater does not evaporate and thus loss because of evaporation is prevented. The groundwater does not provide a breeding ground for the mosquitoes and hence is good for public health as well. The groundwater is relatively protected from contamination by human activities.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Dams
Some of the Advantages and Disadvantages of Dams are as follows. So let us check it out advantages and disadvantages of dams to know more about dams.
Some Advantages of Dams are:
- Water Stored in dams are used for irrigation.
- Generation of electricity from the water released through dams.
- Renewable source of energy. Whenever electricity needed it can generate from the stored water.
- No pollution occurs during generation of electricity. Clean source of energy.
- Hydroelectricity produced by dams does not produce any waste product.
- The hydroelectricity power plants are long lasting and maintenance cost is low compared to others.
- Flood control by holding water.
- Supply of water to less rainfall areas.
- Picnic spot (Boating) etc.
Some Disadvantages of Dams are:
- The cost of construction is very high.
- Sometimes takes decades for construction of dams.
- High standard materials are required to build dams.
- Regular maintenance of dams is necessary.
- Relocation of people living in the surrounding areas of dams. Hence loss of farms and land.
- The flow of river water is disturbed and may disturb the habitat of wild life.
- Risk of flood if dams break by earthquake.
Coal and Petroleum
Coal and petroleum are the main energy resources for us today. But they are limited and exhaustible in nature so we need to find out alternate sources of energy. Scientists are working on developing some alternate energy sources so that dependency on coal and petroleum can be reduced. Some examples are given below:
- Solar energy is being used to produce electricity in many places. Although the technologies for solar energy are still costly future prospects look bright.
- Fuel cell is another development which may help in replacing the internal combustion engines from automobiles.
- Hydrogen is being used as fuel in buses and cars in many countries. Hydrogen; when used as a fuel produces water as a byproduct. Thus, hydrogen can be an environment-friendly fuel.