Soil and Water Conservation

Vol.06 Issue No. 06
July - December, 2003

Protection of the Environment is the Need of The Hour

Shri. H.S. Kharpran

Assistant Soil Conservation Officer

Many programmes for a better environment and conservation of natural resources are being carried out over the world today As we all know that amongst the nine planets of the Solar System, the planet earth is the only one where life exists. Plants, animals, and human beings exists on earth and life is not found everywhere because survival requires a particular type of environment. These days we have been listening to the discussion over All India Radio, Television and also reading from local or national newspapers and from different magazines about the pollution of environment. Air and Water pollution and ecological imbalances are the common problems of today all over the world and also in our country (including our State of Meghalaya).

What do we mean when we speak of the environment? The simple dictionary meaning of environment is the surrounding neighbourhood or the conditions which influence the development or growth. Generally speaking environment is the whole earth and everything on it and in it. It includes all these conditions which affect our life. Plants, animals, water, air and soil are all important parts of our environment because living being cannot survive without them. Soil Water and vegetation are the most vital resources for the existence of man and animals. These natural resources are interdependent upon one another and need efficient management. President Roosevelt of America once said ‘When the Soil goes, man goes, and when man goes the nation goes.’ Another important natural resource is water, which forms the life force. Without water, life or any other activities pertaining to sustenance of life on this planet earth is impossible. Water is needed not only for drinking or domestic uses but also for so many other purposes that we all know.

Efficient management of Soil and Water produce quality vegetation which in turn provide food, fuel, fibre, fruits, fodder and fertilizer (6Fs) . The study, which deal with the relationship of life forms with each other and with their surroundings, is called ecology.

There are many factors or agencies which upset the balance in the environment. All living beings like man, animals, birds and other micro-organisms found on the ground, in water and on tree and plants are equally responsible for maintaining the balance in the ecosystem and keeping the environment clean. Of all the living beings that exist on this earth, man interferes the most with the environment.

Wanton destruction of forest for Jhum/Bun cultivation and indiscriminate cutting of trees for timber destroys the vegetative cover

and causes uncontrolled erosion, leading to flash floods and deposition of sand and silt in the streams and rivers. This leads to the dryness of the streams and rivers and thereby cause erratic climatic conditions in the locality. When the vegetation in atmosphere is depleted of the oxygen and water vapour,
destruction of the vegetative cover also depletes the Soil, making it barren and unfit for Agriculture. Therefore, destruction of forest for Jhum/Bun cultivation, which is harmful to natural resources, should be stopped. Instead the modern methods of cultivation in the terraces or contour bunding should be adopted. Permanent settled cultivation with irrigation facilities should be encouraged as it not only preserves the resources but also generates better income for our rural poor. There are many more factors contributing to the deterioration of the environment. Today rapid industrialization and even increasing human requirements have disturbed these natural elements and created an ecological imbalance. Industries, during processing or manufacturing of intermediate chemical and end products, generate waste materials and useless by-products as well. Increasing population, emission of carbon dioxide and other toxic gases by factories and vehicles, occurrence of acid rain, nuclear test and poisonous chemicals have posed serious threat to the ecological balance.

The deterioration of the environment has also resulted in global warming, green house effect and depletion of ozone layer which are the main issues today, threatening or endangering life on earth.

Time has come for each and everyone of us to find out ways and mean to preserve protect and improve the environment. One of the measures we can take up is by planting more trees on our barren lands. This in turn will influence local and regional climate and ensure continuous flow of clean water for drinking and for irrigation by enhancing the water retention capacity of the soil. The greenness of the vegetation purifies the air in the atmosphere by absorbing poisonous carbon dioxide and producing oxygen in the air.

An appeal is therefore extended to all right minded and responsible citizens, particularly leaders of the people and those in authority at various levels and from different walks of life, to feel free to join hand arousing public consciousness for present and future generations. We can get better and clean environment only when everybody, including school children, become aware of it.

Soil & Water Conservation Meghalaya Newsletter. Vol. 6 (6) July - December, 2003