Air and water pollution, climate change, global warming, deforestation, are some of the environmental issues that confront us. We should not rely only on others to bring about a change, making some adjustments in our lifestyle is all that is needed to reduce carbon footprint and help maintain the eco-systems that are the bedrock of life on Earth.

There are six different types of environmental protection laws and policies in India that citizens should be aware of: The Forest Conservation Act, 1980, The Environment (Protection) Act 1986, The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, Air and The Indian Forest Act, 1927 and Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.

Besides, The National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 has been legislated to establish National Green Tribunal (NGT) for the speedy and judicial disposal of cases with reference to environment protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.

Ways to Protect the Environment

Reduce Waste and Consume Less: The goal is to become more aware of our consumption habits and their environmental impacts.

Every product has an environmental impact and could end up eventually in dumping ground. The impact of plastic pollution on our oceans and its drastic impacts on marine life is very much evident.

Besides reduce, reusing and recycling, we need to ‘refuse’ too. Refusing to accept unnecessary stuff into your life can help one save money, minimize clutter and lower the environmental footprint.

It’s not just the products we buy. Even the food we eat should not be wasted. Do not leave food in plates. Have or buy food only what can be consumed.

Compost: Compost the organic and green waste. Composting your food scraps and yard trash has two advantages: it diverts a significant quantity of garbage from landfills and creates free, nutritional fertilizer for your garden.

Reuse: Single-use plastic should be absolutely avoided as it has disastrous consequences for our eco-systems. Switch over to reusable things. You’ll have less trash stacking up, and you’ll be making a significant contribution towards environmental protection.

Buy Local: Tap the local farmers market for fresh, package-free food; try eating at a farm-to-table restaurant; and shop from local artists, fashion makers, and stores.

Shift to Renewable Energy: With global energy consumption anticipated to rise 56% in the next two decades, meeting those emissions objectives will be unattainable,  if we rely solely on existing fossil fuels. Shift to renewable energy sources like solar panels in urban areas and wind energy in rural areas.

Use Eco-friendly Cleaning Products: We need to use eco-friendly cleaning products as often as possible instead of traditional cleaning products that are largely made of synthetic chemicals that are extremely harmful to both our health and the environment.

Water Conservation: Water is one of the most important natural resources and we should conserve it by adopting sustainable practices in our daily lives. For example, do not keep the taps running while brushing or shaving or washing vegetables etc.

Rainwater harvesting needs to be encouraged. The water gathered in this manner can be used for a variety of purposes, including gardening, washing and irrigation.

Energy Conservation: You can limit the quantity of hazardous gases generated by thermal power plants, save natural resources, and safeguard ecosystems by using less energy. Reduce your energy consumption by simply switching off electric switches and gadgets not in use, using less of air conditioners, using energy efficient lighting like LEDs, and more.

Eat Sustainably: Moving away from a meat based diet towards a more plant based diet can lower your impact on the environment. Meat diet causes wildlife extinction, biodiversity loss. Farming animals for meat and dairy requires space and also big amounts of water and feed. Besides, producing meat results in more carbon dioxide than from plants such as vegetables, grains etc. Not only that, cutting down on meat and dairy products can reduce your weekly food bills too.

Travel Responsibly: Transport is one of the most polluting sectors and hence one of the most efficient ways of lowering your environmental impact is by travelling responsibly. Choose a more sustainable way, walk or cycle whenever you can. Holidaying closer to home can make a big impact on your carbon footprint. Try to use smart travel apps that depict the environmental impact of various modes of travel to a particular destination.

Gist of the article

Adapt and adopt healthy, green and sustainable lifestyle to help make the world a better and healthier place to be handed over to future generations.

Dr. Mukesh Kwatra is the founder of Smiling Tree – a green initiative.

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