Environmental pollution is not only problem of developed countries, but also a global problem that affects all human kind both directly and indirectly. Over the recent past, globally many nations have felt the impacts of global pollution through disasters, hence the need to ensure all individuals and nations combine forces and curb the vice. Eradicating pollution should be a global responsibility, because whether its air emissions or water pollution, all countries feel impacts of such practices in one way or the other. Pollution takes many forms that range from the simple waste paper disposal, which all individuals do, to the most complex that involves chemical combination that various industries and plants release to the environment. Due to such disposals, globally nations have faced many disasters, which have led to massive deaths and property destruction. In addition, most of these impacts have left many individuals desperate with little in saving themselves.
Examples of related disasters that have faced the world include flooding such as the tsunami, typhoons, food shortages, and chemical poisoning. What makes the whole situation worse is that, most of the nations facing the impacts of pollution contribute very little as concerns environmental pollution. Due to increasing disasters caused by global pollution, many nations have come up with environmental protection initiatives both at national and international levels, the latest being the Copenhagen conference. Other initiatives include green belt movements in various countries and other programs to conserve the world habitats and forests. It is important for all nations to note that global warming and impacts of environmental pollution never work within national boundaries, but affect all individuals equally.
This therefore calls for a strong international legislation body, which all nations should respect and follow all it orders in order to save Mother Nature from destruction, which is growing at a higher rate than expected. Environmental protection legislation is a set of rules that govern environmental practices. Although these regulations exist at national and international levels, most countries more so the developed ones never adhere to them. The violation of these laws has been a global concern; hence, the continuous campaign on environmental protection and conservation.
Environmental Protection Agencies
In the past environmental pollution was never a great threat to extinction of the world habitat and living organisms, but presently, if nations never take caution there is a likelihood of disasters wiping all existing living organisms and world habitats.
This is because there is diverse destruction of forests, and high disposal rates either by individuals or from industries. Due to this, many national and international bodies concerned with environmental protection have beefed up major campaigns directed towards environmental protection. In addition, other environmental protection agencies have come up with prizes for individuals who help in the struggle to protect the environment. A common example of such prize is the Goldman environmental prize geared towards rewarding local individuals dedicated to environmental conservation (Goldman p.1). Common examples of agencies that deal with global environmental protection include the United Nations Environmental Agency (UNEP), European Environment Agency (EEA), Earth System Governance project, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change( IPCC), and the recently debated on; the Global Environment Organization (GEO).
In addition to these big international bodies, other intergovernmental agencies aid to curb the environmental pollution problem. These agencies or organizations work not only at national levels, but also internationally in assisting member countries to adopt practices that will ensure such countries accord the environment the respect it deserves. Common examples of these agencies include Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) and the Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development (Environment law alliance worldwide pp. 1). One common thing among all this agencies is that they use common policies and environmental protection practices with same principles. In addition, they encourage coordination among themselves, whereby their main guiding tools are the UN millennium goals. These bodies not only do they receive recognition within their areas of jurisdiction, but also by UNEP in terms of labor and financial support.
On main thing to note here is that, its not only developed countries that have this movements, but also developing countries have come up with initiatives to conserve their environments. For example, the green belt movement in Kenya, started by Nobel peace laureate Wangari Maathai. In addition, some countries have many non-governmental organizations that help in the fight on environmental conservation. Common examples include the African World Dog Conservancy, the American Consumer Council, Antipoisoner international, and the American Indoor Air Quality Council. Others include the Biosphere Expeditions, Center for International Environmental law, Earth charter initiative, Earth liberation front, Stockholm Environment Institute, and the Earth System Science Partnership.
The United States also contributes greatly to this war against environmental pollution, where by the government partners with both local and international bodies to ensure countries put into practice correct environment protection policies. Although this is the case, many contention issues have rise, due to the blame the game among developed and developing countries. The United States, the European nations, and other world countries have funded many projects internationally geared towards environmental protection. Although this is the case, still one main question remains unanswered; do these countries operate within the set limits and regulations of environmental pollution? Take for example the United States and other countries always are fighting countries producing nuclear related materials, but one thing all individuals should ask themselves is that; have these countries themselves stopped producing such nuclear products? Due to these many unanswered questions, it has become very hard for “genuine” environmental protection bodies to properly co-ordinate environmental protection initiatives because many countries seem to set their own working standards. Majority of developed countries have embraced practices that have greatly jeopardized the well-being of the environment. This hence calls for initiatives that will give this ‘genuine” agencies power to prosecute nations that do not want to follow the laid down policies, limits, and standards (Citizens for Global solutions p.
1). These environmental protection agencies apply agreed upon policies by all world leaders, as concerns environmental protection, whereby their main support or mother body is UNEP. This is an international environmental conservation organization fighting for environmental conservation.
It works in close collaboration with world governments and other organizations in ensuring all nations follow the set rules governing waste disposal and environmental protection. It is necessary to note here that, UNEP works with no biasness, although it faces many challenges in effecting its mandate due to differences and oppositions from some countries that consider themselves more superior.
Obstacles Facing Environmental Conservation Agencies
Although many environmental conservation agencies have implemented many policies that all nations should follow as concerns environmental conservation, still there is a hard fight for them. This is because of changing trends in technology and lifestyle. In addition, it is very hard implementing some environmental protection policies in some countries due to opposition from such countries’ administrations. On the other hand, from the report by the United States general accounting office (pp.
6-8), what makes the implementation of some environmental protection policies hard, are the cost incurred during the whole process. For example, from its approximations U.S. only spent over $121 1997 million to deal with pollution, which was almost 100%, increase in government expenditure, from the previous value calculated in 1970 ($64). This therefore shows how complicated environmental conservation procedures are, although still nations must endeavor and implement correct environmental conservation measures. The third obstacle facing conservation efforts by these organizations is ideological differences that result due to trade agreements among different nations.
There is lack of coordination among different nations, whereby some countries supports processing of some products, while others oppose. Trade being the backbone of most world economies, many countries favor each other because of associated benefits they receive from such countries. For example, there are many ideological differences among European nations as concerns nuclear production in North Korea. Due to these differences, many counties have pinned down environmental conservation efforts, hence leading to many world calamities caused by global warming. Another main challenge to these agencies more so the international ones, is the localization of environmental conservation rules. Different countries have different rules as concerns environmental conservation. In this regard, it is the duty of such organization to ensure industries working within such regions meet the set standards, which in most cases is never the cases due to looming corruption among government officials. In addition to trade agreements and localization of environmental conservation policies, varying and conflicting political views have greatly affected the implementation of correct environmental conservation policies.
Take for example in America, due to varying political ideologies among the democrats and the republicans, implementation of some environmental conservation policies is hard (Stuart, Sarntharm and Sriwatanaporgse, pp.591-600). Finally, financial obstacles also face many of these agencies. Effecting of correct conservation efforts needs a lot of machinery and integration of many processes in the overall management of manufacturing industries, which these agencies cannot afford to fund or support. On the other hand, sometimes this agencies lack funds to support campaigns on the same, hence in most times, this organizations have to terminate conservation initiatives or projects in progress. This therefore calls for combination of efforts from governmental, non-governmental organizations and communities in general in averting this vice, because in one way or another all individuals are contributors.
Many human activities done either intentionally or unintentionally are the main contributors to environmental degradation. Impacts of pollution are clearly visible in that, in one way or another each individual has faced its outcomes.
Pollution generally involves the introducing of materials considered foreign to a clean environment. This to larger extents has affected balance in ecosystems, whereby this foreign materials change the chemical combination of the environment. This has led to disappearing of some animal and habitat species, hence if individuals do not take proper care, then great threats face the human generation (Victoria Rural foundation p.1). Pollution takes many forms that include noise, thermal, chemical, and radioactive. All this process depend on the nature of pollutants, hence their effects on the environment also vary. In most cases, matter becomes a pollutant, if the quantity of such a substance goes beyond the required quantities in the environment.
Air pollution results when substances considered harmful contaminate the fresh air used by living organisms. The most types of air pollutants .include gas emissions such as sulphur dioxide, excessive carbon dioxide, nitrogen gases. These originate from sources such as industry and motor vehicle emissions, burning of fuels such as wood. These lead to formation of smog, which affects control of global temperatures. In addition, some nitrogenous gases can lead to formation of photochemical Ozone, which affects the balance in ecosystems causing deaths or many associate disasters.
Water pollution is the second form of pollution that has greatly affected the existence of living organisms. This results due to manufacturing and processing industries releasing toxic substances to water bodies. In addition, water pollution can result from runoffs into water bodies of chemicals. This form of pollution can cause many diseases and deaths, because all human beings are consumers of water products. In addition, excessive water pollution can cause death of marine habitats in that it leads to eutrophication, hence preventing absorption of oxygen and sunlight into water (Effects of water pollution p.1). Water pollution can also result to formation of acid rain, which is very destructive when in contact with iron and other metals.
Soil pollution is another common form of pollution, which mostly results due waste disposal and chemical runoffs. This affects the composition of soil, hence affecting the existence of living organisms. This to larger extents leads to natural catastrophes such as food poisoning and food shortages, which have immense impacts on human and animal existence. Other common forms of pollutions are sound, radioactive, and thermal pollution, which in many ways have affected the environment negatively causing many diseases and deaths of living organisms.
For example, radioactive pollution is very dangerous to human existence because it can result to diseases such as cancer and gene mutations. This in turn if reflected in gene transfer can affect the normal functioning of the body leading to deaths. Due to many effects resulting from such pollutions, environmental bodies have come up with many regulations that manage the quantities that industries should release to the environment.
This includes measures that have sought to eliminate sulphur and leaded fuels, which have degraded the environment. In addition, different governments have formulated different policies that govern industrial gas emissions, although due to looming corruption and varying ideologies among different nations, most industries have not implemented them.
The Copenhagen Climate Conference
Due to continued effects of global warming and almost expiry of the Kyoto protocol, there was need for nations to call for a conference whose main aim was to draft a new protocol of environmental conservation.
This meeting primarily centered on mechanisms that nations could implement in order to minimize emissions. In addition, the meeting was to formulate a funding mechanism, which could see nations implement correct mechanisms of reducing emissions to the environment. Although nations signed the accord and promised to adhere to it, legislation regulations agreed on in a way are biased and favor developed countries. This is because most developing nations have fewer emissions, as compared to developed countries; hence, these laws are bound to affect their rate of developments. Although global warming is a major issue, it is important to remember that most developing nations need industrialize too fully. Reducing the emissions was a good proposition, but still one question remains unanswered; will developed nations stick to the agreement, if they never did to the Kyoto protocol? The proposition on funds contribution was good, because it will give developing nations some added funding, but still another question arises; will the mandated body manage the funds well? All these questions unless answered the whole agreement will be invalid, hence the need for all nations to be committed to, the agreement. Another main disadvantage with the accord is that, the tools nations agreed on that they were to apply in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), lacked some recognized coding (Conservation International p. 1).
In general, although the accord lacks some important aspects of environmental conservation, if nations correctly implement it, it may alleviate some threats facing the existence of humankind due to environmental degradation.
In conclusion, it is important for all nations to remember that conservation is a collective effort; hence, unless they join hands to alleviate pollution, future populations will have to endure the most of present activities. Water, soil, thermal, and air pollution are practices that nations can alleviate if they only have the will.
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