Use of Non-conventional Energy Sources
Hydro power and thermal plants are our main sources of power and both of these are not environment friendly. Thermal power plants give out large quantities of carbon-dioxide which a green house gas. They also give out fly ash which under inefficient usage causes water, land and other forms of environment pollution. Hydroelectric projects overflood the forests and interfere with the natural flow of water in the river basins and catchment areas. Two examples of cheaper and conventional sources of energy which can substitute thermal and hydroelectric power are the wind power and solar energy.
LPG, Gobar gas in Rural Areas
In rural areas, wood, dung cake or other kinds of biomass are generally used as fuel This has a negative impact on the environment causing problems like deforestation, reduction of green cover, air pollution and wastage of animal dung. In order to alter this situation, subsidized LPG is being provided. In addition to this gobar gas plants are being provided at subsidized rates and loans are available for the funding of gobar gas plants. LPG is a clean fuel with no harmful impacts on the environment. The energy wastage is also very less. For a gobar gas plant to give out fuel, cow dung is fed into it and the gas being produced is used a fuel while the slurry is a good manure for the soil an can be used as manure for the crops.
CNG in Urban Areas
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is being used as fuel for vehicle transport in Delhi for the past few years. This has helped reduce the air pollution caused by vehicles.
Wherever the speed of wind is high, electricity can be produced using windmills. This does not have any negative impact on the environment. Wind turbines are moved by the wind and electricity gets generated. Though the initial cost is high, the benefits absorb the high costs.
Solar Power through Photovoltaic Cells
India gets a lot of sunlight which we use in many ways like drying clothes, to warm ourselves during winter, for the growth of plants etc. Photosynthesis of the plants is done using the solar energy. Solar energy can be converted into electricity using photovoltaic cells. This is extremely useful in remote areas where the supply of power through the grid lines is not possible.
Streams are very common in mountainous regions and they are quite perennial. Mini-hydel plants use the power of such streams to move the turbines and generate electricity for local consumption. Such plants have a lesser negative impact on the environment and since they meet the local demand for power supply, we can do away with large scale power generation through hydroelectric plants.
Traditional Knowledge and Practices
Traditionally, we have been a very environment friendly nation and have tried to integrate ourselves with the environment and have not tried to control it. Only the recent industrialization and growth has made us drift away from our environment friendly nature and has caused us loss in the environment and also loss of our rural heritage. We have around 15,000 species of medicinal plants out of which we regularly use around 8000 plants. The recent development of the allopathic way of treatment has resulted in the neglect of our traditional medicinal systems like ayurveda, siddha, unani and Tibetan medicine. Nowadays a great demand for these systems has come up again and even cosmetics and facials produced in the herbal way are preferred more. The products prepared in this way are environment friendly and are free from side effects.
In our bid to improve agricultural productivity, we have switched over totally to chemical fertilizers and have ignored composting. This has resulted in negative impacts on productive land, water, soil and air. All of these have been contaminated by the chemicals that have been used.
Again, farmers have started turning back to composting these days. Composts are generally made up of organic wastes. Infact cattle are specifically maintained for this purpose. Cow dung is an important fertilizer and soil conditioner.
Earthworm can turn organic waste into compost faster than the normal method. This method is used and is also benefiting the civic authorities who are able to dispose of waste faster.
After the advent of the green revolution there has been a huge rise in the use of chemical fertilizers which has had adverse effects on our environment. Even milk, meat and fishes are contaminated. In order to overcome this challenge, the government is trying to bring in better methods of pest control. One such method is to use plant products based pesticides. Neem tree is used for such purposes. Mixed cropping and growing different crops in consecutive years on the same land has also helped the farmers in pest control.
Awareness about animals and birds serving as pest controllers is increasing. For example, snakes are a class of reptiles which feed on rats, mice and various pests. Birds like owls and peacocks also prey on vermin and pests. Lizards also help to achieve such purposes. If these are allowed to dwell in agricultural areas, then pest control will become easy and eco friendly.
Sustainable development is the need of the hour and if it can be achieved our environment will be preserved for the generations to come.