A fight of blue and green against black

Anujit Saha | Published: 00:00, Aug 18,2019

Anujit Saha, Development, Sustainable Development, Environmental Sustainability, Marine Pollution, Blue Economy, United Arab Emirates, Marine Economy, Fishing, Oil Spill, Chittagong Port, The Sundarbans, Rampal Coal Power Plant, Marine Ecosystem

When we think of the earth and environmental initiatives, we are taught to think green. But can we restore the earth to its natural environment by ignoring three-fourths of its surface area which is blue? Anujit Saha argues that we should ponder on Blue Economy which is the sustainable use of water resources for economic growth. He also stipulates that indiscriminate pollution should be met with strict regulations, and people’s love for progress is needed to be accompanied by interests for a blue economy

IN THIS world, the only constant is the change in entropy. This implies we can only await transformations of bodies around us to random orders, and we have little control over it.

I am sitting in a poorly ventilated room, with unbearable noise coming from the streets, and yet I have no control over it. I know about the glaciers melting in northern sphere of the world, river banks eroding in different part of the world, and global temperatures rising as I breath out the carbon dioxide in this state of constant disruptions, the only source of satisfaction is satisfying my thirst for life, which is my thirst for a colourless, odorless liquid (also known as life). 

And hence the idea of life being polluted is one that causes my peace of mind to be disrupted. 

If you ask a random individual whether they would want the Rampal plant to work so that they don’t have to suffer from load shedding, chances are high that they will choose it over environmental wellbeing. In developing economies such as ours development is perceived as tangible goods and instant results by most of the people.

The very notion of environmental sustainability stays as a textbook idea and sees lack of implementation due to lack of public consensus on the policies. The general mass often do not advocate for policies, specifically for long term policies and big development projects that mostly involve people, the nature and a lot of other animals.

Hence saving us from marine pollution might be at bottom of the state’s planned goals as the state reflects on the wants of the people. But on an international scale, it is high time that we realise the importance of blue.

Water is almost equivalent to oil to this world due to increasing industrial functions, and due to the systematic lack of precipitation which is resulting in drier climates, increased desertification, and drop in sustainable agricultural yield. Due to the topology and geographical relief, we have been gifted with a drainage system with a reliable water source to use for domestic purposes as well as industrial.

But it is high time we passed regulations and accept these resources are finite and can be subjected to irreversible damage due to our exploitations. The domestic waste, industrial waste and chemical waste discharges are some of the sources of marine pollution caused by us, the civilized people.

As citizens, we believe our liability to the state is covered when we pay our taxes, and hence we do not seem to act ourselves on the issues such as marine pollution. We constantly contribute to a gradual process of destruction of marine systems, which results in unpredictability in our climatic conditions due to lack of precipitation, and eventually will result in our country being in the list of states ready to engage in a war for water for its population and agriculture.

When we think of the earth and environmental initiatives, we are taught to think green. But can we restore the earth to its natural environment by ignoring 3/4th of its surface area which is blue?  But how is this part of the earth of use to us if we can’t grow crops on it to tackle world hunger or build settlements on it for the homeless?  Is it there only to act as the stream to take away the wastes and dumps generated in our lands?

To the earliest civilizations, rivers were their source of prosperity as it brought them silt with every flooding. To the explorers of the middle ages, it was the medium of transport to help them explore new lands and discover new ideas (many of those expeditions however turned out disastrous for the native inhabitants and environment), just as how we perceive space today in the 21st century.

So the question arrives, what is the relevance of the marine bodies to the people of the 21st century? We are done with the explorations of the continents, and we already have created a world with civilizations in all regions. So what’s left of it?

The term Blue Economy is what answers the aforementioned questions. If we think locally, the nation of Bangladesh is one with a large percentage of rural people dependent on the fishing industries, whether on a small scale using dinghies and nets, or trawlers in the marine ecosystems. The marine resources are hence at a risk of depletion due to the vulnerability of our economy.

For ensuring people have their favourite source of protein on their table, and to ensure fishermen can earn a living, it is hard to regulate marine waterways from exploitation. A severe disruption of the marine ecosystem results where overfishing is a frequently occurring phenomenon. 

The incidents of oil spills are also problematic in our regional marine bodies such as in coasts of The Sundarbans, which is the region of a great biological diversity. The oil shadowed water bodies block off light from entering the oceans, hence blocking growth of plants and causing a deoxygention of organisms within the water body.

In the port of Chittagong in Bangladesh, it is estimated that about 6,000 tonnes of crude oil are spilled a year which is adjacent to the Bay of Bengal. The recent  decisions of Rampal Coal Power Plant to be built in the coast regions is one which has been greatly criticised and condemned by environmentalists to be detrimental to the marine system .

This is due to the great discharge of waste that is expected from a large scale power plant, will gravely harm the environment in terms of marine pollution as well as the atmospheric pollution. But this conflict is one that best demonstrates the continuity of environmental degradation of our state.

The United Arab Emirates was not as developed as they are today a few decades ago. Their explorations of oil, a primary good, resulted in an influx of income, which they carefully utilised and reinvested into their economy in secondary and tertiary sectors for sustainable returns rather than overexploitation of their current primary resources.

In terms of marine resources, we have been gifted with the greatest range of economically beneficial sectors such as fishing, transport and water extraction for industries and houses.

Hence it is down to our environment to be utilised in a manner that it provides a sustainable model of both income and economic harmony, where indiscriminate pollution is met with strict regulations, and people’s love for progress is accompanied by interests for a blue economy.

Anujit Saha is a student of SFX Greenherald International School.


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