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Editor’s Note Happy New Year 2024: New Year Resolutions for Students, Children & Youth Together is Better Sir Syed Ahmad Khan Revolution, Students & Studies: Harnessing AI, Social Media & E-Learning Population, Environment, Water: Tackling the Triple Threat Muslims and their Festive Delights “Adventures of the Crescent” : The Wonders of Islamic World Hazrat Umar (RA) A Timeless Role Model Childhood under Siege in IIOJK Broken Crayons and Shattered Dreams Rising from the Ashes Kashmir’s History in Brief Kashmir Banay Ga Pakistan A Kashmiri Mother’s Letter to Her Soncc Kashmir: Plight of Children Beginning A New Best Way to Prepare for Exams Almonds: The Nutrient-Rich Treasure Protecting the Environment Save Water, Save Life Read to Lead Pain of Palestinian Kids A Child’s Cry Honoring Unity and Progress The Blessed Month of Ramadan The Spirit of Unity and Freedom Pakistan Movement -- From Start to Culmination Pakistan’s Day Welcome Spring! Let Patriotism Gleam Plea for Peace Being Kind to Animals Harmony Between Nature and Human “Scratch” -- A Software for Kids Learning If Chat GPT Writes My Assignment Hazrat Ali (RA) The Guiding Light ‘Generation Alpha’ Significance of Scientific & Digital Knowledge Safeguarding ‘Generation Alpha’ in Pakistan Tackling Misinformation & Disinformation The Planet Protectors The Reel World Yaum-e-Takbeer A Day of Pride Little Ant The Guardian of Sacred Waters Cheetah A True Marvel of Nature The Shining Stars Preserving Our Planet: Let’s Act Now! Climate Change Global Warming Environment, Water & Population Key Players on Planet Earth Zero Waste Management Easy Guide to Zero-Waste Lifestyle Eid-ul-Azha – the Festival of Sacrifice Islam’s Concept of Cleanliness Golden Principles of a Good Life Importance of Plants Shinning Star
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Nayab Ahmed and Faryal Khan

NA

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Hilal Kids English

Environment, Water & Population Key Players on Planet Earth

June 2024

Environment: The Cradle of Life
The environment is a gift that needs a lot of nurturing. The word ‘environment’ is derived from French word “environ” that means “surrounding”. So, everything around us in the natural world is called ‘Environment’, which is defined as a sum   of all the living and non-living elements and their effects that influence the human life. 



Types of Environment
There are two types of environment: (a) Biotic elements are all living beings like animals, plants, forests, fisheries and birds. (b) Abiotic elements are all non-living things like water, rivers, land, soil, sand, rocks, mountains, sunlight, temperature, air, moisture, sound, etc.
Clean Environment
A clean environment is essential for the peaceful and healthy survival of humans. But some human activities are negatively affecting the nature’s environment. These activities include pollution, release of green house gases and deforestation.
Significance of the Environment 
We entirely rely on environment for water, food, air, shelter, and other supplies. Can we survive without safe drinking water, healthy food and clean air? The straightaway answer is “No”. Because all the living and non-living things make an ecosystem. Only a balanced ecosystem can provide us the essentials of stable life. When this balance is disturbed, then environmental issues are created.
Practices Responsible for Environmental Degradation
Frankly, the elusive ecosystem that sustains life on earth is in danger because of us. Environmental pollution simply means toxic air, unsafe drinking water and contaminated soil that ultimately leads to serious diseases. Harmful human activities are to blame for environmental instability, pollution, climate change, and greenhouse gasses. 
Such practices include:
•    Land Clearing and Deforestation: Cutting of forests for industrialization is destroying the lungs of the earth (trees) as well as the natural habitats of wildlife, and disrupts ecosystems, leading to excessive release of carbon dioxide and global warming.
•    Mismanagement of Waste: Insufficient waste management and recycling system is triggering waste accumulation, pollution and resources depletion.
•    Overpopulation: Uncontrolled population growth is putting pressure on limited resources and ecosystems. Inappropriate patterns of consumption and waste contribute to environmental pollution and scarcity of resources.
•    Greenhouse Gases: Burning of oil, coal, and gas for energy emits greenhouse gases, worsening the air pollution and climate change.
•    Environmental Pollution: Unregulated disposal of waste materials into water, soil and air is of grave concern. It is contaminating the food chain, air, water and land – the overall environment. 
•    Urbanization and Industrialization: Enhanced urban and industrial development is instigating the wildlife’s habitat destruction, and increased resource consumption leading to water, air and noise pollution, soil degradation, and loss of biodiversity.



Environment Preservation Strategies
We can mitigate the harmful effects to ensure a healthy planet only by adopting sustainable practices and conscious choices such as:
•    Reduce, Reuse & Recycle: Follow the three R's to cut down waste. Recycle the plastic, paper, metal, glass, etc., whenever possible, and compost food scrap. Limit the use of one-time plastic and polythene bags. Opt for the reusable cloth bags, water bottles and containers.
•    Conserve Water: Avoid wasting the precious source of life in routine. Watch out for open taps, fix leakages and unjustifiable water consumption.
•    Conserve Energy: Switch off lights, devices and appliances not in use. Shift to energy-efficient appliances, LED bulbs, and renewable energy sources like solar panels.
•    Go Green and Clean: Promote reforestation by regularly planting trees and taking part in cleaning campaigns. Green friends are not only the lungs of the earth but provide habitat for wildlife.
•    Use Eco-friendly Products: Choose products, materials and manufacturers that focus on sustainability in their manufacturing and supply chain.
•    Reduce Carbon Emission: Consider electric or hybrid vehicles for personal use. Instead of using personal ride all the time, go for public transportation, trains, carpooling, cycling or walking.
•    Spread the Word: Volunteer the environmental, tree plantation as well as clean-up campaigns, and encourage others too. Advocate environment friendly policies such as emissions regulations and conservation initiatives.
•    Promote Healthy Practices: Choose products with minimal packaging and made from sustainable materials. Opt for natural, biodegradable products and items.
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Water: The Lifeline of Earth
Water is the foundation of life, not only essential for survival but also vital to safeguard the sustainable environment. H2O, the elixir of life covers around 70% of our planet, as well as of human body. Water is used for drinking, cleaning, cooking, washing, agriculture, industries and much more. Unfortunately, the precious source of life, energy, and vitality is facing scarcity, contamination and negligence. The reality of said challenge is posing serious threat to the survival of mankind and environment. From sustaining ecosystems to influencing climate patterns, water is indeed the lifeblood of planet earth. 
The Sad State of Water in Today’s World
Water challenge is not new, but with every passing day it’s getting worse. High water consumption due to the population explosion is exerting pressure on the world’s water resources. It is calculated that more than half of the world would face severe drought and water scarcity by 2025. The future water shortage would compel millions of species to extinct. It could cause eruption of wars on water, triggering agitation as well as economic and political instability. It’s disappointing to note that:
•    Above 2 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water.
•    Nearly 60% of irrigation water is wasted in fields, because of out-dated farming techniques.
•    Around 70% of global water is consumed in agricultural and industrial practices.
•    Approximately 80% of liquid waste runs out untreated, thus polluting the ecosystems.
•    Global warming is affecting rainfall patterns, floods, and droughts.
    Unregulated industrial activities, indecent agricultural practices, urban runoff, and improper waste disposal, are affecting water quality. Chemical pollutants such as pesticides, fertilizers heavy metals, and pharmaceuticals are contaminating water bodies, making them unfit for human consumption. These pollutants could bio accumulate in the food chain, leading to health hazards for both humans and wildlife.
Water Conservation Strategies
We can conserve water only by putting a halt to its wastage in every sector of life. Conserving water involves a combination of intentional changes in our habits and practices. Remember, every small action counts, and collective efforts would lead to significant positive change.
•    Watch out Daily Water Usage: Through good habits, we can surely save fresh water. Don’t let water run off while brushing, shaving, washing hands, soaping dishes, shampooing and soaping body in showers. Seepage fix could save 20 gallons per day. By using water-efficient appliances, consumption could be reduced by 30%.
•    Support Innovative Solutions: Invest in water-saving technologies, water friendly appliances, and sustainable irrigation techniques. At home and in organizations use low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets to limit water consumption.
•    Store Rainwater: Plenty of rainwater goes wasted every year. It could easily be stored for gardening, car wash, cleaning outdoor surface, and watering lawn. Plant only those trees that require less water for landscaping and gardening.
•    Protect Water Sources: Curtail the waste generation, and protect fresh water sources like lakes, watersheds, pools, ponds, waterfalls, wells, canals etc. from contamination.
•    Act as a Change Agent: Avoid the wastage of water and practice the water conservation techniques at home and in public to motivate others.
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Population: A time bomb
    The complex web of global dynamics is largely shaped by influential size, and dispersion of the human population. The impact of population increase from economic landscape to environment is both complicated and insightful. Global population is growing at an alarming rate. It has already reached 8 billion, with alerting projection to touch 9.7 billion by 2050.  This massive growthhas a price tag. Insane population growth is instigating concerns about environment, natural resources, water, and the overall wellbeing of earth. 
    Expansion of the human footprint directly affects the finite resources. From freshwater to desserts, from forests to dairy farming, the demand often outstrips the Earth's capacity to replenish. Pollution, climate change, environmental deprivation, and biodiversity loss are just some of the penalties of untamed population growth, threatening the ecosystems upon which human existence depends.
Population Impact on Environment
Population paradox is manipulating the natural balance between growth and sustainability. Where some regions are dealing with overpopulation and resource depletion, others are facing demographic decline. The unequal distribution of population and resources has potential to intensify the challenges in both ways…
•    Catalyst of Change: On one hand, escalating population could be regarded as a catalyst for innovation, change and prosperity. Handling the consumerism, technological advancements, and fostering cultural exchange, through educated human resource would be convenient. All developments bustling with workforce and creativity, stands as an evidence to the potential of zealous populace. 
•    Resources Consumption: Population expansion amplifies resource consumption, mainly water usage and land exploitation. Increasing water demand outpaces agricultural production, and dairy farming leading to droughts, hunger, malnutrition, and social unrest. The overconsumption of resources like gas, oil,  minerals etc. is threat for energy sector and economy.
•    Biodiversity Loss: Growing population means the need for more housing, industries, greenhouse gas emissions, and deforestation. Increased urbanization and deforestation to accommodate the tsunami of people is causing wildlife habitat and ecosystem destruction, leading to the extinction of rare species.
•    Health Hazards: Environmental pollution is triggering waterborne and airborne diseases compromising livelihoods in overcrowded communities. Moreover, ecological destabilization affects the ecosystem, soil fertility and pollination.
Strategies to Address Population Paradox
Population Paradox is a tenacious concern, waiting to be addressed through education, doable practices, and cultural changes. Handling the challenge calls for a multi-faceted approach with the due involvement of individuals, communities, organizations, and governments. Here are some strategies to help mitigate the issue:
•    Sustainable Resource Management: Mindful usage of resources especially water and energy, zero waste management, international resource sharing, and renewable energy is the key to sustainable development. 
•    Global Cooperation: Countries must join hands to answer the overpopulation challenge. Revaluating the consumption patterns, and exchange of skilled manpower through international collaboration must be practiced for development.
•    Education and Awareness: Talk about the consequences of population explosion on the environment, resources, and society. Empower the individuals, especially women so they can make wise decisions about family size.
•    Infrastructure Development: Invest in the innovative designing of infrastructure offering the maximum capacity of accommodates to avoid deforestation.  
Interplay of Environment, Water and Population
As discussed earlier all three elements, environment, water and population are not only the key players on earth but interrelated. Three imperative of sustainable development have become ever more challenging. A holistic approach that integrates resource management, social equity and environmental consciousness is the need of the hour. 
    Focusing on green infrastructure, conservation efforts and renewable energy could help in resolving the ecological impact of population growth. From smart agriculture to renewable energy solutions, cultivating the potential of technological innovation could promise to fulfil the needs of an increasing population without depleting the planet's resources. Innovative conservation techniques, such as water-efficient technologies and ecosystem restoration, would be helpful in dealing with water scarcity, healthcare, and environmental degradation. 
    Embracing a wise approach to population management that incorporates social, economic and ecological considerations is vital to safeguard a sustainable future for both mankind and the environment. 



 

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Nayab Ahmed and Faryal Khan

NA

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