Free «Natural Resources» Essay Sample
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With the expanding industrialization and development that the world is experiencing today there are immense benefits which can’t be overlooked. However, the opportunity cost for these merits is being seen as nearly over shadowing all the gains because the major casualty of all the gains is the environment. The massive use of the natural resources to produce goods and other materials, there is a trend that is increasingly becoming detrimental which is the use of resources such as water in a negative way. One can safely say that water is no longer a renewable resource because of the degradation of its sources and the little effort to restore them as Ramone (2009) puts it. In this study we are going to focus on the justification of the statement that water is no longer renewable, how is Africa and Peru in particular are being affected, what is the role of their governments in solving the matter and what are other institutions doing to raise awareness.
Traditionally, there is a notion that water is a renewable resource owing to the fact that various methods of treatment have been invented and used to renew the resource. This situation has however in one way or another changed because of the rapidness of economic development and environmental neglect by human beings. Through the studies of biology and nature it has been shown that the natural ecosystem is able to renew itself when a considerable time frame is left for the environment to heal and recuperate (WWF, 2009). However with the rapid expansion of the industrialization and use of water resources, the rate of such activities surpasses the rate that is required for the water sources to be able to regain its stature. It is also important that the human effort to conserve this all important gift should be stepped but unfortunately this has not been the case.
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Naturally water is derived from two sources namely the ground through wells and from the surface from sources such as the lakes and oceans. It is renewable if the rate of consumption is much lower than the retrieval. Other measures used to renew it are the recycling chemical treatment and use of artificial and manmade sources to add up to the already existing sources (Ramone 2009). The environment also has its own way of doing this by the process of evaporation and condensation from the surface water bodies to form rain which completes the process.
However this situation of renewal is being compromised by many issues that are being witnessed be the world today. First, the companies and other business people who have interests put industries at the exact place of the water source. For instance in Africa , particularly Kenya where rose flower farms are set at lakes have led to the death of the natural ecosystem’s beneficiaries such as the aquatic plants and animals such as fish. But the greatest casualty is the water bodies which are contaminated by the chemicals. This is the same as the Congo which has seen the same effect being witnessed as we are going to see shortly.
In addition to that the aspect of its renewal is being affected by other external factors which are witnessed. They include the demand that is for domestic use as well as other uses like irrigation and agricultural use (Gilbert, 2009). Natural factors such as drought affect most of the world today. Trees and green plantation are being converted to wood and charcoal as a means for cheaper energy sources hence prompting the dwindling of the forest covers in the world. This translates to minimized rain and a lower growth of trees.
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In the same breath, effects of toxic spills and other human errors in major water bodies comprises its renewability. This is the case that happened when the British petroleum company had its underwater cable leak tones and tones of oil into the sea. In as much as the cleanup is said to be going on, chances of a complete reversal of the situation are nil. With the addition of the population and a huge demand for the water resource in the world today, the water resource is at an all time high level of threat.
The environmental issues in Africa and Peru
These are two areas in the world that are the biggest casualties of the environmental degradation especially the water resources management. The origin of these situations is not clear but one may say is the extent interference that was witnessed from the beginning of the last century. The aspects of colonialism and business interests by the European nations at the time set pace for massive plunder of resources by these nations. Industries that belonged to these colonial masters still exist in the continents to this day making it virtually impossible to seek a redress on the same issue. However, this has only been set pace by the existing and the modern populations.
The poor environmental conservation practices have been attributed to the fact that there is little or no effort y the concerned authorities to educate the masses and the people near the water catchment areas on the means that that are supposed to be used in the aspect of environmental conservation as WWF (2009) reports.
When one speaks of the environment and Peru what immediately comes in mind is the Amazon River. This is because the origin of the Latin American river is in this country that is endowed with rain forests. Until recently the Amazon and the Congo basin were the greenest and wettest places on earth. This is because of the aspects of deep forest cover and century old trees that were used by nature to produce rain globally. But this has changed because as we speak, nearly one third of the two basins in Africa and the Americas are directly or indirectly subject to invasion by man.
There are reports from the WWF (2009) that massive logging without replacements is on-going with little or no concern from the government. As if that is not enough, the indigenous people are clearing the rain forests and indeed the water catchment areas for business and settlement because of the increase f the population. More and more rivers are exposed to eradication because of the activities surrounding the environment.
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With the farming of cocoa tea and other cash crops, it has been discovered that channeling the entire rivers and springs to these firms will provide an adequate and cheap way for irrigation. These cash crops normally have little or no direct assistance to the environment because they don’t conserve water at their disposal; rather they are meant to be irrigated at all times. The rivers that are channeled don’t find ways to massive water bodies such as lakes and oceans hence a break in the ecosystems and Lawford (2003) stresses this factor.
The African countries have the great lakes in the east and central Africa. It is a paradox that they experience some of the acute water shortages globally. This is because the governments use political influence to settle people in the forests and not consider the fact that the environment is more important than the rest of the continent, (Gilbert, 2009). The water catchment areas in this forests have been turned into villages and grazing grounds for animals of these people who have no clue on how to the environment ought to be conserved.
The mountainous places of these forests which are the sources of rivers and streams that move to the lakes have been the base of charcoal burning and logging which therefore compromise the fact that the irreplaceable environmental sources are spoil, WWF(2009).
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With the little or no will power to put into account adequate measures to prevent the surge of the environmental situations where water is not adequate. There are various measures that are supposed to be taken into account by the institutions that are concerned with the environmental conservations and the government. First we are going to look at what the roles of those institutions are and what is supposed to be done by them.
Role of the environmental stakeholders and institution in environmental conservation
There is no one environmental way of describing the stakeholders who are involved in the conservation exercises. This is because the fact that all of us are involved in one way or another. This argument is also relevant when addressing the issue of water catchment conservation activities. Water is essential for all of the human consumption as well as the usage in domestic and industrial uses. We are going to look at the role that is supposed to be taken by the citizenry, the business-stakeholders and the conservation institutions.
The citizens are supposed to play a key role in safeguarding the water because of the non-renewable nature of the same. This is through recycling of the commodity using the approved and healthy ways that are environmentally conservable. They are also supposed to help in a small way in the plantation of trees to increase the forest cover and also minimize the wastage of water, (Ramone, 2009). In addition to that, the domestic waste should be disposed well in the best way possible and an avoidance of the dumping into sites that compromise the water catchment areas.
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The business people also have been the greatest liability in the conservation battle. This is because of the profit oriented mentality o0f the old that continue to dominate the mindset of these people. These companies have approaches that are supposed to conserve the environment in paper but they seldom use them. They touch on the subject of sources of raw materials such as water, the manufacturing processes and the eventual disposing of the waste, Lawford, 2003. The industries have rendered the water a non-renewable source in two ways namely the intoxification of the water r3esouces by use of chemicals and wastage dumping as well as diversion of sources of the water streams to the sites in order to completely use the resource rendering the surrounding population and the ecosystems to use the resource let alone recuperate it.
Therefore the role of this in the environmental conservation should be the aspect of practicing corporate social responsibility in observing the measures that are to be taken in the fight against loss of water resources (Gilbert, 2009). However, the institutions that ought to show the way are the task forces of governments, the non –governmental institutions that deal with the environmental management as well as the trusts that are set to safeguard the environment.
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The role of the institutions of the environment
The main roles that the institutions are to play include the aspect of creating awareness and create programs that educate the masses on the aspect of water conservation. The non-governmental organizations have also made up few mistakes in the conservation because of some aspect of political interference which compromises the activity.
Water being a naturally occurring substance which is always being formed is a commodity that is supposed to be constantly be monitored. These institutions may blame the governments at all time but they also must take the campaign to a higher level. One may therefore ask, what are the governments of the world today doing to make the situation better? Is it a case of a little bit too late?
Role of the government in the environmental renewal
It is clear that the government of countries in the African and Caribbean fronts which are the world’s sources of natural resources have been performing poorly on this major issue. There have been reports of major environmental degradation activities that are going in these places with the full watch of the governments. Because of the quick profit and business, foreign countries which have the capital have invaded th3e vulnerabilities of such countries and are headed for plunder! The governments on the other hand have bogus policies and legislative boundaries that are supposed to safeguard the environmental. Water, which is the basis for this discussion has been the biggest victim. Massive deforestation and immense irrigation for the farms of the cash crops of these multinational companies have diverted all the water sources and streams to their places of businesses. It is therefore inevitable to prevent the rate at which the water resources are being utilized by the native people as well as the environment which is the crop and vegetation cove (Ramone, 2009).
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There are various steps that the governments are supposed to take. They include the aspects of legislation and policy arrangement, the standardization of the use of water, the investment on research and development and investments in projects that help conserve the environment.
Analysts have described the present situation of the environment in Africa as being fearful. This is because for instance the Sahara desert is increasing southwards at the rate of 47 kilometers per annum (WWF, 2009). This is translates to lesser water catchment areas as well as a reduced amount of underground water reserves. The governments therefore must take responsibilities of creating policies that govern the use of the water resources. This should have taken place years ago but because the situation is already happening the government s must take into account the aspects of identification of the endangered water catchment areas as well as s the efforts to protects the,. A policy for re-forestation and safeguarding of the forest cover in such countries must also be affected. This will necessitate the recuperation of the already lost glory (Villiers, 2001).
Secondly, the authorities must be taken to standardize the use of the water resource. The companies that come to invest in such countries must be made to comply with environment al conservation procedures which help to alleviate the aspect of water resources. This is through measures like compulsory adherence to practices that help in conserving the environment such as disposal of waste and other unwanted materials not to the sea but to the required area (Gilbert, 2009). Next is the compliance to use only required chemicals that are environmentally friendly and not those that affect the environment.
The next step that the governments should do is to invest in project s that help to conserve water catchment areas such as dams and other reservoirs that help in consumption as well as irrigation.
Lastly, it is true that we can’t manufacture water. This is because it is naturally occurring but the danger is that the water catchment areas are under threat. Also true is the fact that information about this aspect is available all over but the people who are concerned have chosen to neglect it. Therefore it is the duties of all of us and the government to act together.
The debate on water conservation is very much on the public domain as of now. Although it is a renewable resource, various activities are making it not to be so. This ultimately should make the stakeholders to work in unison to help alleviate the problems.