Global business ethics lesson 08

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77 Environmental Issues UNIT UNIT IV 78 Global Business Ethics 79 Environmental Issues LESSON ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES CONTENTS 8.0 Aims and Objectives 8.1 Introduction 8.2 Scope of Environmental Ethics 8.3 Protecting the Natural Environment 8.3.1 Land 8.3.2 Water 8.3.3 Forests 8.3.4 Dams 8.3.5 Atmosphere 8.3.6 Habitat 8.4 Health 8.5 Prevention of Pollution 8.6 Protecting the Natural Environment 8.7 Let us Sum up 8.8 Lesson End Activity 8.9 Keywords 8.10 Questions for Discussion 8.11 Suggested Readings 8.0 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES After studying this lesson, you should be able to understand: z The scope of environmental ethics z Various environmental issues 8.1 INTRODUCTION Over the course of the past twenty years there has been an enormous increase in general public awareness of the environmental issues The highest profile world- level event was the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the Earth Summit) which attracted 178 nations to Rio de Janeiro in June 1992, including over 100 heads of state Simultaneously almost 500 groups (Non- Governmental Organizations, or NGOs) were involved in a global forum some miles away from the official meetings More than any single event before or since, this summit and forum raised matters such as climate change, biodiversity and the sustainability of development to a new level in the consciousness of society around the world 80 Global Business Ethics 8.2 SCOPE OF ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS The environmental problems in India arise from a number of causes The growing human and animal populations are making increasing demands on natural resources resulting in the exploitation of resources in an unsustainable manner The general indifference of the industries sector on aspects of environmental safety and protection is leading to air, water, and soil pollution Economic growth has necessitated a corresponding expansion in energy availability for industrial, agricultural and domestic purposes The energy mix in the country is such that India has been listed the fifth biggest contributor of greenhouse gases by the World Resources Institute The level of environmental literacy is low, and thus there is a gross undervaluation of the economic and ecological aspects of biological diversity Also, extensive damage is being done to basic life-support systems caused by development activities The policies of the central and state governments have not incorporated environmental accounting principles with the result that many development projects have been conceived for short-term gains without considering their long-term ecological and social impacts The inability to convert the oft-repeated rhetoric of growth with equity into reality has resulted in the persistence of widespread poverty, under-nutrition and under-five infant mortality Also, the biomass needs of the tribal and rural people are neglected Thus, fifty years after independence, while the country has achieved great gains in industry and agriculture, it has failed on the family planning, poverty alleviation and environmental protection fronts The new environmental ethics will have to find solutions to these problems z Atmosphere z Habitat z Health 8.3 PROTECTING THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT 8.3.1 Land With just a fortieth of the world's land, India supports over half of its buffaloes and over a seventh of its cattle and goats As more and more grazing lands are brought under the plough, often, as a result of government programmes, the remaining move towards overstocking and economic disaster As grazing lands degenerate, people keep more goats, which survive better in hostile environment In Rajasthan, the number of goats was half that of cattle By 1983 there were 14 goats to every 10 heads of cattle As fodder becomes scarce, people and the animals turn to forests Violent clashes between grazers and foresters follow, as corrupt foresters exploit permits for grazing The worst affected are millions of nomads as their cattle starve and they travel ever-increasing distances Finally, they give up their traditional life style to become landless labourers Scientists recognize that nomads, invariably worked on marginal lands which soon collapsed under permanent agriculture Ironically when the country faces an acute fodder crisis, social forestry programmes intended, to meet this and the fuel wood crisis, plant mainly non-browsable species like eucalyptus Ravines have already swallowed up four million hectares In the Chambal Valley, more than ten per cent of the villagers have been completely depopulated While mineral production in rupee terms has increased, nearly fifty-fold in the last thirty years, mining operations have depopulated hundreds of villages and destroyed several million hectares of good crop and forestland The worst affected are the tribal More than half of the national mining output comes from 40 contiguous districts of central and eastern India, the tribal heartland of the country 8.3.2 Water India is one of the wettest countries in the world Its average annual rainfall is 1170 mm with Cherapunji in the East getting drenched under 11400 mm plus and the sands of Jaisalmer at the western end getting 210 mm Considering that the mid- western US, the breadbasket of the world, gets an average of 200 mm a year, India should consider itself singularly fortunate However the country does not use its blessings properly, hence, two decades from now India is expected to face the threat of shortage for it, cannot hold on to all the water it receives Deforestation is the main cause of this gloomy scenario Soil conservation has been so far neglected in such a manner that every year a large portion of the monsoon water disappears into the sea Today, India uses only and tenth of the rainfall it receives and even forty years from now, it will be using only a quarter But it must learn to store the water adequately and use it without polluting it Otherwise there will be serious water shortages India's groundwater resources are almost ten times its annual rainfall but with over 70,000 tube wells added every year; the water table is declining in many areas leaving the dug wells of the poor high and dry Ancient India stored rainwater in tanks and ponds but the British and the independent Indian administration have neglected them completely So where tanks irrigated half the cropped area a century ago, they now irrigate less than 10 per cent All but two of the high altitude lakes are steadily dying because of pollution The slow death of Kashmir's Dal Lake is ruining the life of 50,000 fisher folk The ecological value of wetlands has yet to be understood Calcutta's Salt Lake City today, stands on a former sprawling we find and the result is with the city's natural drainage system blocked, every shower turns into a flood and the city has lost major sources of fish, its favourite food The increasingly polluted rivers and lakes and large dams are seriously affecting riverside fisheries The migratory 'hilsa', much soughtafter delicacy, is being damned to death Thus, as a consequence of pollution and unplanned industrialization, millions of riverside fisher folk, their survival is very uncertain, so they travel long distances and months in search of fish Both droughts and floods have ravaged India over the last decades/The increasing pace of environmental destruction is in turn increasing the hazard-proneness of the affected areas A N Amphora, the retiring chairman of the Brahmaputra Board said in early 1984 that the annual flood damage to Assam alone was more than 2,000 crores of rupees The high watermark at Dibrugarh on the river Brahmaputra has risen gradually over the past forty years and since 1960, has always been above the danger mark The systematic destruction of the forest for the various plywood and timber factories have caused soil erosion which have raised Brahmaputra's bed level, thus causing destructive floods which have become an annual feature in the Brahmaputra basin in recent years 8.3.3 Forests Of all the environmental problems facing the country, the problem of deforestation has received the maximum public attention The latest satellite data confirm that India is losing 1.3 million hectares of forest every year, nearly eight times the annual rate as given by the forest departments Wood has become so expensive Tamil Nadu fisher folk find it difficult to make catamarans, Karnataka villagers find it difficulty buy new bullock carts and Andhra toy makers find it difficult to make new toys Nine dams that have been built along the river Indravati in Baster, India's last tribal frontier, are turning the tribals into refugees in their own homeland besides damaging the fragile economic system Baster's forests are also threatened with mines and wood- based industries Social forestry schemes envisage the planting of eucalyptus, but the tree is not very popular with the environmentalists In Karnataka, protests have uprooted eucalyptus in several places while some farmers have dug trenches between the 81 Environmental Issues 82 Global Business Ethics eucalyptus and their fields to keep the eucalyptus roots away The fast growing eucalyptus plantations are depleting soil nutrients in Punjab, UP and Haryana Social forestry may even be exacerbating the energy crisis for land less labourers when farmers in Punjab switched from cotton to eucalyptus the workers lost their main fuel, the cotton stalks Thus, the destruction of the forests in India have had a devastating impact on the Indian ecosystem The unprecedented drought in Kerala in 1983 was largely caused by the destruction of the forests on the slopes of the Western Ghats The power (electricity) rush has caused the destruction of the forests It has led to a vicious circle In order to remedy the regular power cuts during summer, more dams are built which further damage the catchment area, reduce water availability, and consequently the power-generating capacity of the project The time has come to reverse this trend 8.3.4 Dams Large dams are the most controversial environmental issues facing India today Silent Valley, which envisaged large-scale destruction of the only remaining tropical rainforest in the country along with the various rare species of flora and fauna, has already been given up after the environmental groups protested The cost of forest loss due to construction of dams is very high and large dams have disowned half of a million hectares of forests As much as nature is affected, dams also affect the lives of numerous local people The government officials argue that, 'someone has to suffer for progress.' Usually these 'someone' are tribals, the poorest and the most powerless Rehabilitation measures for the displaced are highly pathetic Some of the current irrigation projects that would be damaging the ecosystem are: The Narmada basin development programme costing more than Rs 25,000 crore and displacing over one million tribal people: z The Koelkaro project in Bihar z The Indravati project and Upper Indravati project covering the states of Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra z The Vishnu project z The Tehri project z The Kopili project at Garampani, Meghalaya z The Ranaguadi project, Arunachal Pradesh All these projects result in massive deforestation, soil erosion, pollution, wildlife destruction, cultural ethnocide Though these projects promise thousands of megawatts of electricity and millions of hectares of irrigated land, in the long run the environmental chaos is bound to reverse these temporary gains Small earthen dams for water harnessing are both ecologically sound and economically profitable There is no soil erosion, no deforestation, destruction and no one is displaced The lesson: water conservation yes; big dams, no It's time our planners and government took note of this 8.3.5 Atmosphere The government's decision to set up giant thermal power stations to meet the country's power shortage is being implemented with relative efficiency But the need to control pollution and plan for a clean environment for human settlements coming around these stations is yet to be seriously felt by the government The government agencies' lack of co-ordination and will to take effective steps has resulted in a massive environmental destruction for miles around, and the threat of acid rain in especially developing countries Most of the thermal power stations not have properly functioning pollution equipment The current vehicle boom in the Indian cities could choke thousands to death Delhi's half a million motor vehicles spew 400 tons of pollutants daily Air pollution could be a major cause of TB and major respiratory ailments Industrialization around the urban belts has led to passive increase in the atmospheric sulphur dioxide content The trend to set up super thermal power stations could only increase pollution As Prof C V Sheshadri said, 'Power pollutes, super thermal power pollutes super thermally 8.3.6 Habitat India's urban population is today the fourth largest in the world In the 21st Century, it would be the largest As towns and cities grow they gobble up precious agricultural land Conservative official estimates put the slum population at over 30 million In the 21st century about 75 per cent of Mumbai's population will be living in slums Conditions in the slums are more than choking A survey reveals, in Mumbai nearly 40 per cent of the slum households have two to four persons packed in one room, 35 per cent of households have five to nine people cramped into one room No house has a private toilet A quarter of the households does not even have access to community toilets and use open spaces around the slum for defecation Over a third have no drainage facilities and another 40 per cent have uncovered drains This lack of amenities makes the slum environment extremely dirty and prone to sickness The recent outbreak of the cholera epidemic in Delhi is a classic example of the degeneration of the habitat The data available on India's major cities indicates that the most common illnesses prevalent are the respiratory diseases, gastrointestinal disorders, skin diseases, worms, infections and TB Grossly inadequate supply of clean water, overcrowding, congestion and the near total lack of sanitary facilities have done their bit to help the disease get the upper hand in slums It is high time the government upgraded the living conditions in the slums The face of urban India is rapidly changing Bangalore, Pune, and Dehradun for long praised as idealistic - cool, green and quiet - are boomtowns - noisy, dusty, and hot Hill stations are dying everywhere In place like Ooty in the South, Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani in the West, Darjeeling, Gangtok, Shillong, Musoorie and Shimla in the North, with tourists pouring in, forests have been destroyed and water crisis is common It is time that the rapid degeneration of the habitat is stopped Check Your Progress What are the environmental issues related with dams projects? ………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………… 8.4 HEALTH India's chemical industry with 4,000 factories is the most dangerous one in the country India uses nearly 100,000 tons of pesticides annually At least 70 per cent of this tonnage is contributed by pesticides, banned and severely restricted in the western world A WHO study which analyzed food samples across India found that 50 per cent were contaminated with pesticides and residues, with 30 per cent, exceeding permissible limits Over 2,500 died in the world's worst chemical industry disaster, when methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked from the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal Thousands of workers die everywhere because of occupational diseases, the gravest one caused by various types of dust like asbestos dust, slate pencil dust, and the dust at various mining sites One million miners suffer from silicosis 83 Environmental Issues 84 Global Business Ethics Mosquito-born diseases are rapidly growing and grossly under-reported Malaria incidents may be as high as 20 million though official statistics claim only 2.16 million Malaria, dengue, Japanese encephalitis and various other epidemics are a result of the steady degeneration of the environment The above analysis indicates the severity of environmental destruction in India It is time for the government to muster the political will and courage to reverse the environmental degeneration If the Government does not act, the progressive environmental degeneration will worsen the plight of the poor and the rich alike 8.5 PREVENTION OF POLLUTION As an environmental management strategy, pollution prevention shares many attributes with cleaner production, a term used more commonly outside the United States Pollution prevention encompasses more specialized sub-disciplines including green chemistry and green design (also known as environmentally conscious design) The types of pollution can be classified as: Anthropogenic (Human caused) Sources of pollution ™ Air Pollution ™ Water Pollution ™ Soil Pollution (Contamination)/Land Pollution Economic source (originator) of Pollution ™ Agricultural Pollution ™ Industrial Pollution ™ Transport Pollution a) Car pollution b) Ship pollution c) Airplane pollution ™ Commercial and domestic sector pollution Natural sources of pollution ™ Volcanic eruptions ™ Dust storms ™ Smoke from forest and grass fires Other types of pollution ™ Radioactive pollution (contamination) ™ Chemical pollution ™ Invasive species pollution ™ Light pollution ™ Noise pollution ™ Visual pollution Pollution prevention (P2) describes activities that reduce the amount of pollution generated by a process, whether it is consumer consumption, driving, or industrial production In contrast to most pollution control strategies, which seek to manage a pollutant after it is formed and reduce its impact upon the environment, the pollution prevention approach seeks to increase the efficiency of a process, thereby reducing the amount of pollution generated at its source All the people such as Blacks and whites, women and men, young and old, developing and developed can rise above their mutual bitterness to identify a shared powerlessness and to plan a shared future A world-order framework identifies the passage of our present system and provides hope for the future Such hope and belief provide a basis for determination, for the staying power needed to successfully deal with the complexities of local issues They also provide a basis for initiative in seeking new responses and alternatives to local problems as well as to global crises It provides a perspective of analyzing each problem in a macro frame that identifies all the forces intruding upon it, analysing it and provide more effective problem solving In highly developed mainly western countries up to 90% of all forest has disappeared to urbanization and agriculture, with many other areas having followed suit with figures nearly as high at 80%+ In total 80% of the worlds forest has been cleared or compromised by human development Most mountains in the Himalayas have been grossly denuded and women have to walk several kilometres daily to collect fuel The consequences of deforestation - soil degradation, groundwater depletion and frequent occurrence of floods and droughts have been amply demonstrated The effects of this deforestation and climate change are felt worldwide though particularly in very cold polar and low-lying areas susceptible to flooding These effects include extreme weather, flooding, and drought as well as warming leading to environmental change Biologically, India is one of the richest nations with more than 15,000 species of plants Many of these are endangered due to deforestation As the human and industrial wastes pollute 70% of the water sources, the industries, thermal power plants, automobiles etc pollute the air in metropolitan cities The pollutants, mercury, lead, sulphates, nitrates, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, hydrogen sulphide and human excreta, and sewage cause medical problems such as birth defects, damage to the nervous system, kidney diseases, gastrointestinal problems, asthma, bronchitis, etc In 1995, for example, only 3.5% of global forest area corresponded to that under plantations (Brown 2000) Nonetheless, the proportion of global, industrial roundwood supplied from this resources in 1999 was estimated to be 35% and is expected to exceed 40% in the near future In Latin America, plantations account for only 2.0% of the forested area, but supply more than 27% of industrial round wood In Chile, with its highly advanced plantation industry, this percentage increases to 85% (Brown 2000) and in Costa Rica, a country which has traditionally harvested its wood from natural forests, an estimated 62% of round wood consumed now comes from plantations (Arce and Barrantes 2004) Although plantations are often considered important for offsetting forest loss due to deforestation, in most countries total plantation area is only a fraction of the area deforested on average each year The reduction of forest cover in many regions has been accompanied by a steady increase in demand for forest products (FAO 1995) Some of the possible steps that can be taken to control pollution are as follows: z Prefer organic manure to chemical fertilizers, paper to polythene, cotton, jute to polyester z Dispose polythene bags through proper channel 85 Environmental Issues 86 Global Business Ethics z Plant more trees and vegetation z Keep smoke emission from homes, factories, vehicles to minimum z Avoid use of firecrackers z Dispose garbage in bins, not bum it z Reduce and alter indoor chemical use z Use more sophisticated furnace filters z Use spittoons or flowing drains for spitting z Never dump garbage near communal taps, wells and other water bodies z Do not tinker with public water pipes z Immerse holy idols in authorized places z Keep the volume of your T.V., music system low z Honk the car horn sparingly z Discourage use of loudspeakers z Avoid the use of band, crackers in wedding processions 8.6 PROTECTING THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT The agriculture is intensive - using more and more fertilizers and pesticides, which pollute the water The industry has diversified to produce many hazardous chemicals To meet the power requirements, hydroelectric, thermal and nuclear plants are being increasingly set up These generate several pollutants and wastes and efforts have to be made to control these The problems of India, indeed of developing countries, are massive The country has a fast growing population, 40 per cent of which depends on the nature's gift of land, water and forests for food, fuel, shelter and materials to provide them employment People put a tremendous pressure on the natural resources, compounded by the cattle population of more than 40 crores The prosperous segment of the population, to meet its demands, turns to industrial units, which cause heavy pollution and degradation of natural resources The combined effect is staggering, posing a big threat to the very process of development This vicious circle has to be broken if development is to be made sustainable In the last forty years, the government has taken a number of steps to protect the environment These include: z Enactment of legislations such as the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972; the Forest Conservation Act, 1980; the Water Prevention and Control of Pollution Act, 1981; The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981; and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 z Setting up of a Central Pollution Control Board and 23 State Boards z Fixing of industry-wise Standards for discharge of pollutants z Extension of several financial incentives to industrial units installing pollutioncontrol equipment z Declaring per cent of the country's area as national parks and sanctuaries z Taking up massive a forestation schemes through National Wastelands Development Board z The Gaga Action Plan to clean the river z Making an environmental impact assessment and clearance by the Pollution Control Boards mandatory for all industrial units z Promoting research and development in universities and national laboratories Check your Progress Fill in the blanks: were involved in a global forum some miles away from the official meetings The value of wetlands has yet to be understood The government's decision to set up giant to meet the country's power shortage is being implemented with relative efficiency 8.7 LET US SUM UP This Planet is not a legacy that we shall leave for our children but it is their Birth Right to inherit it from us at least the way we got it from our grand parents The question is whether the present adult society is stealing their birth right Are we leaving this Planet with all its wealth, flora, fauna and ecosystem? Are we at least letting them breathe fresh air and enjoy pure free water 8.8 LESSON END ACTIVITY Environment protection is a major issue in modern times Do you agree with this? Give reasons for your answer 8.9 KEYWORDS Environmental issues: Issues related to environmental problems Deforestation: Removal of the forest cover Soil conservation: Protecting the productivity of soil 8.10 QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION Discuss the available natural resources Enumerate the nature of environmental destruction in India What steps have been initiated at policy level to protect the environment in India? What is air pollution, what are its problems? Earth is warming due to human activity in the recent days What are its views? Check Your Progress: Model Answers CYP Large dams are the most controversial environmental issues facing India today Silent Valley, which envisaged large-scale destruction of the only remaining tropical rainforest in the country along with the various rare species of flora and fauna, has already been given up after the environmental groups protested The cost of forest loss due to construction of dams is very high and large dams have disowned half of a million hectares of forests As much as nature is affected, dams also affect the lives of numerous local people Contd… 87 Environmental Issues 88 Global Business Ethics CYP Non-governmental Organizations Ecological Thermal power stations 8.11 SUGGESTED READINGS Manuel G Velasquez, Business Ethics Laura P Hart Man, Business Ethics John R Boat Right, Ethics in Conduct of Business William A Wines, Ethics Law and Business ... Issues 88 Global Business Ethics CYP Non-governmental Organizations Ecological Thermal power stations 8.11 SUGGESTED READINGS Manuel G Velasquez, Business Ethics Laura P Hart Man, Business Ethics. ..78 Global Business Ethics 79 Environmental Issues LESSON ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES CONTENTS 8.0 Aims and Objectives 8.1 Introduction 8.2 Scope of Environmental Ethics 8.3 Protecting... development to a new level in the consciousness of society around the world 80 Global Business Ethics 8.2 SCOPE OF ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS The environmental problems in India arise from a number of causes
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