Psychology: Environmental Stress: Pollution Issues and Sustainable Development

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Environmental Stress

Environmental stress can be defined as an undesirable transaction between the person and the environment. The demands made by environmental factors on us constitute the sources of environmental stress.

  • Humans subjugated to nature: During the early part of history human beings looked at the environment from a different perspective. They believed that the nature rules human beings. The various components of nature were considered supernatural and objects of worship. However, this view is still held in some cultures.

  • Humans control over nature

  • Symbiotic relationship between human and nature: Human beings and nature have always shared an interdependent relationship which means that no one is sufficient in itself. Human beings derive a lot from nature in various forms and it also becomes a necessity that a sense of duty towards nature is generated. People blindly exploit various natural resources without thinking about their impact on others in present time and future.

Pollution Issues

Pollution is an undesirable change in the physical, chemical or biological characteristics of air, land and water that may harmfully affect life. It is an unfavorable alteration of the environment largely as a result of human activities.

Pollution Issues

Pollution Issues

  • Air pollution: Air pollution is defined as an imbalance in the quality of air so as to cause adverse effects on the living organisms. It is caused by the excessive presence of certain gases and suspended material particulates (SPM). The air is the carrier of oxygen for all life forms. Gases like carbon di-oxide (CO2), Nitrous Oxide (NO2), Suplphurdioxide (SO2) and suspended particulates including lead are the major pollutants.

  • Water pollution: Pollution of water refers to addition of excess undesirable substance to water that makes it harmful to human, animal and aquatic life.

  • Noise pollution: Noise pollution can be defined as the intensity, loudness, timbre or pitch of sound which causes us physical discomfort, or it may be unwanted because of the situation.

  • Crowding: Crowding involves subjective discomfort and physiological arousal. The feeling of discomfort, perception of loss of control over social interaction, encroachment on privacy and negative perception of space are considered as characteristic features of crowding. Some effects of crowding are crime and has effects on emotion and behavior.

  • Greenhouse effect: The change in climate (global warming) is closely related to ‘greenhouse effect’. The effect is called ‘greenhouse effect’ because in cold regions where sunlight is needed for developing plants, a glass house is made which they call - Greenhouse. The Greenhouse has a glass roof that lets in warming sunlight but prevents escape of warm air. In the same manner the four gases released into the atmosphere (carbon dioxide, methane, and CFC) trap the sun’s heat, that turns the earth into a vast “greenhouse” i.e. not letting the heat to be released. This increases the temperature of the atmosphere. The increase in the levels of the three gases began about the middle of the 18th century. If this trend continues, it is estimated that it will result in an average warming of the earth’s surface air temperature by about 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2100.

Sustainable Development

According to World Commission on Environment and Development which is also popularly known as Brundtland Commission, sustainable development is defined as “development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Sustainable development means preservation of the stocks of resources including environmental resources and exhaustible resources. The major cause of worry about the sustainability of development is supposed to be the wasteful consumption style. The present production technology is making large use of the non-renewable natural resources such as coal, gas, petroleum which are also called fossil fuels.

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