Waste build-up: NAM encountering environmental problem

Man is the worst offender in polluting our environment. Dumping of garbage all over the world pollutes it; the release of chemical wastes from factories into rivers and seas pollutes them. The impact of development on environment and the impact of environmental degradation on future development have attracted world-wide attention. Despite the world-wide efforts to slow down deterioration of the human environment the environmental degradation has been posing a real threat to every form of life on our planet. The negative effects of civilization and economic development on human environment are glaring. Environmental pollution has been spreading like an epidemic threatening both present and future generations.

The industrialization in the developed world has created the problems of environmental pollution, greenhouse effect, acid rain, toxic waste disposal etc. But the impact, of all this is more on the Third World countries than on the advanced nations. The Third World countries are not in a position to spend large amounts and develop counter technologies to prevent environmental degradation.

Among all waste management has become a challenging issue that demands immediate attention. Inappropriately managed waste can attract rodents and insects, which can harbour gastrointestinal parasites, yellow fever, worms, the plague and other conditions for humans, and exposure to hazardous wastes, particularly when they are burned, can cause various other diseases including cancers. Toxic waste materials can contaminate surface water, groundwater, soil, and air which cause more problems for humans, other species, and ecosystems. Waste treatment and disposal produces significant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, notably methane, which are contributing significantly to global warming.

Waste management is a significant environmental justice issue. Many of the environmental burdens that threaten the cities and nations at large are more often than not borne by marginalized groups, such as racial minorities, women, and residents of developing nations. NIMBY (not in my back yard) is the opposition of residents to a proposal for a new development because it is close to them. However, the need for expansion of waste treatment and disposal facilities is increasing worldwide. There is now a growing market in the trans boundary movement of waste, and although most waste that flows between countries goes between developed nations, a significant amount of waste is moved from developed to developing nations.

Environmental problems received the attention of Non-Aligned Movement in the year 1972. The meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Non-Aligned countries in Georgetown in August 1972 addressed to the problems of environment and called for collective action. The Algiers Summit (1973) referred to cooperation between developing and developed countries in matters of environmental protection. Their developmental efforts need to be consistent and in harmony with environment. The New Delhi Summit (1983) noted that there had been a serious deterioration in the quality of the environment on our planet. It was felt that environment as a whole would be destroyed beyond repair, unless timely measures were taken.

Education and awareness in the area of waste and waste management is increasingly important from a global perspective of resource management, which NAM recognizes and reiterates in its summits urging member states to adhere and implement the same.

The Summit stressed upon economic development in harmony with environment. Special attention was paid to the protection of the seas from pollution. The Summit emphasized upon the need to set up of a World Commission for the Environment and Development. The Commission was expected to enquire into problems of environment and draw up action plan for its improvement. Such an action plan would help mobilize substantial financial resources to enable the developing countries formulate a long-term policy of coordinated development consistent with ecological goals.

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