22 Oct 2018 06:06am IST
Venan Bonaventure Dias
Many of us are wondering how cancer is on the rise. We often fail to realise that there are many other causes rather than smoking and radiation which cause cancer. First and foremost we need to understand what type of air we breathe as it is a constant process. Most of the villages in Goa till date burn wood for cooking and heating water and think that it has been there for ages so there is no harm. But the recent research clearly points out at the ill- effects of burning wood.
The smoke that is released from burning contains harmful organic chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These are carried to the lungs by fine particles dispersed in the air, which means that a neighbour burning wood can be carried to another home even if its doors and windows are closed. These particles are so small that they can easily get past the defenses of the nasal track and get to the deepest part of the lungs that is the alveoli, where the oxygen needs to be transferred to the blood, thereby ingesting the organic chemicals directly into your body through circulation of blood. The resulting health issues gets worsened due to such ingestion into the blood stream leading to irritation of eye and throat, it also causes asthma, acute bronchitis, heart disease, pneumonia, and chronic lung disease that leads to cancer.
Besides harming the human body, the pollutants released into the air can gradually deplete the ozone layer that protects us from harmful radiations from the sun, thus adding fuel to fire.
The recent signing of memorandum between the Goa Government and Portugal in the areas of sanitation should include the point where the quality of air that we breathe should be given prime importance, as this aspect is completely sidelined, more research has to be made in identifying the air quality in Goa otherwise it will soon match the quality of air in Mumbai and Delhi, as most of the ailments mentioned above can be prevented by taking small steps of avoiding such means of cooking.
Even the open pig toilets have to be demolished with immediate effect and sewage systems have to be implemented, the effluents have to be treated and water recycled to be used for irrigation. Simply by forming a bio-diversity board does not solve all these pertinent issues, a strong will to execute at the grassroots levels can go a long way in creating awakening and awareness of the ill effects of such practices, it is possible through the religious forums and communities.
There are important global conventions that also support the sustainable development goals of prevention of adverse climate change, the landmark declarations on international environmental law are “Declaration of United Nations Conference on the Human Environment” and the “Rio Declaration on Environment and Development” which provides 27 principles intended to guide future sustainable development around the world.