Industrial and technological advancements gave rise to the ultra-modern and smart world we enjoy today. We drive nice cars, live in posh houses, and have access to gadgets that make life easy.

But at what expense?

Our industries and companies produce tons of chemical wastes and non-biodegradable products that pollute our environment and put the world at risk daily.

Our energy production and consumption emit poisonous gasses into the atmosphere, polluting our air and making it less breathable by the second.

The continuous overexploitation of natural resources has tipped the natural balance of life on planet earth by depopulating and eliminating species of life. Our human activities daily have contaminated life by adding harmful substances to the air, water and soil; these activities have impacted the structure and function of ecosystems, changed our climate and disrupted our biological communities.

Environmental pollution and its adverse effects on our planet have become the mainstream challenge of the 21st century. There are fears about whether life on earth will survive this century, and there are projections of how long we have to fix the earth before all hell breaks loose. We have until 2030, according to WHO.

But, before we go further, let’s understand the fundamentals of environmental pollution.

Environmental pollution is the unfavourable disruption of our ecosystems due to man’s activities and to the extent that it adversely affects the normal optimum environmental and biological processes.

The byproducts of human activities that cause pollution are called pollutants. A pollutant can be in gaseous form (smoke, gaseous emissions from factories, insecticides etc.), liquid form (chemical substrates, sewers etc.) or solid form (metals, bottles, plastics etc.).

The burden of environmental pollution is getting heavier by the second.

What can we do?

Be informed

They say information is power. It will surprise you that many people are not informed about how much their lifestyle and activities negatively impact the environment. Many people are still clueless that using firewood or coal to cook contributes to air pollution.

So, the first line of action is to eradicate the ignorance about pollution and awaken the consciousness of the regular man to make better eco-friendly and sustainable choices in his everyday life.

Enforce environmental policies

We’ve talked about the people who do not know that their activities pollute the environment. What about people that are informed and yet act ignorantly?

CEOs of companies are the worst culprits.

Companies producing bottled water and drinks are aware of the environmental implications of the tons of plastic waste they generate every day yet still produce.

Corporations and business tycoons that rely heavily on fossil fuel to generate energy for smooth operation are well aware of the damage they are causing the biosphere, yet they continue.

The list is endless.

The worst part is that they pay off the government to look the other way.

This has got to stop.

The government should take responsibility for the health of its environment. They should enact and enforce policies that benchmark the amount of pollution that can be tolerated from a company. They should also punish defaulters to teach others a lesson.

Use your voice

We have talked about information as key in ending the ignorance and negligence on environmental pollution. But, how can people know when they are not informed?

Therefore, necessity is laid upon the informed ones to spread the knowledge to the unreached and call out culprits who are informed but yet negligent.

We must raise our voices in advocacy for climate change, global warming, biodiversity loss, water crisis, ozone depletion, greenhouse effect, bad air, and pollution-induced diseases.

Everyone must take responsibility and speak up; individuals, NGOs, INGOs, celebrities, government etc.

Integrate smart and sustainable solutions

It is a given that we really cannot do without most of the things causing pollution in our environment. However, we can start integrating smart and sustainable alternatives.

Elon Musk is already setting the pace by providing smart and sustainable solutions. His company SolarCity provides clean energy solutions that help redress the pollution from fossil fuels.

His car company, Tesla, produces solar-powered electric cars that help redress the air pollution from car exhausts.

And of course, his most prominent company SpaceX seeks to reduce the cost of space exploration and provide an inhabitable planet for the expansion of humanity, which is a thoughtful mission considering the increasing population and depletion of earth’s resources.

Our government should integrate these solutions to help save humanity.

Make sustainable choices

You don’t need to be a leader before you can initiate change. You can start with yourself, your family, friends, and neighbours.

Next time you go to the grocery store or market as we are used to in this part of the world, think about how the products you buy can impact the quality of the environment. Use the 3 Rs to evaluate your choices; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Shun disposable plates, cups, cutleries, and opt for reusable ones.

Ladies, please make a switch to menstrual cups. It’s affordable, comfortable and sustainable.

Reduce bottled and canned drinks consumption and opt for fresh fruit juice. And, of course, reduce the consumption of packaged and microwaved food. It will stop adding to the 5.25 trillion tons of macro and microplastics floating on the open ocean. It is also good for your health.

Suppose you can afford it, grow your vegetables and fruits in your compound. It will increase the quality of air in your surroundings.

Take it a notch higher and plant a tree or two in your neighbourhood. It will ensure you breathe clean air.

Our children deserve a future where catastrophic climate catastrophe is avoided while we continue to power our developing world. A future in which we can feed 10 billion people while also providing cleaner, more plentiful drinking water and safeguarding life-giving lands, lakes, and rivers. A future in which nature’s wild heart continues to beat strong via healthy wildlife and stunning landscapes and our cities are reinforced by harmony with nature.

This has to be the decade in which we save the earth. We must keep our commitments, policies, and coordinated efforts to save Mother Earth from ruin.

What we do at DO

At DO, we have a range of projects tackling the issue of environmental pollution.

The Plant a tree project is an advocacy community-wide outreach to educate people on the impact of deforestation on climate change and how they can help combat global warming using a nature-based solution.

The climate workshop is designed to create awareness and educate participants on the effect of climate change and build the participants’ adaptive capacity.

Innovate with the Waste project is a workshop to educate and show people how to create innovative products from waste and earn from it, thereby creating jobs.

The clean-up project is a youth mobilisation campaign designed for organising youths to clean up their environment or public space that has evolved to become an eyesore, i.e. public waste sites, dirty gutters, etc.

Earn from waste is a community outreach targeted at educating community members on how they can earn from recycling waste. Then work with those interested in picking up recyclable trash and liaise with recycle companies to purchase the trash.

Join us today in this fight against environmental pollution by becoming a Grassroots Development Champion (GDC) and carrying out any of these projects in your community.

Collaborate with us through donations and partnerships to sponsor our quest for a sustainable environment for all.

More importantly, take the responsibility yourself, and the world will be better for it.

#SaveEarthSaveLife #OurPlanetOurLife