World Environment Day Interview: Gunajit Brahma, Managing Director, Jeev Anksh Eco Products


This interview is a part of the World Environment Day 2020 Interview Series. We welcome views from environmentalists, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders on present environmental challenges and request their innovative ideas to find sustainable solutions to solve them. 

Name: Gunajit Brahma
Organization: Jeev Anksh Eco Products (P) Ltd.
Designation: Managing Director

Gunajit Brahma, Managing Director, Jeev Anksh Eco Products
Gunajit Brahma
ST: According to you what is the biggest
environmental threat in the world at present?
Gunajit: As
per me, one of the biggest environmental threat currently present in the world
is Soil Pollution. Soil pollution is a threat to agricultural productivity,
food safety, and overall human health & well-being. The overall scale and
impact severity of Soil Pollution on human health is difficult to measure as it
cannot be directly quantified. As per UN’s FAO (Food and Agriculture
Organisation), no systematic assessment of the status of soil pollution at
global level has ever been undertaken till now.
Rapid urbanisation has reduced the total amount
of agricultural land available for food production. This has led to use of
harmful chemical fertilisers and pesticides to intensify crop production,
thereby contributing to soil pollution. Industrialisation, mining, deforestation,
etc. has left soil contaminants across the globe, thereby further degrading the
soil quality. Urbanisation has led to rapid growth of Cities, and with large
population in City has led to the municipal waste getting dumped in
ground/nearby river, as a dumping sink and/or landfill.
FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena
Semedo, during a Global Symposium on Soil Pollution (GSOP18)
said that “The potential of soils to cope with pollution is limited; the
prevention of soil pollution should be a top priority worldwide.”
Most of the Soil Pollution happening right now
is due to human activities. The main problem is that Soil pollution cannot be
visually perceived or directly assessed.
Soil Pollution impacts food security both by
impairing plant metabolism and thus reducing crop yields, as well as by making
crops unsafe for consumption. Pollutants also directly harm organisms that live
in soil and make it more fertile.
Harmful chemical and fertilisers used for
agricultural activities, industrial activities like mining, smelting and
manufacturing, domestic, livestock and municipal wastes, petroleum-derived
products, e-waste, pharmaceutical waste, plastic, etc. all contributes to Soil
ST: What do you think a common person can do to
help the environment?
Gunajit: Any
common person can do a lot to help the environment. First and foremost, we all
need to get properly educated on the harmful affects of pollution, whether it
be Air Pollution, Water Pollution, Soil Pollution, Noise Pollution or others.
We have to take conscious decisions to reduce
our pollution as best as we can, at our personal capacity.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle… That’s the Mantra.
E.g., We can start by reducing our dependency
on Plastic by using Cloth bags. We can reuse whatever plastic that we have at
home. Then we can give it for recycling to our municipality.
To reduce soil pollution, we can start
consuming Organic food, that do not degrade the soil, and are a healthier
option. As they say, “we are what we eat!”. I understand that currently Organic
food are costlier, but once the demand for organic food across the world
increases, the cost will come down and it will be more and more affordable to
the common person.
ST: What message do you have to the present and
future generations?
Gunajit: The
present and future generations have a significant role to play to reverse
climate change and prevent environmental degradation.
The present generation has to take extreme
majors and drastic lifestyle changes to accommodate environmental protection in
their day to day activities. They not only have to take the responsibility to
prevent climate change, but also to sensitise their family, community, locality
and the government to become environment friendly. The responsibility of
environmental protection is not only with the Government but with each and
everyone one of us. From the moment we wake up every day till the time we go to
sleep, our actions and activities must be to reduce/prevent pollution.
The first activity that most of us do every
morning is take out our toothbrush and toothpaste made of plastic and use it. Our
present generation have to change all these.
The present generation has the responsibility
to leave behind a cleaner and better world for the future generation. The
future generation should first and foremost forgive us if we fail to leave
behind a better world for them. If we (the present generation) are successful
in achieving environment friendly lifestyle, the future generation should carry
on with living that lifestyle in harmony with nature.
The indigenous/aboriginal people of the world seem
to be the most environment friendly, as they have a minimal environmental
impact, as they live in harmony with nature.
ST: What is the significance of ‘World
Environment Day’ at the present time?
Gunajit: During
the global pandemic of COVID times, “World Environment Day” is a lot
significant today than ever before.
There are recent articles in the media that
links Climate Change to increase in disease pandemic across the world. The
melting of polar ice caps might have exposed/thawed viruses & pathogens
that were earlier frozen in the ice since thousands of years.
Climate change resulting in rise of average global
temperate are expanding the geographical presence of vector-borne diseases such
as malaria and dengue fever, because the animals that transmit them are
adapting to more widespread areas. Scientists across the world are extremely
concerned that climate change might alter the relationship between human body’s
defences and such pathogens. Microbes are adapting at a faster rate to the
warming of the world, and are modifying their DNA to survive in a hotter world.
Most microbes and pathogens cannot survive more
than 37°C, average human body temperature, acting as a natural barrier against
such pathogens. But with the increase in temperature adaptation by such
microbes and pathogen, in the near future, human body will have lesser change
of protection against them. If cold-blooded creatures start to adapt to warmer
conditions, they could unleash a slew of new pathogens to which humans may not
have immunity.
We must always remember that the Planet will
survive, but we as a species might not…

Having said that, we human being, the smartest species in Planet Earth, has the
sole capability to reverse Climate Change and have the most significant role to
play for Environmental protection. We are the driver of our own destiny.

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