Mrs. Nash wakes up in her bed. She gets ready to go to her office in the crowded city of Los Angeles. After a quick breakfast, she is on her way to work. On the way, she needs to stop at an oxygen bar and shell out a few dollars for oxygen, as it gives her a way of getting away from the polluted exteriors of the city of Los Angeles. On the other side of the world, in Beijing, Mr. Lin goes through a somewhat same routine. He wakes up, goes to a oxygen station to heave a sigh of relief from the pollution surrounding him, before he sets out for the factory he works in.
What Mrs. Nash's and Mr. Lin's story gives us is an alarming overview of the world around us. The world we live in has changed. It is no longer the clean, natural world which our great-great-great-grandfathers (and those before them) enjoyed. The alliteration used implies the terribly long time we spent impoverishing the planet, the planet which is our home (until science takes us to distance Earth-like planets, that is). From the beginning of the Industrial Era, began a phase in man's life which was revolutionary. Attempts to make man's life easy with the help of scientific progress and industrial development worsened the condition of the environment. Today, the sickness of the environment has manifested itself in the form of sickness in human beings.
As is apparent from the times factories started operating in England (the first country to become industrialized), pollution is an inevitable consequence of industrial development. However, in modern times, unprecedented scientific progress has told us one thing — that there is a way to combat pollution itself. The scrubber and the electrostatic precipitator are some of the many technologies that help control pollution. But the problem of pollution is a lot bigger than industries themselves — for the consumer and the producer are equally guilty of polluting the environment. A rise in disposable income of the flourishing middle class has resulted in a humongous increase in generation of domestic waste. Uncontrolled dumping of the waste without proper waste treatment pollutes the land and water to an alarming extent. The situation has worsened to such an extent that in some Third World countries, croplands are being converted into landfills because of the lack of dumping grounds. This, in turn, hampers farming, which is the backbone of all economies, including those dependent on industry. A profound lack of awareness is responsible for the rash way in which the Earth's resources are being wasted - be it the rich(who don't spare a thought, because, after all, where are you going to spend that money of yours?) or be it the poor (who don't know about their activities, because education is one of the luxuries which they cannot dream of having)
While the "developed" and the "developing" countries are engaged in a heated debate over who is actually responsible for the worldwide environmental crisis, the situation at hand becomes more critical. "Development" is a relative concept, and find relevance only when a proper balance between "the needs of men" and "the needs of the environment" are established. Until that happens, there is no way of finding a solution to the environmental crisis. The only way out seems to be in the hands of local communities, whose job is to address the lack of awareness among every class of society in various (and possibly creative) ways. Things can even be done at the organizational level, to help reduce the burden on the government. The main responsibility is on the government, though. The environment's illness