World Day against Child Labour 2014


Today, throughout the world, around 215 million children work, many full-time. They do not go to school and have little or no time to play. Many do not receive proper nutrition or care. More than half of them are exposed to the worst forms of child labour such as work in hazardous environments, slavery or other forms of forced labour.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) launched the World Day against Child Labour in 2002 to focus attention on the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it. Each year on June 12, the World Day against Child Labour brings together governments, employers and workers’ organisations, civil society as well as millions of people around the world to highlight the plight of child labourers and what can be done to help them.
To some children, the main obstacles to education are not school availability, cost or quality but rather poverty, economic insecurity and discrimination. Dropout from school is one of the major causes of child labour. The school dropout scenario in India is extremely high as over 80 million children are not completing the full cycle of elementary education while eight million are out of school over a period of years, according to a UNICEF report.
In Odisha, the dropout rate at the primary education level is 32 per cent and it is 52 per cent among Scheduled Tribe children. The dropout rate increases cumulatively as it proceeds towards higher levels. At the upper primary level, the dropout rate is 49.1 per cent and among Scheduled Caste children it is 55 per cent and among ST children 69.5 per cent. It is found that the overwhelming rate of dropouts has been due to pressure on children to work.
Education is a human right and a key factor to reduce poverty and child labour.  Around the world, large numbers of children are engaged in paid or unpaid domestic work in the home of a third party or employer. These children can be particularly vulnerable to exploitation. Their work is often hidden from the public eye; they may be isolated and may be working far away from their homes. Stories of the abuse of children in domestic work are all too common.
All non-school going children are child workers in one form or the other. Child labour proscribed under international law falls into three categories: (1) The unconditional worst forms of child labour, which are internationally defined as slavery, trafficking and other forms of forced labour; (2) Labour performed by a child who is under the minimum age specified for that kind of work, and that is thus likely to impede the child’s education and full development; (3) Labour that jeopardises the physical, mental or moral wellbeing of a child, either because of its nature or because of the conditions in which it is carried out, known as “hazardous work”.
Legislative and policy reforms are required to ensure elimination of child labour. A number of policy initiatives and programmes have been undertaken in India over the last decade with the basic objective of dealing with the problem of the rapidly increasing number of child workers. The formulation of a new National Child Labour Policy, the enactment of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986, the setting up of a Task Force on child labour, the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the like have all formed parts of this process. Corresponding initiatives were taken in the related area of education where a new education policy was formulated which incorporated a separate component for working children.
Children have the right to be protected from all forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence. There is a need to adopt and enforce laws and improve the implementation of policies and programmes to protect children from all forms of violence and exploitation, whether at home, in school or other institutions, workplace or in the community.
The Constitution of India, through various articles enshrined in the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of State Policy as: No child below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment (Article 24); The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age six to 14 years (Article 21A); The State shall direct its policy towards securing that the health and strength of workers, men and women and the tender age of children are not abused and that they are not forced by economic necessity to enter vocations unsuited to their age and strength (Article 39E).
As per the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986,  any person who employs any child in contravention of the provision of Section 3 of the Act is liable for a jail term which shall not be less than three months but which may extend to two years or with fine which shall not be less than Rs 20,000 but which may extend to Rs 50,000 or with both.
In order to stop child labour, the Government of Odisha has passed some rules. One of the important rules is the Orissa Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Rules, 1994. Children’s development and the overall eradication of child labour problem depend on active public-private partnership, proper government policies and programmes for eliminating poverty and unemployment and free basic facilities and education to poor people in the society.
There are many solutions to stop child labour. Income of the families should be increased and education for all children irrespective of their economic and social backgrounds should be ensured. That helps children learn skills and earn a livelihood.
At the international level, different organisations are alsoworking to eradicate child labour, but still there are lots of efforts needed to create an environment which will be free from child labour. There is a need to take steps in this direction so that all children get free education and live a healthy life. This will be beneficial to the individual family as well as whole society. The family is the basic unit of the society and as such should be strengthened. It is entitled to receive comprehensive protection and support. The primary responsibility for the protection, upbringing and development of children rests with the family. However, many parents, on account of poverty, send their children to work in order to supplement their income.
All social institutions should respect children’s rights and render appropriate assistance to parents, families, legal guardians and other caregivers so that children can grow in a safe and stable environment and in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding. Besides, considerable numbers of children live without parental support, such as orphans, children living on the street, children affected by trafficking and economic exploitation. Special measures should be taken to educate such children.
Eradication of poverty and reduction of disparities must, therefore, be a key objective of development efforts. Ultimately, a child-friendly learning environment is required, in which they feel safe, are protected from abuse and encouraged to learn. Some of the child labour problems will be solved by offering better educational facility for such children.
In 2010, the international community adopted a roadmap for achieving elimination of the worst forms of child labour by 2016, which stressed that child labour is an impediment to children’s rights and a barrier to development. In August 2012, the Government of Jharkhand approved a State Action Plan. This policy framework envisages a Child Labour-Free State by 2016 and details the vision of the State and its plan towards achieving the elimination of child labour and ensuring the right to education to every child. Similar policy framework in other States can eradicate child labour in our country.


Odisha’s coastal ecosystems under increasing threat


Odisha’s coastal ecosystems under increasing threat
Over three billion people in the world depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. Oceans contain nearly 2 lakh identified species, but actual numbers may lie in the millions. Oceans absorb about 30 per cent of carbon dioxide produced by humans, buffering the impacts of global warming. However approximately 40 per cent of the oceans are heavily affected by human activities, including acidification, pollution and loss of coastal habitats.
The United Nations has proclaimed June 8 as the World Oceans Day to raise awareness of the plight of the oceans and the marine ecosystems they contain. This year’s theme is “Together we have the power to protect the ocean”.
The oceans — their temperature, chemistry, and life — drive global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind. Our rainwater, drinking water, weather, climate, coastlines, much of our food, and even the oxygen in the air we breathe, are all ultimately provided and regulated by the sea. Oceans and seas have been vital conduits for trade and transportation.
However, oceans and coastal regions are coming under rising environmental pressures. The oceans have become 26 per cent more acidic since the start of the Industrial Revolution and continue to acidify at an unprecedented rate, threatening marine ecosystems, aquaculture and the societies that rely on them. As ocean acidity increases, its capacity to absorb carbo dioxide from the atmosphere decreases. This decreases the ocean’s role in moderating climate change.
Our continued burning of fossil fuels is increasing the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Most of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere ultimately ends up in oceans. The increasing amount of carbon dioxide in oceans is causing ocean acidification. For millions of years, oceans have maintained a relatively stable acidity level. It’s within this steady environment that the rich and varied web of life in seas has arisen and flourished. But research shows that this ancient balance is being undone by a rapid drop in surface pH that could have devastating global consequences.
Ocean acidification may adversely impact some plankton species, and their loss would ripple through food webs to impact larger animals like fish. Corals are also very susceptible to the impacts of ocean acidification. Ocean acidification will affect ocean ecosystems and therefore food supplies, lead to the death of coral reefs and thus expose coasts to greater storm surge and wave action. Ocean acidification has the potential to cause widespread changes in marine ecosystems which may eventually disrupt the ocean goods and services we depend on.
Biologists are now coming to realise that the rising acid levels in the ocean can affect many other forms of sea life as well. If nothing is done to help curb ocean acidification, its negative impacts may be felt on global economy. Besides, many ocean pollutants are released into the environment from coastlines. Nitrogen-rich fertilisers applied by farmers inland, for example, end up in local streams, rivers and oceans.
Researchers are just beginning to study the effects of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems. But all signs indicate that unless humans are able to control and eventually eliminate fossil fuel emissions, ocean organisms will find themselves under increasing pressure to adapt to their habitats’ changing chemistry or perish.
The Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) monitoring initiatives has improved the capability to assess oceanographic conditions, making it possible to detect changes on high temporal and spatial resolution and assess the effectiveness of policies adopted. To coordinate international efforts to document the status and progress of ocean acidification in open-ocean and coastal environments and to understand its drivers and impacts on marine ecosystems, it will be necessary to develop a coordinated multidisciplinary multinational approach for observations.
India has a coastline of 7,500 km and 2,000 km wide exclusive economic zone. The coastline supports almost 30 per cent of its human population. The Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea are rich fishing grounds. Various types of pollution cause degradation of the natural quality of the coastal environments. The causes of coastal pollution are population growth, urbanisation and industrialisation. The polluting sources mainly are domestic waste, industrial effluents and agricultural runoff.
Successful management of the seacoast depends on scientific exploration and exploitation of the living and nonliving resources in coastal waters. To conserve resources by controlling their depletion and regulate development activities, the Government of India has enacted the Environmental (Protection) Act 1986. The Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification 1991 was issued under Sections-3(i) and 3(ii) (v) of the Environment (Protection) Act. Under this notification, the coastal stretches from High Tide Line to 500m towards land and from High Tide Line to Low Tide Line towards sea are identified as Coastal Regulation Zone.
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has issued a draft notification, the Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Notification 2007, under the Environmental (Protection) Act 1986. The objective of the notification is protection and sustainable development of the coastal stretches and marine environment through sustainable coastal zone management practices based on sound, scientific principles taking into account the vulnerability of the coast to natural hazards, sustainable livelihood for local communities and conservation of the ecologically and culturally significant coastal resources.
Odisha has a coastline of 480 km. Uses of the coastline are generally considered under four categories: resource exploitation (including fisheries, forestry); infrastructure (including transportation, ports, harbours); tourism and recreation; and conservation and protection of biodiversity. The coastal ecosystems are now highly disturbed and very much threatened, encountering problems like pollution, siltation, erosion, flooding, storm surges, uncontrolled coastal developments and other activities due to ever-expanding human settlements.
The major issues are coastal pollution, encroachment of coastal lands and over exploitation of coastal resources. Coastal pollution is gradually emerging as an important issue in the State. Domestic wastes and industrial wastes, fertilisers and pesticide residues reach coastal and marine waters through rivers, creeks, bays, etc.
There is a need for assessment and periodic monitoring of coastal and marine environment including changes in land use (coastal zone), ambient air quality and water quality (coastal and marine waters). The Government of India has constituted the National Coastal Zone Management Authority, which has the responsibility for taking measures for protecting and improving the quality of the coastal environment and preventing, abating and controlling environmental pollution in coastal areas. At the State level, an Odisha Coastal Zone Management Authority has been constituted, the primary responsibility of which is to take adequate measures for protecting and improving the quality of the coastal environment. The Odisha State Pollution Control Board acts as the regulating authority for implementation of the Coastal Zone Notification.
Despite the huge challenges facing the world’s ocean, we can achieve a healthy ocean by our collective effort. Awareness is highly needed to protect the marine ecosystem.



Urban control, bioaesthetic planning needed
Urban development challenges in many countries are multifaceted and appear to be overwhelming at times. They include insufficient provision of infrastructure, rapidly growing slums, urban sprawl and the associated degradation of urban and peri-urban ecosystems. Many of these challenges are aggravated by global phenomena like climate change. Temperatures are rising, rainfall patterns shifting, glaciers and snow melting, and the global mean sea level is rising. We expect that these changes will continue, and that extreme weather events resulting in hazards such as floods and droughts will become more frequent and intense.
The World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated on June 5 to raise awareness about unique development challenges and successes regarding a range of environmental problems, including climate change, waste management, unsustainable consumption, degradation of natural resources and extreme natural disasters.
Urbanisation changes the climate of a place. This initiates a feedback loop that affects inhabitants’ way of life and use of energy resources. For example, the heat island that follows high density urban development accelerates the use of air-conditioning equipment which demands more electricity and contributes to further warming-up of the city environment.
Currently, cities suffer from severe environmental problems ranging from pollution, congestion, excessive waste, etc. Paying attention to the environmental impacts of growth is critical for provision of adequate housing, energy, water, sanitation and mobility needs in a manner that does not cause major depletion of natural resources or endanger future generations.
It is very likely that most of the warming since the mid -20th century is due to the observed increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations as a result of emissions from human activities. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has recognised the goal to limit the global mean temperature increase.  Even if policies and efforts to reduce emissions prove effective, some climate change is inevitable; therefore, strategies and actions to adapt to its impacts are highly needed.
The environment of the city of Bhubaneswar has been degraded due to different human activities. The effects of climate change have been observed since last few years in Bhubaneswar. It has been found to be excessive heat in summer both during day and night .The temperature in summer is ranging in most of the days around 40 degree Celsius, which not only affects the health and comfort of the people but also demands more energy. The number of rainy days has decreased, and the city receives average 1,550 mm of rainfall per year. Most of the rainfall is due to cyclone than monsoon. The groundwater level has decreased by one meter in major areas of the city. In rainy season, if high intensity rainfall occurs for some time, urban flooding is seen in different parts of the city like Acharya Bihar, Shastri Nagar, Old Town, etc. The stagnant water gets polluted and creates environmental hazards.
There are 10 major natural drains running west to east of Bhubaneswar. Some of these finally join the Ganguanallah. The entire city has not been covered with storm water drains. Encroachment of natural drains by construction, dumping of waste material by people making the storm water drains inefficient result in blocking and chocking of drains. These are the reasons of urban flooding in Bhubaneswar.
The different sources of air pollution in Bhubaneswar are small-scale industries, motor vehicles, etc. The Odisha State Pollution Control Board identified 88 industries in Bhubaneswar, out of which 16 are air polluting and 34 are both air and water polluting. Bhubaneswar also suffers air pollution from the domestic front. Though LPG is the most-used fuel in the city, in the slum areas people use firewood, cow dung, kerosene and coal contributing to air pollution. It can be expected that the air quality of the area will move from bad to worse if sufficient precautions are not taken. Besides, the city generates a huge quantity of solid wastes. After collection of the wastes from different wards, they are transported to open dumping yards situated at different places in and around the city. No processing of solid wastes is done before their disposal; hence it degrades the environment.
 A detailed air quality analysis of Bhubaneswar is to be done to identify the most polluting and hazardous industrial units. Industries in and around the area are to be advised to instal and operate electrostatic precipitator to control particulate pollutants. Industries should be directed to strictly observe pollution control norms. The city should be equipped with a sufficient number of auto emission testing centres where the petrol and diesel-driven vehicles could be tested and certified.  As far as possible, the coal supply for domestic use is to be replaced with LPG. Green belt development and afforestation should be encouraged which may act as sink for air pollutants.
Urban control in Bhubaneswar has to be operated at three levels, the periphery, the Master Plan and architectural control.  Bioaesthetic planning is closely connected with town planning. In Bhubaneswar, there are urban forests with different tress, green belt in the periphery, natural drains, rivers and lakes. Due to disorderly cinstructions, many of the drainage channels and water bodies have been blocked. This has to be avoided staggering the sitting of houses in such a manner that the natural drainage channels and water bodies remain intact.
Trees should be carefully chosen with due regard to colours of their flowers, beauty of foliage and shape of crown. In addition to utilitarian and aesthetic aspects, trees in city areas constitute an effective buffer against dust and noise and also act as windbreaks. The trees will not only modify the climate but also enhance their architectural appeal by presenting a foil of texture, colour and form by way of contrasts. Footpaths, which are provided at the sides for pedestrians, have to be shaded by rows of trees. For pedestrians, a multiple row of trees with very heavy deciduous foliage is required. In summer, the trees would provide shade and in winter the deciduous trees will permit the sun’s rays to pass.
The areas vulnerable to annual flooding should be earmarked as the catchment’s detention areas. During the off-flooding period, the stagnant water is to be drained off to the nearby water channels with preliminary treatment.
Bhubaneswar’s public transportation system is very weak. Peoples use their own vehicles and depend on auto rickshaws to travel to different parts of the city. A mass transportation system should be introduced which will reduce the fuel consumption and traffic congestion. Dependencies on fossil fuels should be reduced. People should be encouraged to use bicycles, and bicycle tracks should be constructed. 
There should not be any dumping yard inside the city for solid waste disposal. The wastes should be disposed in sanitary landfill. The storm water drains should be cleaned regularly. Encroachment of natural drains should also be cleared. Wetlands and water bodies like lakes, ponds should not be encroached, and they should be protected properly. Rainwater harvesting should be encouraged to increase the level of groundwater. 
Developing a climate-responsible master plan will prevent the environmental hazards. Master Plans and Comprehensive Development Plans (CDPs) need to incorporate climate change considerations. The plans should contain proper green space for plantation. Components of land-use plan including zoning, FAR, setback, etc., should be implemented effectively for sustainable development.
Sustainability is not only about town planning architectural strategies and building solutions; it is not only about environmental processes and management systems. Sustainability is about the way people live. Everything individuals do in their lives has an impact on the environment. The choices of food, housing, entertainment, work and mobility, all directly or indirectly affect the environment.