Rajkumari Sharma Tankha
Till the time each one of us gets worried about deteriorating environment and starts working towards its preservation, nothing much can be achieved, no matter how many times we observe the World Environment Day.
The deteriorating environment does not bode well for anyone. Recent studies have found out that the environmental pollution is a major cause of not just various respiratory diseases but it is a potent cause of cancer as well. It is time we all, each one of us, pull up our socks and start taking care of our surroundings.
What can I do? You will ask. Plenty, I will say. I know you cannot do anything big, but you sure can make small, practical changes in your life that will have significant effect on your own footprints, such as the responsible use of electricity and water, and even making more sensible selections when it comes to the products you use in your home. There are very simple, cost-effective ways following which you can switch to an eco-friendly lifestyle.
To begin with start keeping indoor plants in your homes and offices. Plants not only beautify the interiors, but also act as natural air filters. Plants like Areca Palm, Peace Lily, Song of India and Ferns absorb harmful pollutants from carpets, furniture and electronic equipment. Besides, plants are good for the mind as well. They provide positive psychological impact by reducing stress and anxiety along with improving concentration and memory.
Tips to conserve fuel
Make walking a habit. As much as possible walk, be it going to the market or to your friend’s place in the neighbourhood. Walking is not only a good way to keep your mind and body fit but by doing so you contribute towards minimizing the use of fuel. For going to your place of work, opt for carpool.
Do not fill up the fuel tank of your vehicle unless needed. Also reduce the speed. Try driving at the normal speed of 60kmph.
Keep the engine of your vehicle clean, remove all deposits formed in it.
Do all your cooking at medium or low flame. It will not only retain the essential nutrients in your vegetables but also use less cooking gas.
Tips to conserve electricity
Switch off lights and fans when not in use. Whenever you move out of the room, switch off all fans and lights. During the day, open the window curtains so that you don’t have to use tube lights.
Buy electronic equipment that have energy-saving features. And unplug appliances when not in use, from the main switches.
Switch to LED bulbs. LED bulbs are not only cost-effective; they also last up to 10 times longer than compact fluorescents and even longer than incandescent bulbs.
Install solar panels. The government also gives subsidy on use of solar power. This will not only reduce your electricity bill but also contribute in a big way towards reversing environmental damage.
Tips to conserve water
Keep a jug of water and a few glasses in your drawing room. When the guests come calling they can have as little or as much water as they want. DO not offer glasses filled with water as it leads to a lots of wastage of water as some people will just a have a few sips and leave the rest of water and there is pretty little you can do about it.
Wherever possible, put the drain pipe of your washing machine into the garden or collect that water and use it for watering plants. Similarly, wash vegetables and fruits in pans and not under the tap in running water and use this water for watering plants.
In the washroom, place a one liter bottle in the cistern, it will reduce the volume of water used in each flush. And do not keep the water tap running while you are brushing your teeth or washing your hands or shaving. Better still, use stored water.
Water your garden with a watering can and not a hosepipe. Also water the plants either in the early morning and/or late afternoon as it will reduce evaporation leading to saving water.
Wash only full load of clothes in washing machine. When you wash only a few garments at a time, your washing machine fills up with more water than necessary to get the job done-even on the lowest setting.
Bathe your pets in the garden as this way the water used will directly percolate into the earth, and recharge groundwater.
Those of you who are living on the ground floor must install a rainwater harvesting system in your compound. It doesn’t cost much but will be very helpful in recharging the ground water.