The scientific and technological progress of man has invested him with immense power over nature; rather it has resulted in the reckless use of the power, and endless encroachment of nature which is resulting into a number of buzzwords like acid rain, ozone layer depletion, contamination, environmental pollution, climate change, global warming, rising sea water levels, knowledge explosion and information & communication technology revolution, etc. As man influences his environment, he in turn is influenced by his environment. Each wave of technology creates a set of waste previously unknown by humans: toxic waste, radioactive waste, electronic waste, etc. There are various categories of waste such as food waste, commercial waste, agricultural waste, institutional waste, industrial waste, constructional waste, rubbish, and street sweeping waste. Waste consists of recyclable materials like paper, glass, plastic and metals; toxic substances like pesticide, paints, used medicines and batteries; compostable organic matter like fruits, vegetable and food waste and soiled waste such as disposable syringes, sanitary napkins and blood stained cottons. The generation of waste in Indian cities ranges from 200-870gm/d depending upon the population and the lifestyle of the people. Most modern technological processes produce unwanted byproducts in addition to the desired products, which are known as contamination and pollution. While there is consensus about the severity of environmental degradation taking place worldwide, there is little consensus about what can, and should be done to avert future environmental catastrophe. One of the best ways to help our environment was to educate people to be environmentally conscious as well as environmentally considerate. Although educating adults in our society is beneficial, the best way to initiate change is through the education of our youth. Understanding global environmental issues and taking action to confront them are challenges that need to be addressed not only by educators but also by planners, economists, policy makers, natural and social scientists, and the general public. Awareness is a necessary but not a sufficient element of social change. Effective implementation of the environmental management and conservation programs depends on education, awareness raising and training in the relevant areas. With over a billion people and at least 17 major languages, with poverty and low literacy levels, with approx. 650,000 primary schools, with a rapidly increasing population, the development and environmental challenge is enormous. India stands at 51 in Environmental awareness Index score of 57.
The impact of chemicals can be deadly for both human beings and the environment. There is a lack of information about the health and environmental effects of many chemical substances and about the products in which different types of chemicals are used. Most of the environmental degradation that occurs today is the result of the failure of our society and educational systems to provide citizens with the basic understanding and skills needed to make informed choices about interactions and interrelationships in the environment. The problems of the environment can be solved through environmental literacy. We need to create a classroom atmosphere where students can recognize, discuss and reflect upon their understanding about environment and its problems. If we as educators want to help children obtain extensive knowledge of the environment and problems, our prospective teachers must know more than the students. Recent environmental awareness studies in India do not provide comprehensive data regarding prospective teachers’ (B.Ed. students) awareness, environmental literacy, pedagogical thinking and behavioural practical approach.
The ultimate aim of education and awareness about environment is to formulate a responsible attitude and behavioural approach towards the sustainable development of our planet-earth, an appreciation of its beauty and an assumption of environmental ethics with carrier special responsibility of preparing youth to become well informed, constructive participants in society and capable of developing healthy social relationships. All these findings suggest us and to the government that necessary efforts must be undertaken to provide proper classrooms, library facilities, environment related books in local languages and necessary infrastructure in the form of computers and internet facilities not only to the students studying in schools and colleges but also for the teachers, experts, environmentalists, specialists and general public in urban and rural areas.
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