Posted in Environment

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There is so much talk about new energy sources such as solar power. Could the manufacturing process of the solar power panels be entirely environment-friendly when the cells cannot be destroyed. The solar panels are made of toxic chemicals such as arsenic which find their way to landfills on decommissioning. Solar power, the end product, could be energy efficient and economic but what about the hidden costs. What happens to millions and millions of lithium batteries we dispose off. Are green buildings truly safe and nontoxic. A quick recheck into chemical emission from in and out of the structures may speak of a different story. The eco-friendly green structures with glass facade may be energy saving bringing in daylight and cutting short our electricity bills, but what is the cost we pay by way of exposure to chemical compounds that the building materials are composed of. Glass specifications may demand a matching support system. Glass may be sustainable and least toxic though. But is the effort worthwhile as against conventional concrete and cement structure. So much is spoken about desalination. Many view it as a problem solver with decreasing rainfall. Desalination of sea water removes salinity from the water by chemical process. This water then is recyclable including for consumption purposes. Nations have desalination plants pumping in water from their territorial waters, well within their boundaries, demarcated from international waters. What happens when salts get removed on repeated chemical processes? Desalinated water later undergoes further treatments of various levels fit for different types of consumption. The untreated water may be released to civic bodies for upkeep of public parks etc. The treated water filtered to specified degree of purification is certified potable. However, as the salt from the sea water close to shoreline gets desalinated, the residual salt content adds to the territorial waters which may make it super-salty than before. This extremely salty sea water is contained within a nation’s oceanic boundaries, by international maritime agreements. The salt mounds on desalination pile up within the territorial waters. With increased concentration over time, the salinity of this coastal sea water could rise to a level unsustainable for marine life in that geographic region. Ecology collapses. However, now technology keeps updating quick and the processes get more refined and superior by which minimal damage is accrued, nevertheless the build-up of salinity in a nation’s territorial waters as a result of desalination cannot be completely eliminated. Even wind energy has it pros and cons. The windmill blades are non bio-degradable as well like the solar panels we use for solar power. Imagine landfills over landfills filled by used and defunct solar panels and windmill fan blades. The power from the windmill turbines is of course not environmentally hazardous. Probably windmill energy could be the purest form of energy produced by humans. Dams and reservoirs dry up rivers and their courses as salinity from sea water enters land via arid low level deltas during monsoons. This can play havoc with fertile strips of land making cultivation and native vegetation unsustainable. No way can we substitute cleared primary/secondary forests with afforestation in new tracts. There is a factor called soil strength and composition. Native flora and fauna are specific to geographic locations. We cannot just like take over elephant corridors and plant alien vegetation species in river banks by way of substitution. Nature does not work that way. Nothing can be right when we go against nature. We the humankind calculate the short term gains and forego the long term benefits. Seamless transition from one energy source to another is next to impossible. Hybrid interluding phase precedes a total transfer. Almost nothing that goes against nature comes free. We will have to foot a hefty bill one way or other.