International Conference on Plants &
National Botanical Research
Institute, Lucknow, India
November 26-30, 1996
The problem of environmental degradation is becoming a progressively complex global issue, threatening the well-being and future of mankind, by undermining the life support system of our planet. An urgent paradigm shift is necessary to promote sustainable development by preventing pollution of air, water, and soil. We have to halt over-exploitation of nature by promoting judicious use of natural resources and by taking stringent measures to conserve biodiversity. To address the complex challenges posed by the environmental problems news policy initiatives based on sound scientific principles are required. In this context a proper understanding of plant environment relationship is critical for food security and to meet basic human needs and aspirations of growing populations globally. The International Conference on Plants and Environmental Pollution after extensive deliberations recommends:
While the widespread and insiduous nature of atmospheric pollution and its hazards to human health are known since as early as industrial revolution, there is now growing evidence that crop fields are also adversely affected causing a serious decline in food production and consequent economic losses. This threat has hitherto remained largely overlooked. In this respect, the threat posed by increasing levels of tropospheric ozone, due to its rural bias, is indeed quite alarming. It is, therefore, recommended that a national and global monitoring network be established and long term research programs be intiated.
While pollution control at source and the use of clean technology should continue to be accorded highest priority for reducing environmental pollution, the role of plants in the abatement of pollution and in aesthetic improvement of the environment should receive adequate attention. Efforts should continue, to create green belts on sound scientific principles as a complementary measure for pollution abatement.
Heavy metal pollution of soil is a relatively undefined phenomenon, leading to irreversable deterioration of ecosystems. It may also result in the build-up of metal toxins in plants that will impact on food webs, endangering animal and human health. It is, therefore, recommended that the soil quality be given the same level of environmental recognition as accorded to water and air quality.
Many of the modern agricultural activities are posing adverse impact on the environment, particularly through the use of excessive agricultural chemicals. It is, therefore, recommended that environmental research and education in all agricultural education and training programs be given high priority for promoting sustainable agriculture.
While there is now strong evidence of global climate change, there is a poor understanding of its implications at regional and local levels. Systematic scientific efforts are needed to ascertain the impacts of impending climate change on biodiversity and on socio-economic aspects across the wide range of Indian climatic zones.
Increasing emphasis on environmental education is necessary to promote greater environmental awareness among politicians, administrators, decisionmakers, and, to transfer the fruits of research to grassroot level, through public participation.