Environment is defined as ” the aggregate of surrounding things, conditions, or influences such as water, land, air, space and sun ”. To use the word environment alone is to risk confusion with every stretched use from the social environment, cultural environment and cellular environment to molecular environment.
Environmental resources (natural resources ) consist of land resources, water resources and energy mineral resources, energy resources. They provide the raw material and energy for the domestic, agricultural and industrial developmental activities.
Environmental pollution is defined as the introduction by the humans into the environment of harmful concentration of substances or energy liable to cause hazards to human health, harm to living organisms, resources and ecological damage to structure, amenity or interfere with the legitimate use of environment. Environmental pollution is growing with the advancement of human civilization, development and release of pollutants. A pollutant is a physical agent which if found in excess amount in the environment alters the quality of the environment adversely. Pollutants may be metals, organic and inorganic compounds from domestic and industrial wastes or solid waste, radio-active waste from nuclear plants, heat from thermal power plants, gaseous matter like CO, SO2, NO2 etc., Pollutants produced by a variety of human activities enter the environment as emissions to atmosphere or as discharges to water bodies or lands. These pollutants change the natural composition of the environment and adversely affect human beings, animals, plants and material objects.
Engineering is the profession in which the knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences gained by the study, experience and practice, is applied with judgment to develop ways to utilize the materials and forces of nature economically for the benefit of mankind.
Environmental engineering is the branch of engineering that IS concerned in protecting the environment from the potentially adverse impacts of human activity, protecting human populations from the effects of adverse environmental factors and improving the environmental quality for human health and well-being. Environmental engineering is closely associated with other branch of engineering such as civil, chemical and mechanical engineering and with sciences of chemistry, physics and biology. Environmental engineering, today, addresses the problems in the water, air and soil (land) environments.
The primary role of the environmental engineer is to protect the environment from pollution and degradation due to the discharge of the waste from domestic, agricultural and industrial activities.
Since the field of environmental engineering is an inter-disciplinary the environmental engineer should have knowledge in all the basics of engineering and sciences related to environmental engineering, but he/ she need not be expert in each of the areas. He/she is responsible to the engineering works related to the various areas of environmental engineering. An Environmental Engineer can perform the role of environmentalist, but the environmentalist cannot perform the role ,of an environmental engineer. The environmental engineer’s unique role is to build a bridge between science and technology by applying all techniques made available by the modern science and technology.
Environmental Scientists and Environmental Engineers have to take hold of the concept of sustain ability and develop it into practical reality. This can be achieved by the scientists and engineers working together with mutual respect. The ability of engineers to understand the constraints and limitations imposed by the scientists and vice verse is the key to the safer and cleaner environment.
“Sustain” means to prove true to keep alive or . Sustainable development is a process that uses the earth’s resources in a way that does not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Environmental sustainability means any developmental action or project that protects the environment both for people and other living things, which share the earth with people. Sustainability should not be seen as an end itself. ‘Many human advances have not been sustainable in long term; rather mankind has advanced by a series of unsustainable developments. It follows that when we talk sustainability, we should define the time period over which we are measuring sustainability.
Development often utilizes the potential natural resources for human welfare. A very high priority has been accorded to industrial development for speedy economic growth. Such development, however, brings along with a lot of environmental problems. Thus there is always a conflict between industrial development and conservation of environment. The need to balance the values of development and environment, therefore, becomes eminent.
The following simple and direct actions would result sustainable development.
There are several kinds of pollution differentiated on the basis of the nature of the pollutant.
Environmental pollution can be classified as