Essay on Environmental, Hazards and Disasters

Similarly, it may remain confined to a smaller area occurring within a few seconds like hailstorms, tornadoes and dust storm, and it can also have global dimensions such as global warming and depletion of the ozone layer.

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Besides, these changes have different meanings for different people. It depends upon the perspective one takes while trying to understand them. From the perspective of nature, changes are value-neutral. But from the human perspective, these are value-loaded. There are some changes that are desirable and good like the changes of season, ripening of fruits, while there are others like earthquakes, floods and wars that are considered bad and undesirable.

(A) Hazards:

Natural hazards are elements of circumstances in the natural environment that have the potential to cause harm to people or property or both. These are the phenomena that pose a threat to people, structures or economic assests and which may cause a disaster. They can be man made or naturally occurring in our environment. Broadly, hazards can be classified into three categories depending upon the causes.

(i) Natural Hazards:

These are caused by the forces of nature and man has no role to play in such hazards.

i. Earthquakes

ii. Cyclonic storms

iii. Floods

iv. Landslides

v. Volcanic eruptions

vi. Tsunamis

vii. Drought

(ii) Man-Made Hazards:

These are caused by the undesirable activities of man. Such hazards include

i. Explosion

ii. Pollution of air

iii. War and civil strife

iv. Leakage of toxic waste

v. Dam failures

(iii) Socio-natural Hazards:

These are caused by the combined effect of natural forces and misdeeds of man.

i. Frequency of floods, droughts

ii. Strom surge hazards due to destruction of mangroves, are some of the examples

(B) Disasters:

“Disaster is an undesirable occurrence resulting from forces that are largely outside human control. It strikes quickly with little or no warning, which causes or threatens serious disruption of life and property including death and injury to a large number of people, and requires therefore, mobilization of efforts in excess of that which are normally provided by Statutory Emergency Services.”

Hazards and disasters are closely related or sometimes used as synonymous to each other. Hazards are a threat, while disaster is an event. The latter is a calamity or tragedy or a consequence of a hazard.