By Taslim Ahammad:
The place we work can affect the environment positively or negatively to a very large extent. Industrialisation, while important for the economic growth and development of a society, can also be detrimental to the environment. Among other things, industrial processes may cause climate change, air, water and soil pollution, health problems, extinction of species and many more. However, it is a legal and moral duty to act in an environmentally responsible manner. Every business is responsible for complying with different rules to minimize the impact that business has had on the environment.
There is a continuous relationship of giving and receiving between business and the environment. The business receives inputs, information and technology from the environment and returns them in the form of output products and services. If these results are accepted by the environment, the environment and business interactions continue, but if they are unacceptable to the environment, firms adapt to environmental requirements and change their processes. Businesses need to look after the interests of consumers, workers, suppliers, etc. The environment also offers threats and opportunities to which business has to counter positively through eco-friendly exchange.
Here are some specific examples of causes the business world damaging the environment: (i) Heating and air condition systems pump greenhouse gas emissions from offices into the atmosphere and use up huge amounts of electricity. Many buildings are not planned to include energy-efficient structures or technology to reduce the amount of heat and air conditioning they use. (ii) Many buildings are built from materials that not come from renewable sources. (iii) Office buildings got huge need for electricity to power lighting, air conditioning, computers, printers and photocopiers. Equipment may be left for 24 hours a day, seven days a week even when no one is working. (iv) Offices consume huge amounts of paper. A large amount of paper waste goes to landfill sites. (v) Also, offices produce a lot of other waste, including equipment like, electronics/ computers, business regularly upgrade their equipment to stay competitive. (vi) Rush-hour driving, traffic jams in towns and cities full of people trying to get to work wasting time and polluting the environment.
Effects on the environment are: (a) Air pollution – Industry is a major cause of air pollution. These pollution can both harm public health and damage the environment by contributing to global phenomena such as climate change, the greenhouse effect, ozone hole and growing desertification. (b) Water pollution – The sources of waste treated or untreated wastewater that is discharged into surface waters are many and various. Wastewater can come from industrial outlets, treatment plants and sewers. (d) Land pollution – Outflow from the fuel and energy industries as well as organisations involving hazardous materials, are the main causes of land contamination. For instance, soil pollution sources are oil refineries and pipelines transporting gas, oil depots, gas stations, garages, metal treatment and coating factories, chemical plants, dry cleaning businesses, printing businesses, the textile industry and sites where dangerous materials are stored. (e) Risky materials – When the hazardous materials are not properly treated, stored, or dealt with, hazardous materials may reason harm to human health, environment, property and business. (f) Solid waste – Solid waste generated if there human activity and characterized by a several different streams, each with different characteristics and components, like, industrial waste, dry waste, and other waste. (g) Pesticides and pest control products – This “pests” include; mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches, fleas, fire ant, mice, and bats. Non-approved pesticides can damage the environment and result in the poisoning of living things and in environmental pollution. (g) Asbestos and harmful-dust – Products that contain asbestos (friable or cement) that is in a state of disintegration may cause the release of asbestos fibers into the air. This can be risky to the environment and may cause human illness such as lung disease. (h) Radiation – Public and environment are at-risk from exposure to radiation, sources include radioactive materials, x-ray machines, and accelerators and non-ionizing radiation, and sources include electrical installations, mobile broadcasting centres and lasers. (i) Noise – Frequent or prolonged experience of loud noises is not only a nuisance, however may cause damage to a person’s physical and mental health.
Many businesses realised that going beyond environmental compliance makes good business sense and can help improve business’s long term success. Here are some ways to mitigating this issue and businesses can protect the environment: (i) reduce energy consumption (ii) reduce all kind of waste (iii) utilise raw materials more efficiently (iv) prevent all kind of pollution (v) cut costs and develop efficiency (vi) reduce risks and ensure complying with the law (vii) boost reputation among customers, suppliers, investors and the community using eco-business solutions (viii) increase employee morale, making it easier to attract, and motivate staff for eco-business strategy (ix) use environmentally-friendly products (x) hire environmental clean-up services (xi) decrease paper waste (xii) use auto power off LED lights, computers and so on (xiii) improve air quality with indoor plants (xiv) set up recycling bins in common areas (xv) reduce travel (xvi) use video conferencing and telecommunication for meeting (xvii) use solar power or wind power (xviii) Work with green-focused partners (xix) use digitised the hiring process.
In addition, encourage and involve all employees to be environmentally responsible through regular training, mentoring and awareness raising activities. Regularly monitor and update business activities to reflect new initiatives and processes that may reduce business impact on the environment both locally, nationally and globally.
There are multiple causes of the demolition of the environment. Business industry is the number one cause in why our environment is slowly becoming less green and fragile. Although industry is important for economic growth, it brings about substantial harm to the environment / us. This is an issue that none of us must not allow to fade away, environment must be something we all must care about and protect.
Chairman, Tourism and Hospitality Management
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University, Gopalganj, Bangladesh