Nature is a gift to mankind. All of us owe a responsibility to preserve the natural environment and its resources – water, forests, soil and air. However I would like to refute that the best way to do so is imposing penalties and punishments on those responsible for polluting the environment.
Better alternatives to Penalties
There are different ways to face and solve an issue. It is true that environment is fast getting eroded and resources are depleting. Pollution in all its forms reduces the utility of water, air in their natural forms. Water is no more as pure as earlier. Disinfectants are added to make the water drinkable. Poisonous gaseous emissions from vehicles pollute air. It in turn causes acid rain due to pollutants in the moisture forming clouds. Ozone layer that protects earth from sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation is getting depleted. The root cause or the ultimate solution may be to stop felling trees and growing more and more trees. The pure oxygen can protect the ozone layer, as well as the trees prevent soil erosion and preserve the water table. All the nations need to cooperate with one another to solve the problem. Enforcing norms on people by punishing them does not ensure effective participation by all nations.
Creating awareness is a better solution than imposing fines. People are sensible enough to act according to the need of hour. Once they know the repercussions of deforestation, people would automatically refrain from cutting trees. When people come to know of the disastrous consequences of throwing polythene all over the places, they stop doing so.
Secondly, fines and punishments create a negative image of the cause itself. It is a noble thought to preserve environment. However, people would not prefer to be watched by authorities, caught for driving a car emitting pollutants and punished for the same. People start viewing it as enforcement rather than a good cause. This reduces the willingness to cooperate, and any cooperation arises out of fear for punishment or fines.
Authorities have a right to make laws and impose punishment for the welfare of the society. Certain things should be managed without fines or punishments. However, the existing laws are sufficiently creating awareness and are also adhered to by people. For example, laws prohibiting from felling trees in government lands/ estates are saving forests to some extent. There is already some action taken in this regard. Biodegradable material is used in making most of the items, polythene is not encouraged and Euro II norms ensure less pollution from vehicles. The world is not a school, the people are not its students, for the governments to create rules and impose punishment for not adhering to rules.
Thus enforcing preservation of natural environment by imposing penalties on those responsible for damaging it might not serve the purpose.