I vividly remember my beloved teacher Prof B A Mukhdomi teaching Atmospheric Physics, sitting on chair, hardly could stand in lecture hall, facing acute health complication and left for heavenly abroad during the semester. Nonetheless the enthusiasm and passion of Prof Mukhdomi for teaching was so meticulous that I wish to have a fraction of that. Really a good teacher is like a candle, which consumes itself, to light the way for others. Being favorite, having faith, handing over his typed lecture notes to me only, wished to locate his family, though living in close proximity of Naseembagh, could not make it till time. Changes observed in climate since the early 20th century (after full industrial revolution) are primarily driven by human activities particularly burning fuel, which increases heat-trapping greenhouse gas levels in Earth’s atmosphere and thus raising Earth’s average surface temperature. This human-produced temperature increase is commonly referred to as Global Warming, which is frequently used interchangeably with the term Climate Change. Most of the impact of humans on the environment revolves around the need for energy production. Atmospheric Physics provides a basis for understanding the dynamic interactions between the atmosphere and the oceans and for the study of weather and climate change. This understanding is essential to stewardship of the environment for addressing problems like air pollution and for dealing with natural hazards like floods.
From the last decade, scientists across the globe are developing nanomaterials that can efficiently use carbon dioxide from the air, capture toxic pollutants from water and degrade solid waste into useful products. With the better catalysts, better kinds of tires, smooth roads and lighter materials, nanotechnology can offer and address many issues of climate change. The light weight materials lower the amount of fuel needed for transportation (thus reducing the emission of CO2), efficient electronic devices use very less electrical energy and fuels themselves can burn cleaner due to better efficiency. How to pull excess CO2 out of the atmosphere and convert it into useful products, many groups are working even within the country. Recently, few researchers developed a nano carbon dioxide harvester that uses water and sunlight to convert atmospheric carbon dioxide into methanol, which can be employed as an engine fuel, a solvent, an antifreeze agent and a diluent of ethanol. Made by wrapping a layer of modified graphene oxide around spheres of copper, zinc oxide and magnetite, the material looks like a golf ball, captures CO2 more efficiently than conventional catalysts and can be readily reused. Nanosensors are at the forefront to mitigate the crises of climate change, monitor soil and invisible enemies like caronovirus. Another victim of industrialization, growth and misdeeds of Earth’s inhabitants is water, with numerous types and amount of pollutants that are added up to the water bodies unethically. The idea behind celebrating World Environment Day every year is to highlight the importance of the environment and to remind people that nature should not be taken for granted. It is celebrated across the globe to respect and acknowledge everything that the environment has given us. On this day the young generation should take the pledge that we will protect it for the future generations and we teachers have an obligation to be the role model.
( The author is professor at the Physics department at National Institute of Technoology-NIT Srinagar. Views are his own)