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Globalization Impact on Environment

Globalization is a process of integration and interaction among the people of a different nation. Globalization impacts the environment which led to global warming. MNC's release their waste into the sea, the soil absorbs harmful chemicals and affects the ecosystem. Most of the developing countries invite developed countries to invest and remove global barriers and to generate employment but face negative impacts.

The Rapid development of the emerging countries over the years has also led to major emitters of Green House Gases. Climate change is the main environmental problem it has connectivity through the greenhouse gas emission. MNC's play a role in social, cultural & political issues; the growing trend of MNC's has led the international law to think about CSR- Corporate Social Responsibility the most important aspect of CSR is the environmental issue. Corporate environmental responsibility (CER)is to create awareness about the environmental impact and carbon footprint on natural resources.

"Where globalization means, as it so often does, that the rich and powerful now have new means to further enrich and empower themselves at the cost of the power and weaker, we have a responsibility to protest in the name of universal freedom." - - By Nelson Mandela.

Globalization refers to how the world has become more connected economically, politically, socially and culturally over time. Through globalization Trade, ideas, people, technology, disease, services were shared across the world. The standard of living changed; countries became interdependent. The financial status of the developing and under-developing countries increased. The developed countries brought a new era into the lives of people.

After World War -I, World War II, The Great Depression, and ending the regime of the Nazi. The United Nations, NATO, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and other global organisations. These organisations were formed to help to bring peace, stability and economic prosperity to the world. By the globalization IMF, WB helped in cross-border transactions in goods and services, to keep the flow of capital in the international market which helps in the growing economy of the nation, the interdependency of the countries worldwide.

Globalization is not reversible we need to learn how we change its negative impact and implement them to make our world a happy and prosperous place to live eliminating all environmental, national security and humankind issues. Through this Article, I would like to throw the light on the environmental issue of Globalization.

Impact of Globalization on Environment

Globalization - Act of globalizing "; from the noun "global "meaning "About or involving the whole world ", "worldwide "; "universal "(Oxford English Dictionary).
According to the WHO Globalization can be defined as" the increased interconnectedness and interdependence of peoples and countries. It is generally understood to include two interrelated elements: the opening of international borders to increasingly fast flows of goods, services, finance, people, and ideas; and the changes in institutions and policies at national and international levels that facilitate or promote such flows[1]."

People are trading goods as long as they have been around. In the 1st century trading of luxury products started from China to the European continent-Rome. They travelled for thousands of miles along the silk road. Trade stopped being regional or local but now it was global. Silk was the most luxurious good, later species were added to the intercontinental trade between Asia and Europe.

Many middlemen were involved to get the goods to their destination. Silk Roads were dominated by the two great emperors, most of the time trade was interrupted by the local enemies of Rome or China. Silk Road eventually closed because of the fall of the emperors they were blamed for the closure. But later during the medieval period - (The Mongols) the route was started again. It kept on rising and falling as per the need of the nation[2].

7th-15th Century- Islam was the new religion spreading in all the direction, the founder of Islam the Prophet Mohammed, was famously a merchant. Muslim traders dominated the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean trade. The spices were traded the chief among them were the Cloves, nutmeg, and mace along with silk, they also remained as a luxury product.
15-18th Century- During this period Europe introduced potatoes, chocolate, coffee, and tomatoes to the world.

The prices of the species fell. By the end of the 18th century, Great Britain has started to dominate the world through the establishment of the British Empire and their innovation like Steam Engine, Industrial weaving machines, etc. The Era of the first industrial revolution started.

The 1914 outbreak of World War- I Everything was destroyed war was replaced by trade, countries closed their borders, hundreds of thousands of civilians died as collateral damage. Monetary market breakdown. The global economy got affected. Another world war followed in 1939-1945. By the end of World War II, trade as a percentage of world GDP has fallen to 5%.

In the 19th century Through the third industrial revolution world witnessed a huge change in the global market. To move barriers from trade and commerce introduced to the new technology which made communication easier and availability of a product, increase in demand of services, helped underdeveloped and developing country generating employment increased the financial growth of the country. As globalization has its pros and cons depending upon the type of situation of the country.

Environmental Issue

It is noticed in most cases that developed countries use the developing countries and underdeveloped countries for their benefits for example, in these countries, the MNC's get cheap labour and availability of resources in abundance so they use them to increase the profit of their company this lead to affect the developed countries because they have skilled labour and which are available to them at the high price so they search for low price labour and make them skilled in the field.

As through the globalization we get interdependent to each other so if the financial growth of one country gets affected the other face it as well Globalization has a huge impact on the environment both in positive and negative aspects. But globalization helped to increase the major environmental damage that we are facing. Today some of the national, international policies have been made to reduce the effects of globalization on the environment.
  • Increased greenhouse gas emission
    Climate change is the main environmental problem it has connectivity through the greenhouse gas emission -excessive retention of solar energy in the atmosphere due to accumulation of certain gases, particularly the CO2.

    The main source of CO2 emission is the industrial production, transportation, and the deforestation but they are also considered as the source of development in the 20th century, and particularly in the recent times.

    Transportation through sea links also increases the chances of oil spills which affects the water bodies and the marine animals 1,000 large fish and small fish die because of sea pollution.
    The developed countries are the main players of global industrialization and the biggest polluter has the biggest share in the GHG emission example- the United States is responsible for around 20% of global GHG[3].

    The Rapid development of the emerging countries over the years has also led to major emitters of GHG. The developing countries heartfully thanks to globalization often putting the environment at the cost of making a profit. The greatest example China whose quench for thirst for energy is unbeatable it opens a new coal-fired power plant every week though, coal is the cheapest and most abundant fossil fuel and the most polluting one. China is considered the world's largest emitter of CO2 emissions. But it manages drastic renewable energy programs. Countries like India, the US, the UK, and some of the countries are trying to reach 100% renewable energy by 2030.
  • Globalization encourages Deforestation.
    Logging and burning of the trees reduce the volume of the CO2 that plants convert into oxygen. Converting the rainforest/oxygen house into the farmland or to the concrete jungle for the production of the goods and fulfilling the demand in the market by one way or the other almost twice the size of Paris every day is converted into the farmland for the agricultural purpose especially in the developing countries. For instance, in Brazil a few years ago much of its agriculture was export-oriented. Brazilian soy exports to China rocketed from 15,000 to 6 million tonnes.

    The poorest region is most affected by global warming. By 2060, drought could render 90 million hectares in sub-Saharan Africa sterile. Some 1.8 billion people could lack water in the next 70 years. Central Asia, northern China, and the Andes are, particularly at risk.

    Global warming is also one of the causes of an increase in the number of natural disasters such as hurricanes, storms, floods, and earthquakes, melting of glaciers increasing the sea level. Parts of the coastal region are in the utmost danger. Due to the temperature rise the living species may disappear in the nearby time such as penguins, snow leopards, Dolphins, Whales, Polar Bear is declared as endangered species. It feels bad to know this beautiful creature has to pay for their life's just because of human activities and will leave an indelible marking of the world's ecosystem.
  • Increase of fishing in the water bodies
    Overfishing has emphasized the oceans of some fish species. Overfishing is done due to the rise in the global demand not just for consumption but for medicinal use also.
    Mediterranean bluefin tuna has met the same fate, delicacy in Japan is threatened with extinction from overfishing. In Denmark on Faroe Island, 1400 dolphins have been killed hunting of dolphins and whales have increased on this island earlier they use to hunt dolphins for their consumption but now illegal marketing has increased the hunting.

    According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN),22% of the world's mammals are threatened with extinction, as well as 24% of the world's snake species 31% of the world's amphibians, and 35% of the world's bird[4].

Flora is also at great risk

The rising demand for exotic raw materials and farm products is affordable to consumers at a reasonable price in developed countries. Rising demand slowly decreases the availability of the plants. The demand for teak wood for the furniture and the other high quality of wood is on the list of the threatened species category.

The increasing need for paper leading the way for deforestation, urbanization is also a reason which led to wiping out the flora and fauna from the earth's surface. Forest in Latin America and Sub -Saharan Africa are also being ravaged. As total damages to the ecosystem would result in an annual loss of USD 68 Billion to the world economy.

The World wildlife fund for nature (WWF) predicts that by 2030 if nothing changes the humanity will exhaust annually twice the resource produced by the planet every year.

Globalization has a great effect on our lifestyle. It has made our life faster easy access to technology, improved innovation, and communication, it has also brought people of different cultures together. Apart from the cross border through which the countries developed, it led to a strong economic channel for the state. This also led to great concern for the environment because every good thing comes with some negative impact.

Also due to globalization world came together which led to an increase in demand for the product as to fulfil those demands production needs to be done in a short period. The most impacted element was the natural resource because it takes time to form a natural resource. But in a short period, it gets consumed so the scarcity or we can say, some species have listed in the endangered species considered as rare consumption in huge demand has seriously impacted the ecological cycle.

Earlier people use to consume those products which were available to them locally but globalization as brought people closer they share their culture, food, traditions. The demand for the product from the international border increased which led to an increase in transportation. The amount of fuel which is consumed for global transportation causes pollution and cause noise and air pollution, as well as to make a way for huge cargos with the shortest route has impacted the landscape of some continent. To avoid traffic in such route several other routes are constructed. Transportation also stressed the need for a non-renewable sources of energy i.e., gasoline. The gases released from the aircraft also led to the depletion of the ozone layer apart from the increasing greenhouse effect[5].

All the industrial wastage is either dumped in the ocean or the soil. That release harmful chemicals make the land infertile, Barren to grow crops or plants. The underwater organism gets killed the major example, is oil which is spilt from the leaking containers or the pipelines is harmful and which is very difficult to clean.

Recent scenario from September 2021

  • The Gulf of Mexico is covered with a tangle of pipes, wells, and other energy infrastructure, many of them are no longer used, as a result of generation of oil extraction from these unused pipelines, the oil spilt which was used by Talos, the former holder of which was on the offshore lease in the area. Coast Guard are asked to clean the spill but when the investigation was conducted and questioned Talos they stated that the spilt pipeline was not owed by them[6].
  • In July 2020, the oil tanker MV Wakashio reported to be carrying 4,000 metric tons of oil, ran aground on a coral reef on the island of Mauritius's south coast, 1000 metric tons of fuel leaked from the cracked vessel into the Indian ocean which led polluting surrounding beaches and lagoons. In another case, the huge diesel oil spill in Russia's Arctic north polluted a large freshwater lake and risk to arctic ocean up to 12 miles. These types of disasters are huge risks in this modern times.[7]

    Plastic is the major toxic pollutant as it is the non-biodegradable product it is immensely used for packaging and preserving goods that are to be exported this lead to increase in plastic use and cause environmental pollution.

    Globalization is all about competition and sustainment. Private companies should start using eco-friendly techniques which is economically feasible. MNC's play a role in social, cultural & political issues; the growing trend of MNC's has led the international law to think about CSR- Corporate Social Responsibility the most important aspect of CSR is the environmental issue. In the case of environmental damages, they should be responsible for it and should compensate for such damages.

    The corporation has adopted an Environmental Management System (EMS) that requires informed consensus on environmental management objectives and policies that are based on the good understanding and the roles &responsibilities of the players including the polluters and the affected community. As to prevent the unfavourable environmental problem different laws are enacted but the implementation of these laws is poor. MNC's considered environment management a trend so includes it in their annual reports but the meaningful approach has not been taken[8].
  • Coca-Cola case:
    A plant in Uttar Pradesh has been shut down because they were extracting too much groundwater for their bottling plant. It was directed to them the water you extracted twice of which should be treated as depleting the groundwater. Uttar Pradesh pollution control board ordered the closure of a Coca-Cola co. The company appealed to the National Green Tribunal for a closure order.

In India Parle, Britannia, Amul, and ITC are the top most polluters. While the MNC's PepsiCo, Perfetti Van Melle, Hindustan Unilever, and Coca-Cola are the top most polluters.

The practice of using single-use disposable and low-value plastic packaging onto consumers to improve their profit margins. PepsiCo cited that company by 2025 will recycle its packaging and plastic waste and will use 100% compostable, plant-based packaging for two of its most popular products. CSR focus on energy use, water use, waste management, recycling, emissions, etc. Developed nation considers Environmental issue as the trade barriers they exploit the underdeveloped country by polluting them and using polluting technologies they should be severely punished for their dumping policies.

Corporate environmental responsibility (CER) is to create awareness about the environmental impact and carbon footprint on natural resources[9].

Industrialization is encouraged to Globalize. We should not ignore the consequences of these industries in our environment and on our health for the long run. These kinds of disasters like oil spills, Gas leak leaves its print for years in our environment and the lives of people. To recover from this loss requires a lot of support and every individual has to play its part in conserving the environment.

Glaciers are melting sea- levels are rising, deforestation, burning of forests every year bring us closer to the destruction of the world. Globalization is good in several aspects but before setting up a Plant in a Developing country they should take care of the environment and frame such policies that help the environment how much they take from nature pay it back in little percentage at least could try to do good.

The industries should be in touch be with the government of the locality and explain to them about their setup and the policies which would be followed by them the government of the country should also monitor timely and think of environment irrespective of profitmaking. Before setting up a hazardous chemical industry should take approval from the environment tribunals or authority of the country, with the approval certificate the land should be provided to them and it should be far away from the residential area.

Global warming is the most important concern for every country. Countries should switch towards renewable source of energy. Setting up and promoting the solar plants in industries, schools, the residential areas will be helpful and the consumption of electricity would be less.

Products should be recycled, factories should start investing in the latest technology and innovation through which they can reduce manufacturing waste, use less energy, and water. The countries should have the goal to become carbon neutral, net-zero or carbon negative.

Switching to electric vehicles is the latest trend, UK Government has intended to buy Electric cars in the next 5 years and to ban petrol and diesel cars by 2030. The new housing plans include an electric vehicle plug-in hybrid.

To avoid spilling in the ocean the cargos should not be overfilled with the fuel to reduce the capacity, regular inspection of the fittings as to reduce the risk. The pipelines in the ocean should also be regularly checked, the old and leaking pipes should be changed to avoid spills.

The hazardous chemical industries should regularly keep an eye on the chemical storage tanks, maintain the temperature and the refrigeration process should be done with due care. The tank which holds the chemicals and the pipes need to be checked regularly change them on a regular interval of time as to avoid the unnecessary circumstances which harm the life of workers, people, and the environment.

Apart, from profit-making, management should give importance to life and a healthy environment. The lease with the country for setting up the plant in the country should only be approved after the industry fulfils the environmental protection requirement. Authority should strictly monitor the working, maintenance, and disposing of the waste from the industry.

While framing the laws on environmental issues and setting up tribunals strict laws should be framed without any loopholes, because loopholes allow the developed countries to take advantage of such weak laws and take advantage of everything.

The developed countries use developing countries to dump their chemical waste in the developing country and they are unaware of the dumping which makes their land infertile, barren slowly plant, start dying water bodies become polluted and consuming the water animals, humans get infected.

Dumping of chemical waste in the ocean kills thousands of water habitats. Birds consume those fish; grass and they are suffering from this infectious chemical disease. Inhaling chemical gases affects the lungs, exposure to fumes generally complains about eye irritation, conjunctivitis, skin irritation. People die due to respiratory problems, neurological, gastrointestinal symptoms.

Workers working in these chemical industries should be provided with a mask, eye shields, gloves, boots and another safety requirement which are designed for chemical industries.

  1. What is Globalization? All Definitions of Globalization. Last modified on 6, October 2020. (last visited on 17th Sept.2021)
  2. A brief history of globalization. By Peter Vanham. Published on 17, January 2019, (last visited on 17th Sept.2021)
  3. Author: OECD. What is the impact of globalisation on the environment? Modified on: 11 April 2013.
    (Last visited on 18th Sept.2021)
  4. Ibid
  5. Globalization and Its Impact on the Environment. By Enviro editor.
    (Last visited on 18th Sept.2021)
  6. Large oil spill in Gulf of Mexico after Ida, clean-up under way. Published on:5 sep,2021
  7. Mauritius Oil Spill 2020. Published on: July 25, 2020
  8. Liability of Multinational corporations for environmental pollution. Published on: 15 November 2020 From Advocatespedia, ASSN: 149021 (Last visited on 19th Sept.2021)
  9. Ibid

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