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Environmental Hazards and Disasters



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Change is the law of nature. It is continuous process that goes on uninterruptedly involving phenomena, big and small, material and non-material and make over physical and socio-cultural environment. It is a process present everywhere with variations in terms of magnitude, intensity and scale. Change can be gradual or slow process like the evolution of land forms and organism and it can be as sudden and swift as volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, earthquakes and lightening etc. 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. Besides, these changes have different meaning 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 earthquake, floods and wars that are considered bad and undesirable.

Classification of Natural Disasters
Broadly natural disasters can be classified under the following four categories:

Atmospheric Terrestrial Aquatic Biological
  • Blizzards
  • Thunder-storms
  • Lightening
  • Tornadoes
  • Tropical cyclone
  • Drought
  • Hailstorm
  • Frost, Heat, wave
  • Cold Wave
  • Earthquakes
  • Volcanic eruptions
  • Landslides
  • Avalanches
  • Subsidence
  • Soil Erosion
  • Floods
  • Tidal Waves Ocean
  • Stormsurge
  • Tsunami
  • Insect Infection
  • Viral diseases like bird flu, dengue, AIDS etc

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