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Our environment is our responsibility and we have to do whatever it takes to ensure that it is taken care of accordingly. Failure to do this results in environmental degradation. This means that it will no longer be conducive to all the individuals. There are set laws that govern taking care of the environment and it are our duty to ensure that we abide to them. From the disposal of waste to the general products that are released into the air and water, we must ensure that they are disposed or released in the right manner; it must be in compliance with the set rules and regulations.
In any given state, there are set rules and regulation that govern the disposal of wastes. There are guidelines that are set by the body that is in charge. There are also agencies enforce the set laws and regulations. This reduces the harm that withstands in case of improper waste disposal. Improper disposal of hazardous waste could cause harm to human health. Most of the hazardous wastes are associated with industries. However, there are other sources of hazardous wastes that include mines, military bases and residents in different communities (Robert & Percival, 2009).
Recent research indicates that in the United States, military bases have a very serious hazardous waste problem. This is a problem that has been established by both the government and the private sector. The study shows that 19000 sites in 1800 military bases, there is a huge degree of soil pollution and ground water pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency has been on the case of the military management so as to enhance clean up of the hazardous wastes. This prompted the passage of a strict law that military bases must comply with environmental laws. Failure to do this implies that action may be taken by both the government and the private environmental agencies against the military bases. Before the passage of the law, there existed no power to prosecute the military. This is one of the actions taken so as to enhance compliance with the environmental laws.
There are different methods that are being applied so that environmental degradation as a result of military activities is considerably reduced. There are laws that ensure that military training ca not be carried out in densely populated areas. This ensures that the adverse effects that are as a result of hazardous wastes released in the environment during the military operations do not affect the individuals within that area. The military therefore has to comply with this law irrespective of where the military operations are taking place, both at home and in other foreign destinations. This prevents serious defects cases that are attributed to hazardous wastes disposed either in the water or in the soil. For example, there is a reported case of a woman in Philippines who suffered heavy metal poisoning due to the continuous exposure to contaminated water at Clark Air Base. Therefore, military training needs to take place in deserted areas so as to prevent occurrence of such cases. There are also cases of cancer, leukemia, kidney diseases and skin diseases among others that have attributed to contamination of the environment during military training (Weinberg, 2006).
The military training should therefore include real life results of the negative effects caused by improper disposal of hazardous wastes. Therefore, this will ensure that all the trainees and the trainers are more careful when disposing the hazardous wastes. The government and private environmental agencies also need to come up together and be at the forefront so as to ensure that the set rules and regulations are followed to the letter. Prosecution in case of failure to comply will ensure that they comply voluntarily (Bosselman, Rossi & Weaver, 2000).
There is also the notion that military forces do not function independently. They function hand in hand with the American citizens and must therefore ensure that they serve the needs of the people first. As such, there has been an integration of both the military and the civilian environmental policy. Due to the fact that the military has emotional attachments to the citizens since some of them are their family, it is now easier for them to comply with the laws that govern disposal of hazardous wastes. The set laws therefore are followed to the letter since the military is in agreement with the protection of the needs of the civilians. This implies that in the course of their training they will be more careful and likely to heed to the set laws due to this integration that has already been established (William & Wilcox, 2007).
There is also the campaign that is initiated by the seniors in the military forces. The campaign ensures that the army men are responsible and continuously take good care of the environment. This ensures that subordinates also adhere to the set rules on issues related to the environment. Appreciation of the ethical responsibility of the force is an initial step towards ensuring that there is minimal environmental degradation. This also implies that the military follows the already established laws. As long as their training is based on ethical issues that are well demonstrated by their seniors, there is a probability that they will adhere to these laws. Leading by example will also be passed to the trainees and eventually this will lead to the correct practice when disposing hazardous wastes (Richard & Gittins, 1996).
This will also be beneficial to the force because there will be available land available for future trainees if it is well taken care of presently. This will therefore ensure continuous growth of the force. If the military personnel have this notion when carrying out the training, this will act as an incentive or form of motivation towards environmental protection and hence compliance with the set laws of environmental protection. However, this does not mean that the military trainees will be doing this just to comply. They will be doing this as a personal ethic practice. Prevention of environmental pollution should be a proactive measure and hence, it will be much more effective (John & Schlegel, 1990).
The army management is hugely supported by the government. It is therefore the role of the policy maker to ensure that they come up with policies that enhance environmental protection. The people in charge need to take into consideration the effect that will result from installation of a military base in a particular area. By doing this, they initiate the process of environmental protection and therefore this is passed onto the trainees that will be eventually trained at the base. This initial step ensures that the base adheres to the existing laws on wastes disposal. This will also enhance the civilian relationships with the military and continuous protection of the available natural resources (Khuda, 2001).
In the military, stewardship must be applied in the course of performing one’s duties it encompasses everyone from the commander in chief to thee newest recruit. There is a set strategy that is based on four pillars. These are so as to ensure environmental protection. These pillars are:
- Compliance- this ensures that any military personnel are fully aware of the rules and regulations that are environment related and they must comply with them.
- Prevention- it is their responsibility to establish the source of pollution and also come up with a strategy of how to prevent further degradation. They must also come up with a way to stop further pollution.
- Conservation- they must also ensure that they continuously protect the available resources so as they can be available for future generation s to be able to utilize them.
- Restoration- they have a duty to restore the degraded resources provided they have the available funds or other resources to be able to carry out the restoration process.
The above pillars govern all the military personnel and due to the oath already taken, they must comply. The pillars are based on the laws of environmental protection and hence, they comply with them directly or indirectly (Metz & Hine, 2002).
The resultant effects of pollution are a liability. The clean up process is an overhead cost. As such, it must be controlled and therefore prevention is the best solution. The cost of controlling pollution from the source is much lower than waiting to deal with the consequences. This acts as a drive for the military to comply with the laws that govern the environmental protection. Prevention is adequately achieved by reducing the amount of toxic substances in their operations or replacing these materials with those that posses a lesser degree of toxic substances. They could also reuse the products that are implemented in their operations. A third option is the possibility of recycling the products. This reduces the amount of waste materials and hence eventually reduces the amount of pollution and environmental degradation (Chatterjee, Bose & Roy, 2001).
The seniors in the military bases have the solemn responsibility of ensuring that the recruits comply with the environmental rules and regulations. They are able to do this by leading by example. They also achieve this objective by supervising how the recruits are carrying out the duties that are assigned to them. They also train Environment Compliance Officers (ECO) to ensure that the department is fully catered for. By ensuring that all environmental issues are well catered for; they reinforce the importance of compliance with the set rules and regulations. On the other hand, the units’ staffs have the responsibility to ensure that they perform the responsibilities that are assigned to them on issues related environmental protection. The Chief of Staff is responsible for coordinating the activities of the staff. This therefore means that the staffs have to act in accordance with the set laws and as such perform their responsibilities in the manner that they are supposed to.
In the base, there is a surgeon who gives advice on health issues. In his line of duty, he has the responsibility to infirm the recruits and everyone in the military base of the imposed danger by hazardous wastes. This implies that since they are all aware of the underlying danger, they are more likely to comply with the environmental prevention laws. It is therefore not expected that there will be any problem encountered in complying with the set laws. After all, everyone intends to take care of their health. The surgeon gives his professional advice in conjunction with the chemical officer. They outline the possible effects of the chemicals and wastes on both the personnel and equipment (Kutz, 2005).
The issue of environmental protection must be withheld by all federal facilities. How successful they are is directly dependent on the effort put to enhance compliance with the set laws by both the management and the willingness of the individuals concerned. Military bases and tenant commands are victims of environmental pollution. However, complying with the set rules may seem limiting as their main objective is to provide security at any particular time and at whatever cost. However, their managements should take into consideration the fact that degrading the environment means that future generations will not be able to access this security as there will not be in existence training grounds.
The compliance with the set laws should begin from the seniors so as to ensure that they lead by example. Saving the environment today creates a future for tomorrow’s generation. It is everybody’s responsibility to ensure that as they go about their daily activities they save the environment. If all the above details on how compliance with the laws can be implemented are put into practice, the environment will be highly conserved and its use is going to last a long time. I look forward to a sensitive generation that prioritizes environmental protection. Protecting the environment is beneficial to both the individuals and the state in large.
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