To begin with, let us understand what Ecology means. The scientific study of environment and its organisms with respect to their abundance, habitat, interaction, climate and distribution belongs to a branch of biology known as ecology. Ecology is now used in a more general sense, coined to mean environment-friendly. When we talk of Industrial ecology, we hint at the effects of industrialization on the environment.
The physical, chemical and biological interactions and relations between the industrial processes and ecosystems are studied in detail and this study is termed as Industrial Ecology. Basically, the study revolves around the flow of materials from industrial processes into the nature. The objective of Industrial ecology is to reduce the negative impact of industrial process on nature, thereby clearing off the threat posed to the environment, mainly in the form of Global Warming.
Of the various strategies being adopted to bring this objective into effect, the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) method is one of them. The life cycle analysis of a product is done right from its inception to its disposal to assess the extent of damage caused by the product on the environment. The LCA method analyses the Inventory, Impact and Improvement processes.
Detailed studies of the industry as well as the natures’ systems aid in working out a plan to reduce the impacts of industrial processes, also bringing about a reduction in costs. The resources and their amounts are analyzed so to as to assess the waste discarded in the environment. This enables to understand the impacts of industrial methods on the environment. The levels of the impacts are measured and methods are designed for improvement.
Once the nature of ecological systems is analyzed and understood, the industries then need to work out a strategy to minimize the impact on the environment. The industrial ecology pattern carries out a detailed study of the relationships existing within nature and then decides on methods for improvement by adapting to the same system. One simple method is to use the waste products of one industry as the raw materials for the other. Reduction in wastage leads to lesser pollution levels. Use of solar energy for running industrial plants also reduces harmful emissions in the air and contributes to lesser pollution.
Industrial ecology believes that the industrial system, which refers to not only industries, but also includes the way humans use natural resources, is a part of the biosphere and does not exist outside it. In order to reduce the impact on the environment, industrial processes should conserve raw materials and energy used for production purposes. The use of toxic substances should be avoided and certain safety measures should be introduced to minimize the harmful effects. The study of industrial ecology is driving the industrial processes in a cycle wherein the waste products gathered from production is used as a raw material for new processes.
Effective implementation of the various methods of Industrial ecology as mentioned above will definitely help in combating the threat of global warming. Each one of can contribute to a safer world and save our planet by being a part of the revolution against global warming. Spread awareness of these methods and prevent the earth from warming up.