Cite this asZainabi A, Asharf O (2022) Role of Science, Technology, Executive, and Public (STEP) in Environmental conservation and waste management and the scenario in Politically and Militarily Conflicted Regions (PMCRs) of the world. Ann Environ Sci Toxicol 6(1): 047-049. DOI: 10.17352/aest.000052
Copyright© 2022 Zainabi A, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Environmental conservation and waste management is a great challenge around the world. The realization of safe water, air, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) for the world is a distant dream. Barring few developed countries, the rest of the world, and more importantly, the third-world countries are struggling hard to achieve safe WASH. India and China are no exceptions. Given the massive population of these two countries, open defecation issues, unscientific waste disposal practices, and poor health and hygiene infrastructure; achieving safe WASH remains a challenge. While science and technology for the conservation of the environment and waste management are advancing day by day, active participation of the executive and the public is insignificant at least in PMCRs. STEP minus E or/and P can’t solve the challenges of environmental conservation and waste management. Safe WASH demands enormous attention from science, technology, executive, and the public (STEP) coherently.
The role of science, technology, and innovation is essentially important to address holistic development and sustainability challenges. It is because the use of science, technology, and innovations enhances the output of the aims of sustainable developmental and conservational policies. Given the present circumstances of global warming and the subsequent loss of biodiversity and natural resources, it is therefore in the larger interest of humans in particular, that judicious scientific and technological knowledge is applied to brave the threats of global warming by adopting the relevant mitigation measures. A study by [1-6] have identified the best scientific and technological practices to achieve the environmental policy targets related to clean water and biodiversity conservation in Africa. Given the huge gap that exists between developed, developing, and underdeveloped countries vis-à-vis the advancements in science, technology, and innovations, it is hard to imagine the realization of sustainable development goals (SDGs) for the world set by the member states of the United Nations in 2015, the means of its implementation described by . In order to overcome and reduce this gap, it is the duty of the developed states of the world to make possible the easy transfer of scientific knowledge, technological advancements, and innovations to developing and underdeveloped states. By not doing so, we cannot realize the safe WASH and SDG’s. Further developing and underdeveloped states should be encouraged to adopt low-cost, eco-friendly, and equally efficient technologies (eco-technologies) such as constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment more importantly when these states cannot afford to put in place costly but highly technological systems. This will ensure the implementation of the broader vision of science, technology, and innovations.
The executive/Government of the states must adopt participatory and democratic approaches involving all the stakeholders to realize safe WASH and SDG’s. Undemocratic and autocratic policies aiming to achieve safe WASH and SDG’s lacking scientific and technological inputs from the scientific community won’t yield desired results. The authors argue that this “E” is a very critical part of the overall framework of the STEP and unfortunately it is hard to ensure an effective and responsible “E”. The reason is that except for very few member states of the UN, all other states have uneducated and unscientific executives and bureaucrats in place that define the environmental laws and conservation policies of their respective states. It is meaningless to imagine the successful execution and implementation of an environmental policy set by an executive with little or no knowledge of the environment and the importance of its conservation unless the executive is like Tulsi Gowda of Mysore India , or Bilal Dar of Kashmir Valley India .
Public, as by the oxford dictionary means ordinary people in society. But our definition is little elaborated and we define the public, the common people, or the people of the society comprising all genders, colors, castes, creeds, ages, and classes.
The environment is for the public and the environment is by the public, with this tagline, the authors argue that unless and until the “P” of the STEP is not involved directly or indirectly in decision-making for sustainable environmental conservation, it is difficult to achieve safe WASH and SDG’s. The present world needs billions of self-less and voluntary serving public like Tulsi Gowda and Bilal Dar, described earlier, for environmental conservation, but this seems impossible. In these situations, incentivizing the public for environmental services remains a good option as is described by  in their study about conservation strategies of the Nima watershed, Colombia.
The human population in village settings and semi-urban areas are mostly neglected by executive in terms of waste management. Despite advancements in science and technology, it is alarming to report that there is little or no progress in environmental conservation and waste management in PMCRs of the world such as Kashmir valley, India , the birthplace of the authors. The reason for it is the absence of a robust and functional STEP in PMCRs. In these regions, when life and liberty are at risk [12,13], environmental conservation and waste management take a back seat [14-16]. In PMCR regions, the overall status of environmental conservation and resource management is extremely poor and remains a distant dream in the village settings and semi-urban areas [17,18].
Various research and review studies have highlighted the effects of waste on the environment, population health, and sustainable development in general [19-21], thus highlighting the insignificant involvement of STEP. Other studies have led to the conclusion that the current, rather isolated efforts for waste management, waste reduction, and resource management are indeed not sufficient from a long-term sustainability perspective . Some other studies have highlighted that the demographic, socioeconomic, and geographic differentiation between urban and rural areas amplify these gaps that prevent the implementation of effective waste management systems on a regional and national scale .
The authors didn’t find any substantial specific study related to environmental conservation and waste management in PMCRs of the world. Some studies have shown that PMCRs generate distrust, lack of commitment, and cooperation between the executive and the public [24,25]. Kashmir valley in India is the world’s old PMCR  and is no exception to underdevelopment and environmental mismanagement . Enormous scientific knowledge and technology are available to deal with the waste generated in PMCRs. Lack of trust, cooperation and will among the executive and the public is of great concern. Therefore, it is difficult to realize a robust and functional STEP framework in PMCRs.
The perspective paper reflects a conceptual and theoretical discussion on the importance of the STEP framework for sustainable environmental conservation. The authors believe that most of the world’s environmental problems can be addressed only if in a true sense the STEP framework for environmental conservation is adopted. The authors didn’t come across a study/research in which a joint effort of STEP is described in sustainable environmental conservation.
An important discussion about the importance of the role of STEP coherently in sustainable environmental conservation is developed.
Any agenda set by WHO or UNO for achieving the safe WASH and SDGs is bound to achieve only marginal success if the importance of STEP in sustainable environmental conservation is not well understood.
This perspective article brings out a very important discussion about the role of STEP in sustainable environmental conservation. The authors feel that there is a tremendous scope to study this particular research theme in detail. The role of the executive and public in PMCRs needs to be investigated in depth. Only science and technology can’t solve the environmental conservation and waste management issues. A joint framework of STEP must be activated for sustainable environmental conservation. The authors have noted the aim and the objectives of the present research problem and are hopeful to bring forth valuable studies in near future, especially from Kashmir Valley, India.
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