How to Save Environment from Harmful Effects of Radiation?

 In ionizing radiation, radiation exposure, Radiation Safety

“If we cannot sustain the environment, we cannot sustain ourselves.” The importance of natural environment to ensure sustainable development led the first African woman Nobel laureate, Ms. Wangari Mathaai, the Kenyan environment activist to remark the golden lines. Her perception truly reflects the significance of environmental protection that not just supports life on earth at present but assures the same with human existence for several years to come.

Radiation and Environment: An Analogy

The term environment refers to the natural surroundings or conditions in which a living organism thrives and operates. It encircles all living and non-living beings together as well as their interactions with other species, climate, weather, physical resources, etc. Thus, the environment affects human survival along with a myriad of economic activities. Interestingly, radiation is both inevitable and the inescapable part of our natural environment. It originates from the space, the sun even from naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM). These are found either on the earth’s surface or underneath as well as inside our own bodies. Additionally, radiation also occurs as power lines in electromagnetic fields and also as radio waves from mobile phones. Mankind has developed several ways to harness radiation in the field of research, health care and industrial purposes, for example in X-ray technology, radiography as well as the use of Uranium-235 or Plutonium-239 as nuclear fuels to support chain reactions in nuclear power reactors.

Environmental protection: The Wake-up Call

Although, radiation is quite beneficial yet ionizing radiation is fraught with grave risks. We all are well familiar with the productive uses of radiology. However, we are equally aware of the fact that radiation can play havoc with the environment too. Hence, it is quite important to keep a check on radiological hazards in order to save our environment from damage. This implies we shall undertake appropriate steps to let radiation breed in more good than harm both for us and the environment. Precisely, the need of the hour is to steer towards limiting the ionizing radiation dose as low as possible.

Let us contour sure shot steps to protect the environment from the lethal effects of ionizing radiation.

Exposure Time: It has been very well said that time heals all wounds! However, it also plays a crucial role in preventing ionizing radiation exposure too. There exists an inversely proportional relationship between time and ionizing radiation dose. In simpler terms, the total amount of radiation exposure and the perspective ill-effects corresponding to the same varies with the amount of time spent in the exposed area. Therefore, limiting or minimizing the radiation exposure time for living beings and the physical environment will certainly reduce the dose from the source of radiation. On account of this, we shall always consider time as an apt instrument to check radiation risks.

Adequate Distance: When it comes to radiation safety and protection, adequate distance can significantly curb radiation exposure risk. This means translocation to areas, far away from the radiation source, decreases the risk of falling prey to ionizing radiation. Researchers around the globe, have verified, with proven data that doubling the distance from a radioactive source diminishes the exposure rate to one-fourth of the original exposure rate. On the contrary, keeping the distance half will increase the exposure by almost four times. Here, it should also be taken into account that radiation risk highly depends upon the energy of the radiation and the size of the source. Distance is the foremost factor while dealing with gamma rays because they can travel almost at the speed of light whereas Alpha particles can travel only up to a few inches.

Proper Shielding: It is quite evident that ionizing radiation brings forth irreparable changes only when it passes through a matter. However proper shielding safeguards against radiation hazards. The overall process of shielding a radioactive source involves placing a shield or absorber between it and the physical environment. As different types of ionizing radiation can be absorbed by shields of different thickness, proper shielding by ionizing radiation safety providers is the best resort to save the environment.

QADR: Today, the medical realm, plays a pivotal role in keeping the physical environment cleaner and healthier. Quality Assurance in diagnostic radiology (QADR) is indispensable to foster radiation safety in the field of medical diagnosis through an array of equipment. This implies systematic actions coupled with quality assured instruments are needed to instil optimum confidence in both medical practitioners as well as the patients. The basic principle of QADR is to assure the highest accuracy of the diagnosis and to guarantee minimum radiation dose for the patients. Quality Assurance in Diagnostic Radiology asses the medical equipment both at the manufacturing stage and thereafter. The QADR tests should be opted for at regular intervals to keep the possibilities of malfunction and that of radiation hazards at bay.

Land Remediation: Soil or land contamination due to radioactivity can adversely affect not just the soil quality rather it cuts down the overall productivity. Moreover, the products from a contaminated piece of land can also show devastating symptoms of radiation contamination. This makes it clear that measurement of soil contamination is quintessential for monitoring the potential deterioration of the environment.

Radiation Safety and protection is the Master Key

Radiation is a universal truth. Although we cannot stop it but we can definitely take steps to curtail its harmful effects. The best practice, to save the environment from malicious effects of ionizing radiation, is to trust only the entrusted bodies. We shall always rely on AERB registered authentic radiation safety and protection service providers. This will not just minimize the harmful effects on the environment and but will justify all activities involving radiation, for the betterment of human civilization.

Environmental safety is not complicated. Expert approach and consistent efforts can certainly work wonders to let our earth stay healthy, wealthy and nice. Remember, for environmental protection, keep it simple to keep it forever.

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