Its not a secret that nature plays a pivotal part in the development of various new drugs. From the advent of penicillin, which heralded the dawn of the antibiotic age to aspirin which evolved from a compound found in the bark and leaves of the willow trees, all of their discoveries have nature to thank. Nearly half of all human pharmaceuticals in use now were originally derived from natural sources Specially our ancient Indian history suggests that our ancestors made the most out of nature.
But, are we doing our part in thanking nature? Well the answer to that is definitely a no. The wastes produced by our Pharma industries somehow find their way in disrupting the well being of the normal eco-system and as its final attack, causes more harm than good to us. What good is a process for inventing and manufacturing a drug if it somehow harms its source? Nature! And if we do not want to care for nature, at least we need to start thinking for ourselves. The emission of toxic components through wastes has been on a rise as the global medication appetite is on the increase. These compounds enter directly into the environment or after some chemical modifications. These may find their way in freshwater, seepage from landfills sites, sewer lines etc. The traces of these compounds have been found in different water bodies like surface water, ground water and other drinking water sources. Though these are trace in amounts, but upon drinking such water for longer duration may lead to harmful effects. And to make things worse for us Indians, there is no regulation limiting the level of pharmaceuticals in drinking water.
What can be done to reduce this? Companies can be provided extra incentives such as extension of the patent period for drugs which are manufactured in a environment friendly way. We need to understand and realize that “Nature is the ultimate chemist” and protecting it is nothing, but protecting our future.
T. Y. B Pharm.