CRITICAL PERSPECTIVE ON DEMARKING ANTHROPOCENE EPOCH
There is growing debate about demarcation of a third geological epoch in quaternary period of Earth’s history to be named as ‘Anthropocene’. The ‘Anthropocene Working Group (AWG)’ of ‘Sub-commission on Quaternary Stratigraphy’ of the ‘International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS)’ proposed the optimal beginning of Anthropocene from the middle of 20th century. In the context, this paper critically examined the criteria / markers proposed by the AWG of ICS and reviews the other options with arguments in order to support a more rationalized decision about demarcation of Anthropocene epoch. Based on analysis, it is found that there is a lack of consensus about the starting point and markers of Anthropocene due to the existence of a diverse range of proposed markers for the same. The geological point of view believes that it should be linked to some stratigraphic changes, which requires millions of years in time scale. The environmentalists argue that the early onset of changes on the surface of the earth be linked as primary markers, which became very relevant and significant with the industrial revolution. The social scientists argue the population growth intensified the anthropogenic impact on the earth’s environment. Consumption of resources and changes in lifestyle patterns led transformation in socio-cultural nexus for which markers should be linked for the start of Anthropocene. Based on arguments, it is deciphered that the proposed criteria / markers to start Anthropocene Epoch from middle of 20th century are underdeveloped since there are strong counter arguments exist. It would be wise to start the Anthropocene Epoch since the year 1800.