Introduction to effects of environmental degradation:
Environmental degradation may be defined as the deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources such as air, water and soil; the destruction of ecosystems and the extinction of wildlife. Environmental degradation has occurred due to the recent activities in the field of socio-economic, institutional and technologies. Environmental changes are dependent on many factors including economic growth, population growth, urbanization, intensification of agriculture, rising energy use and transportation. Poverty still remains a problem at the root of several environmental problems.
Factors Affecting Environmental degradation:
1. Destruction of natural resources:
Agricultural development and farming activities contribute, to soil erosion, land salination and loss of nutrients. The green revolution and over exploitation of land and water resources, and use of fertilizers and pesticides have increased to many folds resulting in land degradation and water logging.
2.Water pollution and scarcity:
Leaching from overuse of pesticides and fertilizers is an important source of contamination of water bodies.
Cutting down trees for making buildings, rapid and unplanned expansion of cities, infrastructural services such as energy, housing, transport, communication, education results into deforestation.
Air pollution is responsible for a large number of deaths annually and creates chronic health problems for many more people.
Effects of Environmental Degradation:
Following are the harmful effects of environmental degradation:
1. Loss of biodiversity:
The extinction of plant and animal species will heavily affect the ecosystem; it will reduce ecosystem adaptability and lead to the loss of genetic resources.
2. Environmental changes:
Global warming is the result of ozone depletion which is responsible for perhaps 300,000 additional cases of skin cancer a year and 1.7 million cases of cataracts and may lead to increase in the risk of climatic natural disasters.
3. Hazardous waste production:
Diseases are spread by uncovered garbage and drains; the health risks from hazardous wastes are typically more localized, but often acute. Wastes affect productivity causing pollution of groundwater resources.
4. Soil erosion has increased due to deforestation.
5. Climate has become warmer in the deforested regions due to lack of humidity.
6. Floods and droughts have become frequent.
More Effects of Environmental Degradation:
7. Pattern of rainfall has been changing.
8. Pollution due to increased levels of chlorofluorocarbons and nitrogen oxides cause depletion of ozone layer in the stratosphere.
9. Acid rain is the indirect impact of air pollution.
10. Use of pesticides makes the soil toxic for plants.
11. Large amount of organic matter causes eutrophication.
12. Thermal zonation caused by hot water affects migration of aquatic animals due to thermal barriers.