Environmental degradation is the disintegration of the earth or deterioration of the environment through the consumption of assets, for example, air, water and soil; the destruction of environments and the eradication of wildlife. It is characterized as any change or aggravation to nature’s turf seen to be pernicious or undesirable.
Ecological effect or degradation is created by the consolidation of an effectively substantial and expanding human populace, constantly expanding monetary development or per capita fortune and the application of asset exhausting and polluting technology.
Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth… these are one and the same fight. We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security and women’s empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all.
~ Ban Ki-moon
According to Wikipedia,
“Environmental degradation is the deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources such as air, water and soil; the destruction of ecosystems; habitat destruction; the extinction of wildlife; and pollution. It is defined as any change or disturbance to the environment perceived to be deleterious or undesirable.“
It occurs when the earth’s natural resources are depleted, and the environment is compromised in the form of extinction of species, pollution in the air, water and soil, and rapid growth in population.
Environmental degradation is one of the largest threats that are being looked at in the world today. The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction characterizes environmental degradation as the lessening of the limit of the earth to meet social and environmental destinations and needs.
Environmental degradation can happen in a number of ways. At the point when environments are wrecked or common assets are exhausted, the environment is considered to be corrupted and harmed. There are a number of different techniques that are being used to prevent this, including environmental resource protection and general protection efforts.
Environmental issues can be seen by long term ecological effects, some of which can demolish whole environments. An environment is a unique unit and incorporates all the living and non-living components that live inside it.
Plants and creatures are evident parts of the environment, but it also includes the things on which they depend on, for example, streams, lakes, and soils.
Environmental surroundings get to be divided when technological advancement splits up areas of land. Some examples of this can include streets which may slice through woods or even trails which wind through prairies.
While it may not sound all terrible on the surface, there are bad results. The biggest of these results are felt by some particular animal and plant groups, the vast majority of which are specific for their bio-region or need a large area in order to make sure that their genetic lines are kept intact.
Types of Environmental Degradation
Land and soil degradation: Degradation of soil quality from poor farming practices, excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides, leakage from landfills etc.
Several other kinds of pollution: Apart from land, water and atmospheric degradation, many other kinds of pollution such as noise pollution, light pollution that are part of environmental degradation.
Causes of Environmental Degradation
Some environmental life species require substantial areas to help provide food, living space, and other different assets. These creatures are called area specific.
At the point when the biome is divided, the vast patches of living space don’t exist anymore. It becomes more troublesome for the wildlife to get the assets they need in order to survive. The environment goes on, even though the animals and plant life are not there to help sustain it properly.
1. Land Disturbance
A more basic cause of environmental degradation is land damage. Numerous weedy plant species, for example, garlic & mustard, are both foreign and obtrusive.
A rupture in the environmental surroundings provides for them a chance to start growing and spreading. These plants can assume control over nature, eliminating the local greenery.
The result is a territory with a solitary predominant plant which doesn’t give satisfactory food assets to all the environmental life. Thus the whole environment can be destroyed because of these invasive species.
Pollution, in whatever form, whether it is air, water, land or noise is harmful to the environment. Air pollution pollutes the air that we breathe, which causes health issues.
Noise pollution can cause irreparable damage to our ears when exposed to continuous large sounds like honking of vehicles on a busy road or machines producing large noise in a factory or a mill.
Rapid population growth puts strain on natural resources, which results in the degradation of our environment. Mortality rate has gone down due to better medical facilities, which has resulted in an increased lifespan.
More population simply means more demand for food, clothes and shelter. You need more space to grow food and provide homes to millions of people. This results in deforestation, which is another factor in environmental degradation.
Landfills pollute the environment and destroy the beauty of the city. Landfills come within the city due to the large amount of waste that gets generated by households, industries, factories and hospitals.
Landfills pose a great risk to the health of the environment and the people who live there. Landfills produce a foul smell when burned and cause substantial environmental degradation.
Apart from that, the use of forest land for agriculture, animal grazing, harvest for fuelwood and logging are some of the other causes of deforestation. Deforestation contributes to global warming as decreased forest size puts carbon back into the environment.
6. Natural Causes
Things like avalanches, quakes, tidal waves, storms, and wildfires can totally crush nearby animal and plant groups to the point where they can no longer survive in those areas.
This can either come to fruition through physical demolition as the result of a specific disaster or by the long term degradation of assets by the presentation of an obtrusive foreign species to the environment. The latter frequently happens after tidal waves, when reptiles and bugs are washed ashore.
Of course, humans aren’t totally to blame for this whole thing. Earth itself causes ecological issues, as well. While environmental degradation is most normally connected with the things that people do, the truth of the matter is that the environment is always changing. With or without the effect of human exercises, a few biological systems degrade to the point where they can’t help the life that is supposed to live there.
Effects of Environmental Degradation
1. Impact on Human Health
Human health might be at the receiving end as a result of environmental degradation. Areas exposed to toxic air pollutants can cause respiratory problems like pneumonia and asthma. Millions of people are known to have died due to the indirect effects of air pollution.
2. Loss of Biodiversity
Biodiversity is important for maintaining the balance of the ecosystem in the form of combating pollution, restoring nutrients, protecting water sources and stabilizing climate. Deforestation, global warming, overpopulation and pollution are a few of the major causes of loss of biodiversity.
3. Ozone Layer Depletion
The ozone layer is responsible for protecting the earth from harmful ultraviolet rays. The presence of chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere, is causing the ozone layer to deplete. As it will deplete, it will emit harmful radiation back to the earth.
4. Loss For the Tourism Industry
The deterioration of the environment can be a huge setback for the tourism industry that relies on tourists for their daily livelihood. Environmental damage in the form of loss of green cover, loss of biodiversity, huge landfills, increased air and water pollution can be a big turn off for most of the tourists.
5. Economic Impact
The huge cost that a country may have to borne due to environmental degradation can have a significant economic impact in terms of restoration of green cover, cleaning up of landfills and protection of endangered species. The economic impact can also be in terms of the loss of the tourism industry.
Solutions to Environmental Degradation
1. Stop Deforestation
In order to mitigate the adverse effects of environmental degradation, stopping deforestation is crucial for our environmental system. We cannot afford to cut or burn trees down as trees store greenhouse gases, produce oxygen and are the natural habitat for many animals and plants, which may become endangered if these forests are destroyed.
An extensive afforestation campaign should be launched in the interest of environmental protection. We can further make a positive impact through reforestation or afforestation.
2. Government Regulations
Governments require intervening and setting a framework whenever there are problems that lead to significant eco-degradation. Governments set high taxes for activities that harm our planet and support environmentally-friendly behavior with financial subsidies.
These will also force industries and private people to avoid activities that lead to environmental degradation.
3. Fines and Punishment For Illegal dumping
There should also be high fines for illegal dumping to reduce the adverse ecological consequences. People and industries will continue to dump their trash illegally as they know that even if they get caught, penalties are quite low.
Therefore, raising fines for illegal dumping would increase the incentive to dispose of trash at official waste disposal sites.
4. Reduce Consumption Levels
It has become essential to reduce our consumption levels. Our developed society always strives for the latest electronics, smartphones, and the trendiest clothes and so on.
However, this behavior leads to huge resource depletion and excessive production of waste. We have to lower our consumption levels significantly to avoid the adverse ecological consequences.
5. Reuse and Reduce Waste Generation
You can reduce waste production by using your items and food more efficiently. If you want to get rid of old but still working things, be creative to give it a new look or use it in another way.
By doing so, your material things will be used more effectively. If they cannot be put to use anymore, separate them and give them for recycling.
6. Avoid Plastic
Plastic waste is a big environmental problem that leads to significant plastic pollution and the degradation of our planet. In order to cut down plastic waste, avoid buying items with plastic wrapper or packaging, refrain from using disposable plastic bags, cups, plates, containers, cutlery, etc. Instead, bring your own reusable stuff, which can be reused several times.
It is highly essential that children should know about the adverse environmental consequences of our daily life behavior and the ways we can improve our ecological footprint.
This education should start early in school. Children are usually more eager to learn new things and change their behavior compared to adults.
These children are more likely to act in an environmentally-friendly manner when they grow up, and they might also convince their parents to behave in a more ecologically friendly way.
8. Convince Others
You can further enhance your positive impact by convincing other people regarding the importance of behaving in an environmentally way. Tell them what environmental degradation really means for future generations and how changing small things in our daily life can prevent these adverse effects.
As you can see, there are a lot of things that can have an effect on the environment. If we are not careful, we can contribute to the environmental degradation that is occurring all around the world.
We can, however, take action to stop it and take care of the world that we live in by providing environmental education to the people who will help them pick familiarity with their surroundings that will enable to take care of environmental concerns thus making it more useful and protected for our children and other future generations.