Effects of Environmental Degradation
Environmental degradation often occurs as a result of technological, institutional and socio-economic activities. It occurs when the natural resources become depleted and these resources include soil, water and air. Environmental degradation not only affects mankind but animals, plants, wildlife and microorganisms as well.
There are several factors that contribute to such environmental changes and these include urbanization, population growth, economic growth, agricultural intensification, increased energy use and increased transportation. There are productivity and health problems that arise as a result of environmental degradation and they include the following:
- Soil degradation-The risk of malnutrition increase as a result of depleted soils. The productivity level on tropical soil is estimated to go down to a range of 0.5 to 1.5 % while secondary productivity is lost as a result of reservoirs siltation, hydrologic investments and transportation channels.
- Air pollution-As per the United Nations estimation, air pollution in urban areas causes three hundred thousand to seven hundred thousand deaths every year. in addition to this, it also causes chronic health complications for majority of people. This is largely attributed to industrial activity and emissions from vehicles, causing acid rain on water bodies and in forests.
- Water scarcity and pollution-The UN estimates that over 2 million deaths are as a result of water pollution and that there are billions of illnesses that arise as a result of the same every year. There are several factors that affect productivity such as costs associated with provision of safe water and adverse water shortage and pollution effects on environmental resources like aquifer depletion and declining fisheries which lead to irrevocable compaction.
- Hazardous and solid wastes-Blocked drains and uncollected garbage trigger the spread of disease and health risks that are as a result of hazardous wastes are localized but acute such wastes also affect groundwater resources by polluting them further placing the environment at great danger.
- Deforestation-Disease and death can also result from cases of localized flooding which is as a result of deforestation. Some of the impacts that are associated with deforestation include carbon sequestration, prevention of erosion and sustainable loss of logging potential.
- Atmospheric changes-The depletion of the ozone layer as a result of environmental degradation has led to outbreak of additional three hundred thousand cases of skin cancer every year as well as 1.7 million cataracts cases. Global warming has also led to increased risks of climatic disasters.
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