Effects of Environmental Degradation
Environmental degradation refers to the deterioration of environment through depletion of natural resources like water, soil and air. It leads to destruction of ecosystems and extinction of wildlife.In order to effectively understand the problems facing our environment, it is important to examine the effects of environmental degradation.
Over the years, our environment has been facing a series of threats, which have contributed to major changes in the life of humans, plants, animals and the planet in general. These agents of degradation include pollution, climate change, deforestation, desertification, irresponsible use of technology among others. This has raised significant concern from the international community, which has consistently advocated for sustainable environmental management practices.
The environment consists of a variety of resources ranging from land, water bodies to the atmosphere, including all the plant and animal life that thrive in them. This means if any of them is destroyed, other elements will feel the impacts too. In the end, it is the plant, animal species and human life that depend on the environment, which suffer the consequences of degradation.
The Main Effects of Environmental Degradation
The effects of environmental degradation vary based on the causes of destruction, level of damage and for how long the problem has persisted. The following are some of the key impacts of the degradation of the environment;
Contamination and health risks
Pollution is one the main cause of environmental degradation, which results from poor disposal of waste. Although a greater portion of wastes come from industries, families also have a significant contribution. These wastes carry toxic substances that are deposited on land, in our water bodies and even the atmosphere. This not only causes littering but also contaminates water resources, air and land, increasing chances of infections to both plants, animals and humans. The result is distorted growth and development, and even death in some circumstances.
Loss of Biodiversity
When the environment is destroyed, it becomes inhabitable for plant and animal life. Although plants and animals are able to adapt to various environmental conditions, many are often forced to move to new locations when their habitats are threatened. Besides, some are also wiped out in the process due to reduced ecosystem adaptability. Eventually, diverse genetic resources are lost.
Poor crop yields
In many parts of the world, especially sub-Saharan Africa, farmers have been experiencing significant drop in yields. As a result of pollution and factors like flooding, deforestation among others, the quality of land has been negatively affected making it hard for plants to thrive in some areas.
Agents like floods and droughts do not only interfere with land but also exposes crops to bad weather conditions that hinder productivity. This is one of the reasons many nations remain poor since they can no longer produce enough food for their growing populations.
We owe the fresh air that we breathe to the atmosphere and in the event that it is polluted, our lives and those of plants and animals are under threat. As a result of fossil fuels and other toxic chemicals released into the air, the ozone layer is depleted. This not only hinders the purity of air but also exposes us to certain risks like cancer.
Global warming, which is also another environmental degradation indicator has been blamed for various natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis.
Loss in Tourism Industry
The environment plays a greater part in the tourism industry since it is home to the various attraction sites and activities for tourists. Due to degradation several tourist attraction sites and features have either been destroyed or lost. This implies visitors no longer travel to those places, cutting down the revenues in tourism industry.
Effects of Environmental Degradation- bottom line
Besides the above outlined effects of environmental degradation, there are various others too are experienced on individual level and across the globe. Of great significance is that although climatic changes also play a role in the destruction of the environment, most of these challenges are caused by man. In fact, we pollute the environment in many ways ranging from how we manage wastes to taking care of the areas around us. The impacts of degradation can only be tamed if we start to handle the environment responsibly and with kindness. Besides, relevant agencies should also come up with adequate and effective measures for sustainable environmental conservation.
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