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The environment is the surrounding in which we live. It consists of various aspects like physical, biological, social, cultural etc. Human beings perform all the activities on the environment like the construction of building, houses, bridges, industries etc. These activities affect the various aspects of the environment. They change or disturb their condition. The different aspects of the environment are also changed or disturbed due to various natural disasters like earthquake, volcano etc. This is also known as environmental degradation. Environmental degradation can be defined as the deterioration of the environment due to depletion of resources such as air, water, and soil , the destruction of the ecosystem and the eradication of wildlife.
The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction defines environmental degradation as "The reduction of the capacity of the environment to meet social and ecological objectives and needs". There are various types of environmental degradation. When the various aspects of the environment are destroyed or damaged due to human activities or natural disaster, the environment is degraded. There are various causes of environmental degradation like pollution, overpopulation, deforestation, flood, landslide, earthquake etc.
If the environmental degradation is caused due to the natural disaster like volcano, earthquake, etc. then it is called natural cause. As the population of the world is increasing day by day, the natural resources are being excessively used to fulfill the needs and demands. Various human activities like construction of buildings, industries, bridges, using of chemical fertilizers, pollution, cutting down of trees, etc cause degradation of the environment. In this note, we study about the major human activities that cause environmental degradation.
The cutting down of trees to fulfill the human needs and desires is known as deforestation. Human beings obtain all the necessary things from the forest. They obtain firewood, timber, fodder, grass, etc. from the forest. Rapid population growth is the main cause of deforestation. Trees are cut down by humans for settlement, cultivation of crops, construction projects, urbanization etc. About 200 trees are cut down in the rainforest per minute and about half of the world's tropical forest has been cleared. Deforestation can be defined as the permanent destruction of forests in order to make the land available for other uses. Deforestation is the main cause of global warming.
Causes of Deforestation
The forests are cleared to make more lands available for shelter, urbanization, cultivation, cattle ranching etc. Some of the major causes of deforestation are discussed below,
Effects of Deforestation
Forests are very important.We depend on forests for our survival. We use various things from the forest. Forests provide habitat for millions of living creatures. It regulates water cycle, carbon cycle, oxygen cycle, etc. Deforestation is the major cause of global warming. Deforestation affects all the things that are connected with forest directly or indirectly. Some of the major effects of deforestation are discussed below,
Urbanization also contributes to environmental degradation. Human beings cut down trees and change the landforms to establish big cities. They transform villages into towns and towns into cities. There is the increase in population in urban areas. Urbanization affects various aspects of the environment like the forest, water resources, fertile land, etc. Like this, the degradation of the environment is caused due to urbanization.
The number of factories and industries are increasing day by day to fulfill the increasing needs and demands of people. As we know that, industries need raw materials and fuels to produce various things. More industries require more raw materials and fuels. The excessive use of raw materials and fuel from environment causes degradation of the environment. Industries not only use the natural resources but it also releases harmful smoke, harmful gasses, harmful chemicals and waste materials which cause environmental pollutions and hence environmental degradation. So, raw materials should not be excessively used. The wastes of industries should be properly managed. We should adopt new techniques to minimize the environmental degradation while running factories and industries.
Human beings utilize various natural resources of the earth such as water, air, minerals, soil, fossil fuel, wildlife, vegetation etc to fulfill their needs and desires. As the population is increasing day by day, the needs and demands are also increasing day by day. To fulfill the needs and demands, theses natural resources are being excessively used. They are being exploited by the various human activities. The overuse and exploitation of natural resources result in environmental degradation. Not only human beings but all the living organisms on earth depends on natural resources for their survival. These living organisms cannot survive in the degraded environment. So, we should protect the natural resources.
Plants are very important natural resources. It provides foods, shelter, etc to all the living organisms. Plants provide air and regulate the water cycle. Plants play very important role in balancing the ecosystem. We get firewood, timber, fodder, fruits, medicines etc. from the forest. Human beings graze their cattle in grasslands and forest. They cut down trees for various purpose. The vegetations are being depleted day by day. Some of the effects of depletion of vegetation are given below,
Animals and Birds
Animals and Birds are very important natural resources. They add beauty to nature. Human beings use animals and birds for various purpose. Human beings use horse, donkey, sheep, buffalo, ox etc. for transportation. They use sheep, buffalo, goat, chicken, etc for meat. They get milk from cow, buffalo, goat, sheep, etc. Human beings used to use birds for communication is previous time. Humans beings cut down trees for various purpose such as for shelter, agriculture land etc. When trees are cut down, animals and birds lost their habitat. The number of animals and birds are decreasing. Some species of animals and birds has become extinct. It also affects the food cycle. When there is depletion of grasses and vegetation, the number of herbivores decreases due to lack of food and the number of carnivores decreases due to the decrease in the number of herbivores.
No living organisms can survive without water. It is very important natural resources. Human beings use water resources for various purpose like for drinking, washing, cleaning, irrigation, generating hydroelectricity, etc. But the increasing population and human activities have polluted the water resources. Harmful waste chemicals coming from the industries mix with water resources like rivers, lakes etc. The sewage and waste water that is produced by each household is also mixed with various water resources.Various constructional activities are also responsible for the depletion of water resources.Human beings throw waste materials in the river. When the water gets polluted, it affects aquatic animals as well as human beings. Some aquatic animals may extinct due to polluted water. Humans suffer from various water-borne diseases. It also affects other animals. So, we should not pollute the water resources.
The main source of energy fro the earth is solar energy. It is used by green plants for the preparation of foods. As the plants are the producer, all the animals depend on plants for food. Petroleum products such as petrol, diesel, coal, etc that are formed under the earth crust from dead bodies of plants and animals are used as fuel. They are non- renewable sources of energy. These fuels are being excessively used by humans. Their amount is decreasing day by day as they have limited stock in nature. The overuse of theses energy sources can cause energy crisis in near future. Human beings cut down trees for firewoods. Deforestation causes various natural calamities like landslides, flood, soil erosion etc.
Air is a very important natural resource. It is the basis of life for all living beings. We use oxygen for respiration. Plants need carbon dioxide for the preparation of foods. But the air is getting polluted due to human activities. Harmful smoke released by various vehicles and industries mixed with air and pollute it. Air gets polluted by mining activities, burning of fuel, agricultural activities etc. Humans beings suffer from various respiratory diseases due to air pollution. Air pollution contributes to global warming. It also causes acid rain. Like humans, other animals and plants are also adversely affected by air pollution. Air pollution also causes depletion of ozone layer.
Land provides habitat and food for plants and animals. Human beings perform all the activities on land. The land is getting polluted due to various human activities. Using of chemical fertilizers, various constructional activities, mining activities, deforestation and soil erosion are responsible for land pollution. Land pollution affects all the living organisms that live on land.
Minerals are naturally occurring substances that are found in the earth crust. Minerals are the valuable natural resources. They are metals and non- metals. Minerals are non- renewable resources. Minerals are used by human beings for various purposes. Minerals are used for making different things. Nowaday, minerals are being excessively used. Excessive use of minerals can create a crisis of minerals in near future. So, we should use minerals very wisely. We should not use minerals for unnecessary things.
Environmental degradation is the damage or disturbance in any aspect of the environment due to human activities and natural disasters. The main three causes of environmental degradation are given below,
Any three causes of deforestation are given below,
Any three effects of deforestation are given below,