News about global warming, melting of the glaciers, rising of the sea levels, etc., are very common these days. When the natural state of the environment is compromised upon it leads to breakdown of the biological diversity, and harms the health of the environment. This is called environmental degradation. This process can either be caused by nature itself or it could be man-made. If you were to compare the face of earth as it is today to what it was hundreds of years ago, you would see just how drastically our environment has changed. When we talk about this subject, the intensity of the problem is not actually understood, but it could potentially cause destruction of the human race itself.
Root Causes of Environmental Degradation
Environmental degradation is most noticed in the form of land degradation. Both, nature, and man have contributed to this. The effects are most noticeable in the arid, semi arid, and dry sub humid lands. One of its main causes is the over grazing of land. Also, the green cover has almost completely depleted in many parts of the world. Forests have made way for human settlements. This has resulted in the drastic rise in temperature in recent times.
The depletion of forest cover has resulted in large-scale erosion, which in turn, is responsible for loss of nutrients in the soil. This has caused the soil to become barren, and in some cases sterile. Without forests to hold them, the top soil of the land is easily blown away, causing further damage to the environment.
Pollution too is eating away into the environment. Here we are talking about air pollution, where toxic substances have polluted the air. This is caused by a number of reasons. One of the most prominent causes is vehicle emissions. With each passing day, the number of vehicles are on the rise, which means increase in air pollution. The other cause is the release of chemical waste from various factories. This waste often forms a layer in the atmosphere, which can be a major cause of concern.
While talking about this issue, we cannot forget the exploitation of fossil fuels. Ever since fossil fuels were discovered, they have been exploited. This has resulted in its reserves depleting all around the world, When fossil fuels are burnt, they release toxins into the air, which further aggravates environmental degradation.
Overpopulation, perhaps, is the root cause of all environmental woes. The land reserve that is available on Earth is finite. However, the demands are ever-increasing due to increasing population. There is only so much that one can actually extract from the earth. This has led to widespread use of chemicals and other toxins to produce more food to feed the ever-increasing number of people. This has further had a real bad impact on the Earth. With the use of chemicals, the biological balance of Earth has also been destroyed as the microorganisms have been killed.
Entire ecosystems have been adversely affects because of these factors. An ecosystem is made up living and non living elements. However, when any one of them is destroyed, it leads to the destruction of the entire ecosystem, as the balance is lost. Plants and animals undoubtedly form an important feature of the ecosystem, but the microorganisms along with water sources and soil cannot be forgotten either.
Industrial waste is known to be hazardous to the environment. The waste could be in the form of liquid waste, which pollute the rivers and cause harm to the ecosystem present in the rivers, or it could be solid waste, which is not biodegradable and pollutes the environment.
It goes unsaid that the very existence of the human race depends on the preservation of the environment, and this Earth, that we call home. One will have to work towards conserving air, water and soil, and try to restore balance in the ecosystem, which has been destroyed, or is on the verge of destruction. In other words, one will have to work towards restoring natural habitats, and make sure no further harm is done to our wonderful planet.