Environmental Degradation

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.[1] As indicated by the I=PAT equation, environmental impact (I) or degradation is caused by the combination of an already very large and increasing human population (P), continually increasing economic growth or per capita affluence (A), and the application of resource depleting and polluting technology (T).[2] [3]

Environmental degradation is one of the ten threats officially cautioned by the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change of the United Nations. 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”.[4] Environmental degradation is of many types. When natural habitats are destroyed or natural resources are depleted, the environment is degraded. Efforts to counteract this problem include environmental protection and environmental resources management.

 What is Environmental Degradation?

Environmental degradation is the disintegration of the earth or deterioration of the environment through 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. It occurs when earth’s natural resources are depleted and environment is compromised in the form of extinction of species, pollution in 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.

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 gets to be 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 territory with a solitary predominant plant which doesn’t give satisfactory food assets to all the environmental life. Whole environments can be destroyed because of these invasive species.
  2. Pollution:Pollution, in whatever form, whether it is air, water, land or noise is harmful for the environment. Air pollution pollutes the air that we breathe which causes health issues. Water pollution degrades the quality of water that we use for drinking purposes. Land pollution results in degradation of earth’s surface as a result of human activities. 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.
  3. Overpopulation:Rapid population growth puts strain on natural resources which results in degradation of our environment. Mortality rate has gone down due to better medical facilities which have resulted in increased lifespan. More population simple 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 of environmental degradation.
  4. Landfills:Landfills pollute the environment and destroy the beauty of the city. Landfills come within the city due 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 foul smell when burned and cause huge environmental degradation. 
  5. DeforestationDeforestation is the cutting down of trees to make way for more homes and industries. Rapid growth in population and urban sprawl are two of the major causes of deforestation. Apart from that, use of forest land for agriculture, animal grazing, harvests for fuel wood 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.
  1.  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 HealthHuman health might be at the receiving end as a result of the environmental degradation. Areas exposed to toxic air pollutants can cause respiratory problems like pneumonia and asthma. Millions of people are known to have died of due to indirect effects of air pollution.

2. Loss of BiodiversityBiodiversity is important for maintaining 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 few of the major causes for loss of biodiversity.

3.Ozone Layer Depletion:Ozone layer is responsible for protecting earth from harmful ultraviolet rays. The presence of chlorofluorocarbons, hydro chlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere is causing the ozone layer to deplete. As it will deplete, it will emit harmful radiations back to the earth.

4.Loss for Tourism Industry:The deterioration of environment can be a huge setback for 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 big 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 loss of tourism industry.

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 which 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.


The impact of environmental disasters can be devastating on the social, economic, and environmental systems of a country or region as well as the global ecosystem. Environmental disasters do not recognize man-made borders, and threaten the legacy left to future generations of a clean and supportive environment. Because of the interdependency of earth ecosystems international co-operation is paramount to prevent, and when disaster strikes, respond to relieve quickly and effectively the effects of environmental disasters. Thus, Governments, International organizations and communities must work together – at all levels – to lessen the risks associated with environmental degradation and its contributing factors, such as climate change, and ensure that vulnerable people are prepared to survive and adapt. At the same time, companies, organizations and individuals must also ensure that their work is environmentally friendly and sustainable.



[1] Johnson, D.L., S.H. Ambrose, T.J. Bassett, M.L. Bowen, D.E. Crummey, J.S. Isaacson, D.N. Johnson, P. Lamb, M. Saul, and A.E. Winter-Nelson. 1997. Meanings of environmental terms. Journal of Environmental Quality 26: 581–589.

[2] Chertow, M.R., “The IPAT equation and its variants”, Journal of Industrial Ecology, 4 (4):13–29, 2001.

[3] Huesemann, Michael H., and Joyce A. Huesemann (2011). Technofix: Why Technology Won’t Save Us or the Environment, Chapter 6, “Sustainability or Collapse?”, New Society Publishers, ISBN 0865717044.

[4] “ISDR : Terminology”. The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. 2004-03-31. Retrieved 2010-06-09.

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