• Pollution, biodiversity loss, animal extinction, deforestation, desertification, global warming, and other issues are all covered under the umbrella term "environmental degradation."
• Environmental degradation is the degradation of the environment caused by the depletion of resources such as air, water, and soil as well as ecosystem destruction and wildlife extinction. The environment is degraded when natural habitats are destroyed or natural resources are depleted.
• It is defined as any alteration or disturbance to the environment that is deemed harmful or unwelcome. Environmental degradation is one of the ten threats listed by the United Nations' High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change.
• Environmental degradation is defined as "The reduction of the capacity of the environment to meet social and ecological objectives and needs" by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.
• Environmental degradation is a process in which the natural environment is harmed in some way, resulting in a reduction in biological diversity and overall environmental health.
• It is defined as a process in which the planet's natural environment degrades to the point where biodiversity and overall health of the planet suffer significant declines. In other words, this phenomenon can be defined as the degradation of the Earth's natural environment as a result of excessive resource exploitation. Water, air, flora, fauna and soil are examples of these resources.
CAUSES OF ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION
• Human disturbance is the primary cause of environmental degradation. Many factors influence environmental changes, including:
2. Increased population
5. Economic development
6. Agriculture intensification
7. Institutional factor
8. Habitat fragmentation
9. Soil erosion and desertification
10. Water logging and soil salinity
11. An increase in energy consumption
12. Expansion of transportation
• Another factor that contributes to environmental degradation is pollution.
• When the environment is polluted, it means that toxic substances have made it unfit to live in.
• Vehicle emissions, agricultural runoff, unintentional chemical release from factories, and poorly managed natural resource harvesting are all sources of pollution.
• Although population is an important source of development, when it exceeds the support systems' threshold limits, it becomes a major source of environmental degradation. Development programs, no matter how innovative, are unlikely to yield desired results unless the relationship between the multiplying population and the life support system can be stabilized.
• Population growth has a negative impact on the environment, primarily through the use of natural resources and the production of waste, and is linked to environmental stresses such as biodiversity loss
, air and water pollution, and increased pressure on arable land.
• On just 2.4 percent of the world's land area, India supports 17% of the world's population. The country's current population growth rate of 1.85 percent continues to pose a population challenge. Given the interconnections between population and environment, a strong push for population control cannot be overstated.
• Environmental degradation is said to be both a cause and an effect of poverty.
• The circular relationship between poverty and the environment is a complicated phenomenon.
• Inequality may contribute to unsustainable development because the poor, who rely on natural resources more than the wealthy, deplete natural resources more quickly because they have no realistic prospects of gaining access to alternative resources.
• Furthermore, because the poor rely directly on natural assets, a degraded environment can hasten the process of impoverishment.
• Despite a significant reduction in the country's poverty rate, the absolute number of poor people has remained constant at around 320 million over the years.
• To break the link between poverty and the environment, it is critical to accelerate poverty alleviation.
• Due to a lack of gainful employment opportunities in villages and environmental concerns, poor families are increasingly migrating to cities. Megacities are forming, and slums are spreading.
• Between 1901 and 2011, the urban population nearly tenfold increased.
• The degradation of the urban environment has resulted from such rapid and unplanned city expansion.
• It has widened the gap between demand and supply for infrastructural services such as energy, housing, transportation, communication, education, water supply and sewerage, and recreational amenities, depleting the cities' valuable environmental resource base.
• As a result, air and water quality are deteriorating, waste is being generated, slums are proliferating, and undesirable land use changes are occurring, all of which contribute to urban poverty.
• Environmental degradation is caused in large part by market failure, or the lack of or poor functioning markets for environmental goods and services.
• In this context, environmental degradation is a type of consumption or production externality characterized by a disparity in private and social costs (or benefits).
• One of the reasons for market failure could be a lack of clearly defined property rights. On the other hand, market distortions caused by price controls and subsidies may make it more difficult to achieve environmental goals.
• The nature of environmental problems is influenced by the level and pattern of economic development.
• The promotion of policies and programs for economic growth and social welfare has been a consistent theme in India's development goals.
• Most industries' manufacturing technology has put a heavy burden on the environment, particularly through intensive resource and energy use, as evidenced by natural resource depletion (fossil fuel, minerals, timber), water, air, and land contamination, health hazards, and natural eco-system degradation.
• Industrial sources have contributed to a relatively high share of air pollution due to the high proportion of fossil fuel as the main source of industrial energy and the growth of major air polluting industries such as iron and steel, fertilizers, and cement.
• Large quantities of industrial and hazardous wastes, resulting from the expansion of chemical-based industry, have exacerbated the waste management problem, posing serious health risks to the environment.
• Transportation activities have a wide range of environmental impacts, including air pollution, noise from road traffic, and oil spills from shipping. India's transportation infrastructure has grown significantly in terms of network and services.
• As a result, in cities like Delhi, road transport contributes significantly to air pollution. The majority of port and harbor projects have an adverse effect on sensitive coastal eco systems. Their construction has varying degrees of impact on hydrology, surface water quality, fisheries, coral reefs, and mangroves.
• It has direct environmental impacts due to farming activities that contribute to soil erosion, land salinization, and nutrient loss.
• The spread of the green revolution
has been accompanied by an overexploitation of land and water resources, as well as an increase in the use of fertilizers and pesticides.
• Land degradation has also been exacerbated by shifting cultivation. Leaching from the widespread use of pesticides and fertilizers is a major source of water contamination.
• Land degradation is exacerbated by intensive agriculture and irrigation, which causes salinization, alkalization, and water logging.
• The Government's Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) is in charge of environmental protection, conservation, and development.
• Other Ministries, State Governments, Pollution Control Boards, and a number of scientific and technical institutions, universities, non-governmental organizations, and others collaborate closely with the Ministry.
• The Environment (Protection) Act of 1986 is the most important piece of legislation that governs environmental management. The Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980 and the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 are two other important pieces of legislation in the area.
• The existing system's flaw is the lack of enforcement capabilities of environmental institutions at both the federal and state levels.
• At the project's inception/planning stage, there is no effective coordination among various Ministries/Institutions regarding the integration of environmental concerns.
• Current policies are also dispersed across a number of government agencies, each with its own set of policy objectives. Many projects are stalled due to a lack of trained personnel and a comprehensive database.
• The majority of State Government institutions are small and understaffed in terms of technical personnel and resources.
• Although the overall quality of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies and the effective implementation of the EIA process has improved over time, institutional strengthening measures such as key professional training and staffing with appropriate technical personnel are required to make the EIA procedure a more effective tool for environmental protection and sustainable development.
• Habitat fragmentation has long-term environmental consequences, some of which can result in the extinction of entire ecosystems.
• An ecosystem
is a distinct unit that contains all of the living and non-living elements that make up the environment.
• Plants and animals are obvious members, but other components that they rely on, such as streams, lakes, and soils, will also be included.
• When development breaks up solid stretches of land, habitats
• Roads that cut through forests or even trails that wind through prairies are examples. While it may not appear to be a major problem at first glance, there are serious consequences.
• To meet all of their needs for food, habitat, and other resources, some wildlife species require large swaths of land. These animals are known as area sensitive animals.
• Large patches of habitat become extinct when the environment is fragmented.
• It becomes more difficult for wildlife to obtain the resources they require to survive, and they may become endangered or threatened. Without the animals that play a role in the food web, the environment suffers.
• Land disturbance is a more serious consequence.
• Garlic mustard and purple loosestrife are two weedy plant species that are both opportunistic and invasive. They can take hold of the habitat if there is a breach. These aggressive plants have the ability to completely take over an environment, displacing native flora. As a result, there is a habitat with a single dominant plant that does not provide enough food for all of the wildlife. Ecosystems as a whole are on the verge of extinction.
• Some weeds are so invasive and aggressive that the federal or state governments declare them noxious to prevent them from destroying natural areas. The cultivation of noxious weeds, as well as their sale, is prohibited by law.
SOIL EROSION AND DESERTIFICATION:
• It takes centuries for the fertile topsoil to develop. However, due to human activities such as over-cultivation, unrestricted grazing, deforestation, and poor irrigation practices, it can be easily removed, resulting in arid patches of land.
• A desert is formed when large barren patches extend and meet over time.
• Desertification is now recognized as a major problem on a global scale, particularly as a result of increased urbanization.
WATER LOGGING AND SOIL SALINITY:
• Irrigation that does not allow for proper water drainage results in water logging in the soil.
• Water logging not only harms crops, but it also draws salt to the soil's surface. The salt then forms a thin crust on the land surface or begins to accumulate at the plant roots. Increased salt content is detrimental to crop growth and is extremely harmful to agriculture.
• Some of the problems that have arisen as a result of the Green Revolution include water logging and soil salinity.
• Soil degradation can occur as a result of improper land use. Land degradation is frequently caused by poor farming techniques.
• When it rains heavily, leaving fields bare or ploughing them up and down the sides of a hill can cause severe soil erosion because the soil has nothing to hold it in place.
• When crop residue and animal manure are ploughed back into the soil, they replenish and fertilize the soil. If, on the other hand, crops are cut to feed animals and manure is burned as fuel, the soil will have no way of replenishing itself, resulting in a decrease in fertility.
• Landowners sometimes make changes to how they use their land in an attempt to make it more productive, but these changes often harm the land and make it less productive.
IMPACT OF ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADTION
1. The impact on the environment varies depending on the cause, the habitat, and the plants and animals that live there.
2. Environmental degradation manifests itself in a variety of ways. Traditionally, resources would simply run out. Natural resources such as minerals and oil deposits, as well as air, water, and soil, are all vulnerable to depletion due to overuse.
3. Habitat pressures that confine animals to a small area can contribute to resource depletion by consuming a large amount of material in a small space.
4. Because humans have only been given one Earth to work with, and if the environment becomes irreparably harmed, it could mean the end of human existence, many international organizations recognize environmental degradation as one of the major threats facing the planet.
5. Environmental degradation, one of the planet's major threats today, is destined to make life difficult for all life forms, including humans, sooner or later. According to studies conducted by some of the world's most prestigious organizations, the environment is deteriorating at an alarming rate.
6. Indeed, the United Nations' High Level Threat Panel has identified environmental degradation as one of the top ten threats to humanity. This issue is listed alongside issues such as poverty, terrorism, and civil war, indicating that we are on the verge of disaster.
7. In essence, life on the planet is so intertwined that a decrease in one attribute has a domino effect on all the other attributes that are dependent on it. It is the extinction of wildlife and the destruction of ecosystems.
8. It is defined as any alteration or disturbance to the environment that is deemed harmful or unwelcome.