Humans are the only living beings on planet earth who are responsible for the destruction of its environment. Humans pollute air, water, soil, light, sound, and even the sky. This is due to human activities like travel, power generation, industrial waste dumped into rivers, polyethylene waste, deforestation, nuclear testing, automobiles, industrialisation, artificial methods used in agriculture, cell phones, etc. This pollution is harmful not only to humans but also to animals and plants. Environmental pollution decreases the healthy life span of every living creature.
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.
Human activities affect the environment by contributing to air, water, and soil pollution. While it can be difficult to asees which pollutants are associated with specific effects on the environment or public health, it is generally accepted that air pollution can indeed cause public health problems and also harm plant and animal life. Pollution isn’t just limited to the air. It can affect soil or waterways and can come from human waste, industrial chemicals and other sources. These toxins can exert tremendous stress on the natural world, leading to environmental degradation and problems like acid rain and harmful algal blooms in the ocean.
Noise pollution: The man-made noise due to mechanised automobiles, industries, trains, aeroplanes, loudspeakers, etc, causes noise pollution which has impact on both biotic and abiotic components of the environment.
Water pollution: Human activities in respect of disposal of sewage wastes, solid wastes, municipal wastes, agricultural and industrial wastes cause the environment to be unfit for day to day use. Besides, polluted water spreads or leads to different diseases.
Deforestation refers to decrease in forest areas across the world that are destroyed for uses such as agricultural croplands, urbanisation, or mining activities. Growing populations have to be housed, which means they seek more space to build homes and cities. This often involves clearing forests to make room for urban and suburban development, as well as to provide building materials. Currently, it is estimated that 18 million acres of trees are cut every year to create space for development and for use in wood products.
Deforestation has many effects, including decreasing oxygen levels (and increasing greenhouse gases), elevated risk of soil erosion, and the destruction of animal habitats. But as is the case with industrial agriculture, some groups have endeavoured to create a positive counter-impact to deforestation’s detrimental effects on the environment.
Although the industrial activities of man provide for basic needs of the society, simultaneously the same release a lot of pollutants in the environment. The pollutants cause loss of raw materials, health hazards, increase in death rate, damage to crops, making the environment unfit for living organisms. There are a number of forms of industrial pollution. Industrial pollution can also impact air quality, and it can enter the soil, causing widespread environmental problems. Industrial activities are a major source of air, water and land pollution, leading to illness and loss of life all over the world.
Hundreds of different types of paper are produced and used daily: newspapers, kitchen towel paper, toilet paper, cheques, documents, receipts – the list goes on and on. It is important to remember that the only resource for paper is trees. Because of the need for hygiene and wasteful lifestyles, demand for paper is constantly increasing, so trees are being cut down to meet market needs, leading to changes in the world’s ecosystem.
Nuclear weapon testing is the most dangerous human activity which destroys nature on a much wider scale. These tests are conducted either on the surface or under the ground or even sometimes under the water. These tests result in an uncontrolled release of radioactive materials which have several harmful health effects on human, animals and the whole nature.
With the great rise in population, there is also rising food production. To aid this production, crops are produced through the use of toxic fertilisers and have extremely poor nutritional values.
HABITAT LOSS AND EXTINCTION
Wildlife conservation is becoming tougher because their natural habitat is constantly being threatened and destroyed. Water pollution and deforestation are the main reasons for habitat loss. Deforestation may give rise to abundant land for humans but leaves animals homeless. Human activities are triggering extinction of species to unprecedented and mass scale. The destruction of natural habitat along with environmental and global warming, poaching, pollution, and deforestation are some of the leading causes of this tragedy.
Global warming refer to the rapid rise in earth’s average surface temperature over the past century, mainly due to the greenhouse gases released by people burning fossil fuels necessary for industrialisation. It results in the melting of ice caps and increases the sea levels, triggering tsunamis, cyclones and other natural calamities.
—The writer is a BS 5th Semester student at Govt Degree College Bhaderwah. [email protected]