Social Studies

Environmental Problems, Causes, Effects and Solutions

Olawunmi Omosanya - Mon, 10th June, 2019 @ 10:11: AM

Environmental Problems:

Your environment consists of everything that surrounds you. These things surrounding you may be either visible or invisible to your eyes. The environment one finds himself or herself in may affect one’s state health, behavior and development. We are alive today because of the kind of environment we find ourselves in. If we travelled to planet Mars for instance (which will be an entirely new or alien environment to us), we may not be able to fit in well in its environment due to lack of oxygen). Also, we have heard of children who died as a result of diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever and on. The deaths of these innocent children may be attributed to the kind of environment they had found themselves in. Please read on food, water and air borne diseases here.

Present in our environment will include some of the followings:

  • Air or Atmosphere
  • Soil
  • Water
  • Bacteria
  • The people around you
  • The animals around you
  • The phone or computer on which you may be reading this article and so on

Please read on the atmosphere here


Just consider your environment to be the things that make up your surroundings


Causes of Environmental Problems

Environmental problems can occur naturally or can be manmade.

  • Manmade environmental problems will include the followings

1. Pollution: Pollution of the air, water and land:

  • Air pollution is the introduction of foreign, harmful or toxic substances into the atmosphere.
  • Water pollution is the introduction of foreign, harmful or toxic substances into water bodies like rivers, seas and oceans.
  • Land pollution is the introduction of foreign, harmful or toxic substances on land.

Please read more on air pollution here.

2. Ozone layer depletion: The ozone layer is found in a layer of the atmosphere called stratosphere. It protects us from the dangerous ultraviolet rays coming from the sun. It acts by trapping or absorbing these ultraviolet rays before they reach the earth. The use of chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) has resulted in ozone layer depletion. Read on the layers and composition of the atmosphere here.

3. Deforestation: This is the process of felling or cutting down the trees that makes up a forest. The opposite of deforestation is afforestation.

4. Increased waste as a result of an increasing population.

5. Uncontrolled urbanization: People tend to move from rural areas to urban areas in search of a better life. If this movement isn’t checked, over population may result in the urban areas. Overpopulation generally has a negative impact on the environment as it will lead to an increased amount of waste by the roadside, poor housing conditions, poor roads and so on. At the moment of writing this article, the beautiful city of Lagos in Nigeria is being affected by uncontrolled urbanization.

6. Flooding: This results when a large volume of water covers an area of land that is normally dry. It may occur naturally via rainfall or artificially when proper drainage channels are not put in place.

7. Desertification: This is the process that makes a land become a desert. These processes can be both natural and manmade; for instance drought, a cause of desertification is naturally occurring while the felling of trees (deforestation) is manmade.

  • Naturally occurring environmental problems include the followings

1. Earthquakes: An earthquake is a sudden and violent vibration on the surface of the earth which may result to the damaging of lives and properties.

2. Drought: Drought is said to occur when there is very little or no rainfall over a long period of time.

3. Tsunami: This is an extremely large wave in the sea that may cause its water to overflow into land, destroying lives and properties in the process. A tsunami occurred in Japan on March 11, 2011 in the city of Sendai. This tsunami swept away cars and buildings as it was a devastating sight to see. Numerous liives were lost in the process.

4. Tornado: A tornado is seen when a violent storm with strong wind move in a circular manner. It can carry along with it dust particles, animals, humans and other objects.

5. Hurricane: This is a violent storm with a very strong fast winds that moves over a large area of land, causing damage to lives and properties. An example is hurricane katrina which occurred from August 23, 2005 through August 31, 2005 in Florida; as 1,833 fatalities were recorded.

6. Erosion: Erosion is simply the washing away of the top soil. We have different types including that of the soil. Please read on soil erosion here.


Effects of Environmental Problems

  1. Loss of lives and properties from natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis.
  2. Increased crime rate which may result from hunger.
  3. Diseases will result from the pollution of air, water and land.
  4. Hunger as a result of drought and erosion.
  5. Poor road network and constant traffic as a result of over population.
  6. Cancer as a result of the ultraviolet rays coming from the sun.
  7. Desertification (a fertile land becomes a desert).
  8. Depletion of the ozone layer.
  9. Flooding results from lack of drainages.


Solutions to environmental problems

  1. The citizens should be educated on their environment and the hazards that may result from human activities.
  2. Appropriate laws should be put in place to regulate industrial activities in urban areas.
  3. Drainages should be constructed to reduce flood and erosion.
  4. Afforestation should be encouraged and practiced.
  5. Government should create laws and policies that will support the development of the rural areas.
  6. Government should provide clean water for her citizens.
  7. The use of electric cars should be encouraged because they are environmental friendly.
  8. Indiscriminate burning should be prohibited by law.
  9. Non use of chemicals containing chlorofluorocarbon.

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