Environmental Degradation

Environmental degradation is a result of socio-economical, technological and institutional activities. Degradation occurs when Earth’s natural resources are depleted. These resources which are affected include:

  • Water
  • Air
  • Soil

The degradation also impacts our:

  • Wildlife
  • Plants
  • Animals
  • Micro-organisms

Environmental changes are based on many factors including:

  • Urbanization
  • Population growth
  • Economic growth
  • Intensification of agriculture
  • Increase in energy use
  • Increase in transportation

Our land, water, and soil are compromised when people exhaust resources or release harmful chemicals into the air. Deforestation, wasting resources, and pollution all add to the demise of an environmentally sound and safe planet. For example, when trees in forests are cut down in large quantities so that more homes can be built on the land, the birds and wildlife who lived in the forest must find a new place to live.

The vegetation that once grew on the land is destroyed. Trees that absorbed carbon dioxide to help the biosphere are now unable to do so. If the wood from the trees is used to make products and those products such as paper are later recycled, that is one hopeful aspect for the planet. However, sometimes trees are just cut down and burned. This is what is known as slash and burn, a practice that only destroys forests and all that live in them.


When factories produce harmful chemicals and toxic waste into bodies of water, humans suffer. Pesticides and fertilizers can also get into a region’s water system and pollute it. Drinking water is contaminated. Some residing in third-world countries are highly affected by the degradation of our planet and these unhealthy practices cause the following:

  • Illnesses
  • Death in children
  • Death in adults

Stop Environmental Degradation by: 

There are ways which you can help to decrease degradation in our environment. Some of these include:

  • Purchase recycled products
  • Conserve water
  • Do not litter or toss waste into inappropriate places
  • Conserve energy
  • Join an awareness group
  • Talk with others about the impacts of environmental degradation
  • Be an advocate to save our planet!

Rebel Road Expansion lead to Deforestation

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We live in an era of unprecedented road and highway expansion. It is an era in which many of the world’s last tropical wildernesses, from the Amazon to Borneo have been penetrated by roads. This surge in road building is being driven not only by national plans for infrastructure expansion, but by industrial timber, oil, gas, and mineral projects in the tropics.


Pakistan is a forest deficient country. It has suffered the loss of forest biodiversity (conifers, riparian, thorn, mangroves) owing to poor management practices of over hundred years, which administer forest systems by dividing conifers into periodic blocks. Policy makers gave preference to certain species on the basis of commercial interests. They ignore taxonomy and follow no scientific procedures. All these practices have led to fragmentary ecosystems and brought some species to the verge of extinction.

Despite their environmental costs, the economic incentives to drive roads into wilderness are strong. Governments view roads as a cost effective means to promote economic development and access natural. 

Local communities in remote areas often demand new roads to improve access to markets and medical services.

There is a need for a permanent think tank outside the government and advocacy groups to support forest policy formulation and implementation process on a perpetual basis as reflected in the Forest Policy 2001. The government should focus on improvement of forest management practices to prevent the loss of biodiversity (for example, reduce the practice of giving preference to certain species for their commercial value and ignoring other species). The integration of ecosystem approach to forest management can prevent further fragmentation of forest habitats.

Think about how much we can avoid if deforestation is controlled.


The government needs to incorporate taxonomy in forest management. Including women in forest management decisions and forestry projects should address the gender dimensions of deforestation. In the final analysis, the effective enforcement of the existing laws and regulations on forests use and management and involvement of the communities in the policy making process from the very outset enables the government to address and arrest sharp forest decline by creating a feeling of a sense of ownership and empowerment among communities.



Deforestation a cause of Climate Change

Earth is entering into a phase of climate change with the intense and high degree of global warming, increase in temperature, green house effect, and melting of glaciers. In the past few years, there is an increase in temperature all around the world due to these factors. Same is the case with Pakistan, where climate change has affected the area, glaciers are melting etc. The biggest factor is deforestation.

While forest lands have been given to various government departments, some civilians and non-government/commercial organizations also have got the forest land allotted in their name in an exchange.

WWF: forests currently cover only 2.5 per cent of the country’s land, Pakistan has the highest annual deforestation rate in Asia, according to the latest findings of the World Wide Fund for Nature. 

The urgent measures to the relevant authorities to curb the negative trend are the immediate placement of a ban on forest land conversions, commercial harvesting and allotments, the spread of awareness among lawmakers for proper legislation to restrict land conversions; and recovery of forest land from encroachers and its subsequent reforestation. 

The highest rate of deforestation has been found in the Indus delta mangroves, which has depleted at a rate of around 2.3 per cent, while the coniferous forest depleted at 1.99 per cent and ravine forests at 0.23 per cent. 

The WWF report says that over 99,711 acres of forest land in Punjab and 27,874-acre forests in Sindh have been converted to non-forest uses. In this regard, it says, the beneficiaries remain some government departments, politicians and other influential people having close contact with respective governments. 

A province-wise breakdown of forest land converted to other uses shows that Punjab tops the list with the conversion of 99,711 acres, followed by Sindh with 27,874 acres, Balochistan with 13,693 acres, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 9,692 acres, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir with only 577 acres.

 Following are some of the main causes of this large scale deforestation in Pakistan.

  1. Due to the construction of dams and barrages to supply water to crops on millions of hectares, most of the forest land is cleared. This construction of barrages also serve as a cause of deforestation.
  2. Sprawling growth of cities has converted forests into cities thus losing the forest or decrease in forest area. According to some sources, around 32 % people of Pakistan live in urban areas and if the current growth rate of urbanization is kept, Pakistan’s urban population will surpass the rural one by 2030.
  3. The building of roads in order to have access to the far flung areas has also caused deforestation especially in areas of Kohistan and Northern areas.
  4. The increase in demand of industries has also caused deforestation as most of the industries require wood as their fuel. Wood industries such as hardwood and safety match box, Plywood etc have also played their part in deforestation.
  5. Overgrazing of land by cattle, sheep, and goats have converted subtropical, and tropical thorn forest areas into deserts.


Human are hurting the Mother Earth.

We live in unique times in human history.  Within the span of a single human lifetime we have gone from being earth bound, to being able to look back at ourselves from space. Satellites now reveal images of shrinking of the tropical rain forests, intensification of agriculture, loss of wetlands, and expansion of urban centres. New technology can measure changes in global photosynthesis, the water cycle and other major geophysical cycles linked to human activities.

The first change is urbanization. This composite satellite image shows city lights from space and depicts the degree of urbanization in the world currently.
The second change is industrialization. Industrialization is interconnected with urbanization and population growth. With it comes increased energy production and use, increased resource extraction, crowding, and pollution. It also produces more goods and services, allows specialization and increased productivity and ultimately produces the epidemiologic transition from high infant mortality and early death from infectious diseases.
And the third major trend that marks these times as unique is the phenomenon of globalization. Globalization has also imposed some challenges: humans are
numerous and capable of rapid movement and modification of the physical environment. The consequence of population pressure, urbanization, industrialization, and globalization is that there are no longer as many frontiers (large wilderness areas rich in resources).
 For the first time, humankind is exerting sufficient pressure on the earth’s biophysical systems to cause changes in some environmental processes and conditions at the global level. Several such environmental changes have now been confirmed, in particular ozone depletion and climate change. These large scale environmental changes do not necessarily pose qualitatively new risks to health. Rather, they
amplify and extend the health risks posed by many existing environmental hazards. Global warming(climate change) is well studied and provides a good example of a global change with health consequences that affect everyone, but children more than most.