What is environmental degradation?

Environmental degradation is any process by which the natural environment is compromised in some way, biological diversity is reduced, or the overall health of the environment is affected. Environmental degradation processes they can be natural in origin or can be caused by human activity, which can also accelerate natural degradation processes.

Many international organizations recognize environmental degradation as one of the main attacks that the planet is suffering, because for now, we only have one planet to live on and some irreparable damage could mean the end of human existence.

Main causes of environmental degradation

There are different ways in which the medium can be seen to be degraded. A classic example is the exploitation of resources to exhaustion. Water, land, minerals or oil are all resources susceptible to depletion due to overuse. Pressures from the activity of plants and animals living in a given habitat can contribute to the depletion of resources in that area, but natural habitats often maintain a balance between existing resources and the life they can support.

o Pollution It is another of the most important causes of environmental degradation. When the environment reaches high levels of contamination, the concentration of toxic substances affects the health of all its inhabitants, including humans. Pollution can come from a variety of sources: gas emissions from vehicles and factories, chemical discharges from industrial processes, agricultural pesticides and fertilizers, etc. In some cases, contamination can be reversed through expensive and complicated environmental measures. In other cases, nature has to deal with pollution on its own, and this can take decades, even centuries.

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Simple individual damage is a very common problem whose impact is often underestimated. o Logging, erosion or unsustainable development are all forms of environmental degradation. If the damage is extensive and severe, the medium may not be able to withstand the damage and come back into balance on their own. For example, intensive agricultural operations can remove the fertile layer of soil from the soil or leave it with a high concentration of substances that prevent the growth of natural vegetation; without vegetation the soil is much more susceptible to rapid erosion.

Environmental degradation has become not only a natural and social problem, but also a legal one, especially with regard to who is responsible for cleaning up the released pollutants and adopting measures to reverse the effects caused. For example, if a company acquires another that has released toxic substances into the environment when there was no legislation prohibiting it, the new company may argue that it is not obligated to carry out environmental remediation tasks, although it may be from Vision’s ethical point of view.

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