Following are some of the causes of environmental degradation:
1. Industrialization and Economic Development
The industrial revolution that began in England in 17th century has gradually intensified the misuse and abuse of natural resources. Profit oriented economy and consumerism has further damaged the environment. The policy of use and throw creates huge industrial and environmentally hazardous waste. Economy is mounting at the cost of ecology. The major concerns are pollution and scarcity of natural resources.
2. Population Explosion
The ever increasing population in developing or third world countries is a major cause of environmental degradation. Population explosion results in increasing demands and pressure on land, scarcity of resources and crises like water or fresh air, less availability of land for agriculture or residence, large scale cutting down of forests to meet the demands of the population .
3. Commercial Agriculture and Farm Mechanisation
Increasing population leads to increase in demands for food grains and other crops. To meet this demand mechanized and commercial farming is the only solution. It includes use of artificial irrigation, hybrid seeds, pesticides, insecticides and chemical fertilizers which are very harmful for the ecosystem of soil. This in turn expands the desert land.
Industrialization is always paired with urbanisation. Use of automobiles, emergence and expansion of slums, increasing use of plastic electronic gadgets all results in air pollution and problems of dumping waste. Inefficient disposal of waste is a threat to environment.
5. Development Projects
Infrastructural development projects like dams, bridges, railways or roadways all are built at the cost of ecosystem in that area. All the projects lead to large scale destruction of forest and fertile land leading to catastrophes like earthquakes, floods or draughts. Uncontrolled mining also affects the land and ground water sources.
6. Government Policies
Inefficient government machinery and policies supporting the builders lobby have resulted in large scale destruction of forests and land cover for logging and other allied activities.