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When the rate of resource extraction exceeds the rate of resource generation, it affects the environment’s carrying capacity which affects the proper and smooth functioning of the environment to provide resources and assimilate wastes produced. This in turn affects life sustenance and results in environmental crisis. Many resources have become extinct due to over consumption and the environment’s capacity to absorb degraded waste has reduced due to increase in pollution.
The current environmental crisis is due to the following factors:
•Rising population – the rising population is depleting the resources of the environment faster than it is regenerating itself. The environment’s capacity to assimilate waste has reduced. Also, non-renewable resources are depleting rapidly because of which India has to import these resources from other countries.
•Air pollution – due to rising population, more trees are being cut down to establish residential areas along with increase in the number of vehicles which emits harmful gases in the environment. It affects the air quality adversely and due to lack of replenishment of fresh air by trees, the level of pollution in air is causing various diseases amongst people.
•Water contamination – industrial wastes are dumped into water which is consumed by humans and animals alike. These also spread epidemics like dengue or malaria.
•Affluent consumption standards – in order to improve their standard of living, the middle class, upper middle class and rich people of the society are increasing their consumption standards of luxury items which is stressing on the sources of the environment and generating more waste than it can absorb.
•Illiteracy – due to lack of awareness and knowledge of the limited resources of the environment, people tend to over use its resources and generate more waste than required. Lack of education is also a factor for increase in population.
•Industrialisation – it has caused setting up of industries by many entrepreneurs across the country that dumps huge amount of harmful wastes and gases in water and in air, respectively. They also use extensively the environment’s resources as raw materials.
•Urbanisation – with the rise in population and lack of employment opportunities in rural areas, people migrate to urban areas. Massive areas of land are made available by cutting down trees and meet the growing demand of housing. This migration from rural to urban India also leads to establishment of slums which has unacceptable sanitation conditions.
•Reduction of forest coverage – to create more land for housing and agriculture purpose for the growing population, forests are cut down. This in turn affects the ecological balance of the environment adversely.
•Poaching – hunting and killing of animals illegally is called poaching. Parts of certain animals are sold at exorbitant rates in black market because of which these animals are hunted. For example – elephant musk, tiger skin, etc. are widely sold products. This has lead to extinction of few species from the planet.
•Global warming - Global warming is the constant and gradual increase in the Earth’s temperature which has a direct negative impact on the environment. The emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, etc are causing this rise in temperature which is melting the ice caps in the polar region and increasing the sea level over time. This may cause natural calamities and damage human lives.
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