Science: Human Impact on Environment: Environmental Problems (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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Environmental Problems

Environmental problems may occur due to natural disasters and/or degradation caused by human activities. A disaster whether it is natural or manmade results in large scale damage to life and property. The effect of these disasters can be felt either locally or at the global level. They are categorized into natural and man-made environmental problems.

Natural Disaster and Their Impact

Floods

Natural Disaster: Floods

India being a country of many rivers and with tropical climate is one of the most flood-prone countries of the world. Floods are frequent because most of the rivers are full of water during monsoons. Flooding is caused by the inadequate capacity within the banks of the rivers to contain the high flow of water due to heavy rainfall. Areas having poor drainage get flooded by accumulation of water.

Preventive Measures and Management

The following steps may be taken to prevent damage due to floods:

  • No construction should be allowed in the riverbeds
  • Timely cleaning and desilting of water channels and reservoirs by civic agencies.
  • Safe disposal of surplus run-off water from river to river and drain to drain to ensure easy flow of water.
  • Buildings like public institutes, schools, offices, telephone exchange, power supply stations, railway tracks and stations, roads and residential areas etc. need to be built above levels that correspond to floods occurring in the past few years.

Cyclones

  • India has a long coastline, which is vulnerable to the tropical cyclones in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. The Bay of Bengal region is frequently battered by storms and cyclones. Cyclones are intense low-pressure areas in the form of depressions or cyclone storms. Severe cyclones are associated with hurricane, winds etc.
  • There are two cyclone seasons in India, the pre-monsoon season (April-May) and the post-monsoon season (October-December) . The states of Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal are the most affected states due to cyclones.

Preventive Measure and Management

  • Building are to be constructed keeping in mind cyclone safety measures. Decaying trees or any other loosely fixed objects and unsafe buildings need to be demolished.
  • Extra food and enough drinking water may be stored in advance.
  • Hurricane lantern filled with kerosene, and flashlights, matchbox, candles etc. should be kept ready.

Earthquakes

  • Earthquake is a common phenomenon. It is the shaking, rolling or sudden shock of the earth՚s surface.
  • The intensity of earthquake is related to the amount of energy released when rocks give way to the forces within the earth. It is measured with the help of an instrument known as seismograph. The intensity of an earthquake is measured on the Richter scale.

Forest Fires

From prehistoric times forests and fire have remained inseparable. In fact, the temperate world՚s forest ecosystem has been re-generated and rejuvenated with active help of forest fires. Forest fires have become a major cause of concern because it threatens human habitats and deprives humans from accessing forest resources.

Tsunami

It involves the displacement of very large quantities of water due to earthquakes, landslides or volcanic eruptions. Tsunami occurs due to earthquakes under the ocean. Natural barriers such as shoreline tree cover can mitigate effects of Tsunami.

Landslides

A landslide is the gravitational movement of a mass of rock, earth or debris down a slope. It occurs when a hilly slope becomes unstable. The natural reasons of a landslide are groundwater pressure acting to destabilize the slope, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, erosion etc. This is one of the natural environmental problems which is influenced by human activities such as deforestation, dynamite blasting of rocks, earth work, constructions, vibrations etc. These activities need cutting down of trees whose roots hold the soil in place.

Cloudburst

A cloudburst is an extreme amount of precipitation, sometimes with hailstorms and thunderstorms. It occurs for few minutes and can create flood conditions which often results in landslides.

Preventive Measures and Management

Prevention of natural disasters like cyclone, tsunami, cloudbursts is not in human hands. However, early warning system could help in saving lives. It is also important to have a ready home plan to tackle aftermath especially by those living in the vicinity of disaster-prone areas.

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