Human environment interaction has affected the Nile River, which is Egypt's most crucial resource, through industrial and human pollution, by preventing the river's flooding in summer and through the introduction of a new species of fish to the river. During the course of a little more than 100 years, the human impact on the Nile River has negatively affected the lives of the people living close to it as well as the landscape that surrounds it. The construction of the Aswan High Dam in 1899, the introduction of the carnivorous Nile perch to the river and the increase in pollutants, such as nitrogen, phosphorous and various pesticides, have all contributed to significant changes in Egypt's environment.
Prior to the construction of the Aswan High Dam, the annual flooding of the Nile River left deposits of sediments on the fields surrounding it. These deposits contributed to the fertility of the soil. The sediments are now trapped by the dam and their impounding upstream has also caused the coastline erosion to increase. Based on 2005 estimates, Egypt's coastline is eroding at a rate of between 410 to 574 feet per year. The dam also blocks nutrients from reaching the Mediterranean Sea through the Nile River. This is believed to be one of the causes for a significant decline in the number of fish available for commercial fisherman in the area.
During the mid-1900s, the Nile perch species was introduced into the river ecosystem in an attempt to improve the fishing catch. Although the introduction was viewed optimistically at first, the carnivorous species soon devoured vast amounts of the native species, which caused significant population decreases and, in some cases, extinctions.