What Are the Causes of Environmental Degradation in India?

causes-environmental-degradation-india Credit: McKay Savage/Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

According to the Foundation for Sustainable Development, India's high population, coupled with its comparatively small geographic size, has resulted in major environmental degradation, including the loss of forests and the depletion of water and other natural resources. Air pollution, water pollution and an abundance of solid waste are major problems on the Indian subcontinent.

Deforestation in India is a major problem for the country, and it leads to a number of significant environmental problems. Removal of forests for agriculture leads to depletion of nutrients in the soil over time, and the wood from the cleared areas often becomes firewood that produces carbon dioxide and other pollutants.

Air pollution from Indian and other regional cities has created a phenomenon called the Asian Brown Cloud, which affects the yearly monsoon and reduces rainfall. Depletion of the water table has led to problems with recurring droughts, affecting agricultural yields and reducing river levels. Solid waste and other water pollutants render many of the major rivers in India unsafe for humans, despite the fact that so many of the people have to rely on the waterways for their survival. Industrial pollution is another major problem in India; poorly regulated power generation and other heavy industrial operations contaminate soil and water with heavy metals and radioactive materials.