What Are the Effects of Natural Resource Depletion?

The effects of natural resource depletion vary depending on the type of resource. Reduced water quality affects humans and animals by reducing the amount of healthy and safe drinking water, while the rapid use of fossil fuels introduces foreign and harmful toxins into waterways, the ground and the atmosphere, and affects human populations by increasing the cost of transportation.

Natural resources include water, fuel, soil, land and air. Depletion of these resources produces competition among living organisms for the remaining portions, and diminishes the quality of available resources.

Of the life-sustaining natural resources for humans, plants and animals, water ranks high on the list of the most basic and important elements. Certain human-caused activities reduce the quality of safe and accessible drinking water. A reduced water quality presents problems surrounding health and welfare, especially in combination with too much or too little water. Impaired water quality makes drinking water more expensive for people and less readily available. Through storm water runoff, as well as industrial waste emissions and fertilizers, contaminated water enters streams and rivers, ultimately jeopardizing the health and vitality of marine ecosystems.

Overuse of fossil fuels reduces their availability and also introduces harmful toxins into waterways and the atmosphere. Deforestation and agricultural activities exacerbate erosion and cause soil contamination, which impairs the survival capacity of plants, and makes surrounding areas prone to flooding and environmental disasters.