How Does Urban Development Affect the Environment?


Quick Answer

According to the Global Change Program from the University of Michigan, urban development wipes out animal ecosystems, causes water and air pollution and depletes natural resources. Environmental hazards of urban development affect households, neighborhoods, workplaces, municipalities, regions and cities.

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Full Answer

Urban development introduces biological, chemical and physical hazards to the environment. Biological hazards include pathogens in solid waste and water, disease vectors and infections. Chemical hazards caused by urban development include air pollutants from stoves, fires and garbage burning, dust and toxic compounds. Motor vehicles contribute most to pollution within urban centers. Physical hazards in urban environments include household accidents, site-related injuries, dangerous machinery, traffic accidents and violence. Overcrowding, poor sanitation and inadequate household water within urban environments cause health hazards.

Poor waste management strategies are the main causes of water and air pollution in urban areas. Emission of greenhouse gases and acid also contributes to environmental pollution in urban areas. Urban development contributes to thousands of deaths from respiratory infections and diarrhea. Resource degradation that results from urban development includes deforestation, land clearance and poor watershed management. Sewage and contaminants from industries are the main water pollutants in urban areas. The World Bank notes that the negative effects of urban development can be prevented through provision of good sanitation, proper drainage, protection of environmentally sensitive lands and proper waste management.

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