Environmental Degradation by Human Activities in past decades.

Environmental Degradation: Human Activities, Population Growth, Industrialization, and E-waste in the Past Decade

Industry and Water pollution

Environment Degradation by Human Activities in past decades

Human activities, population growth, rapid industrialization, and the increasing generation of electronic waste (e-waste) have had a profound impact on the environment in the past decade. This article examines the extent of environmental degradation caused by these factors, supported by statistical data, highlighting the urgency to address these issues for a sustainable future.

Human Activities and Environmental Degradation

  1. Deforestation: Between 2010 and 2020, the world lost an average of 10 million hectares of forest annually (Food and Agriculture Organization). Deforestation leads to habitat loss, and soil erosion, and contributes to climate change.
  • Land Degradation: Approximately 24 billion tonnes of fertile soil are lost each year due to erosion caused by human activities (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification). Unsustainable agricultural practices, deforestation, and urbanization contribute to land degradation.

Population Growth and Environmental Impact

  1. Urbanization: The global urban population increased from 3.6 billion in 2010 to 4.4 billion in 2020 (United Nations). Urbanization leads to increased energy consumption, infrastructure development, and pollution, putting pressure on natural resources and ecosystems.
  • Water Scarcity: By 2025, it is estimated that two-thirds of the world’s population may face water scarcity (United Nations). Population growth exacerbates the demand for water resources, leading to depletion of freshwater sources and increased competition for water.

Industrialization and Environmental Consequences

  1. Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industrial processes reached 36.8 billion tonnes in 2019, an increase of 62% compared to 1990 (Global Carbon Project). Industrial activities are a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, leading to global warming and climate change.
  • Air Pollution: Outdoor air pollution accounts for an estimated 4.2 million premature deaths worldwide each year (World Health Organization). Industrial emissions, including particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds, contribute to poor air quality and respiratory issues.

E-waste Generation and Impact

  1. E-waste Generation: The global volume of e-waste generated reached 53.6 million tonnes in 2019, an increase of 21% in just five years (Global E-waste Monitor). Improper e-waste disposal results in the release of hazardous substances, posing risks to human health and the environment.
  • Resource Depletion: E-waste contains valuable resources such as gold, silver, and copper. However, only 17.4% of e-waste was officially documented to be collected and recycled in 2019, leading to resource depletion and increased mining for raw materials.


Over the past decade, human activities, population growth, industrialization, and the surge in e-waste generation have contributed to significant environmental degradation. Deforestation, land degradation, greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, water scarcity, and improper e-waste disposal are all pressing issues that require urgent attention.

Addressing these challenges necessitates sustainable practices, responsible resource management, and the adoption of cleaner technologies. It is crucial for governments, industries, and individuals to collaborate and implement effective measures to mitigate environmental degradation, preserve natural resources, and ensure a healthier and more sustainable planet for future generations.

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