Top 7 Global Environmental Issues That Affect Humans

First and foremost, environmental degradation occurs due to the global economic development model which is guided solely by economic gain. Human beings are placed in a position where they have to work doubly hard just to survive in this fast paced environment.

History clearly shows that after the Industrial Revolution, developed countries such as UK, USA and Germany managed to create the miracle of rapid economic growth, but at the same time accompanied by global environmental issues which threaten environmental sustainable development.

Global Environmental Issues

The industrial revolution changed the world drastically by unearthing unlimited potential of human being. It also brought about major changes in the policies of consumption, transportation, communication and finance. With the advent of new technological advancements, the process of global economic development pattern started to change radically.

The growth of cities brought in a vast development in infrastructure and the creation of vast centres of wealth and infrastructure. But along with these developments, the impact of human activity became highly concentrated in the natural habitat.

Pollution is a major environmental issue faced by people of developed countries around the world

There is an alarming increase in the rate of contamination of air, water, land and the surrounding areas due to human activities. Industrial pollutants, pesticides, toxic wastes and genetically modified food crops are some of the major sources of contamination of air, land and surrounding ecosystems.

These pollutants have negative impacts on the natural environment and thereby on human health as well. These pollutants are capable of causing a number of harmful health problems including respiratory and reproductive disorders, birth defects, immune system disorder, cancer, immune disorder and allergies. All these consequences make the environment vulnerable to constant environmental damage.

Rapid climate change is another serious environmental issue faced by people in developing countries

Rapid climate change is one of the major reasons for drastic changes in the habitats of many animals and plants. Rapid climate change is characterized by extreme weather conditions that cause devastating effect on the lives of people. Extreme weather conditions include heat waves, drought, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes.

Global Environmental Issues

As a result of rapid climate change, animals and human beings have to migrate to nearby climates which are safer. Rapid climate change is the consequence of abrupt climate changes, which are caused by human interventions. A sudden climate change can happen in one or even a number of seasons, where previously there have been no such changes.

An abrupt climate shift often occurs when the Earth’s climate system is compelled to shift to a new, faster-changing climate state, at a much faster rate than the pace of climate evolution, both for the first time and over longer periods. Rapid climate change can result in widespread damage and even in the disruption of agriculture and human infrastructure.

The change is especially noted in areas that receive higher temperatures from suns, such as the arid regions of the west and central parts of the United States and the eastern parts of Asia and Africa.

Water is another important factor that has an impact on the global environment and human health

Water shortages and pollution lead to negative impacts on the natural systems. People in poor communities are the most affected by these environmental issues. People depend largely on natural sources of water such as rainwater, rivers, and lakes for their survival. Climate change has resulted in drastic changes in the regional and global water cycles.

It is no longer news that the quantity of water available for us to utilize is decreasing every year, what is also not quite so news is the way in which this pollution is caused and the manner in which it is caused. More than three quarters of the world’s freshwater is used by industry and agriculture, and a further quarter of the non-ocean fresh water is dedicated to the maintenance of essential ecosystems.

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These natural resources are being depleted at a faster rate than ever before, with each passing year more people falling victim to water shortages and pollution. With the global water crisis now more acute than ever, it is vital that we all contribute towards creating a better environment for future generations, and one that will not only be healthy for today, but healthy for tomorrow as well.

Acid rain is considered to be one of the most significant sources of environmental problems

Acid rain is any form of weathering that is abnormally acid, which means that it contains high levels of carbon dioxide ions. It can have detrimental effects on crops, aquatic life, and infrastructure quite negatively. In fact, this weathering is considered one of the top three most detrimental to the Earth’s atmosphere.

Global Environmental Issues

Although acid rain has been acknowledged as a significant global problem for many years, very little is being done to control its occurrence. This term pertains to excessive atmospheric acidity caused by human activity. Acid rain aggravates global warming and leads to a drastic reduction in the world population. Acid rain aggravates global pollution, ozone layer depletion, and depletion of natural aquatic systems. Global warming is a major factor in accelerating acid rains.

Global change and global warming is a multi-dimensional phenomenon due to its various causes

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges that the human species are faced with today. It is widely accepted that climate change is directly related to human activities, with nearly 70% of global warming occurring due to human activity. However, climate change also has a natural component which is amplified by human influence.

In fact, changes in the earth’s climate go on for millions of years before becoming noticeably different. Climate change includes both global warming brought about by human-induced greenhouse gases and the subsequent large-scale changes in global weather patterns due to natural climate fluctuations.

Carbon dioxide is believed to be the primary reason for global warming due to its ability to warm the earth’s atmosphere and water. This process, called the carbon cycle, is also responsible for global cooling, which scientists believe may be a factor in the rise of the planet’s ice sheets.

Ice is a major contributor to global warming because it absorbs heat from the atmosphere and stores it, in turn lowering the earth’s temperature. Emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases are the result of human activity and have increased significantly in recent years.

The buildup of these gases in the atmosphere is the result of the burning of fossil fuels for energy production, such as electricity and fuel, as well as the manufacturing of many products, such as automobiles and oil. Another significant cause of global warming is the release of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels and wood for outdoor fires.


The manufacturing of cement, rubber and other products which release high amounts of carbon into the atmosphere is also a significant cause of global warming. Changes in the earth’s atmospheric circulation, known as the “warming” of the earth’s atmosphere, is also caused by changes in the earth’s landmass.

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It can be reduced by global environmental policies although the process may take many years. A major cause for global warming is the use of fossil fuels as fuel for industrialization and transportation. Industrial emissions comprise of a large proportion of global environmental problems. The combustion of fossil fuels such as oil, gas, coal, wood, and co2 increase the concentration of heat in the atmosphere resulting in global warming.

Water pollution is another major environmental issue affecting human activity globally

Water pollution is the poisoning of water bodies, generally due to human activities. Water bodies includes such bodies as oceans, rivers, lakes, etc. Water pollution occurs when various impurities are inadvertently introduced into the environment. Water contamination comes in many forms like dumping of toxic wastes in the ocean, etc. Contaminants in the ocean range from toxic metals to chemicals. In rivers, dirt and garbage are commonly dumped there.

Global Environmental Issues

Every year, there are in fact thousands of water-related accidents and disasters that spill out waste into the natural or living environment. The wastes could be dirty water from dirty lakes and rivers, polluted soil and water, and other contaminated solid and liquid substances. Each one of these issues can cause great damage to the natural resources and to the living environment.

  • Industrial wastes
  • Water pollution
  • Land degradation

Are some of the most important environmental issues worldwide. A wide range of hazardous substances is responsible for water pollution. These include hazardous drugs, pesticides, wastes from industrial and domestic activities, etc. These toxic substances are so dangerous that they threaten to destroy the aquatic ecosystems and human use.

Every year, thousands of people die because of unsafe water pollution. Thousands more suffer from serious ailments caused by contaminated water. The contaminated water may also carry infectious diseases. Therefore, it is very important to reduce water pollution to ensure the safety of the people living nearby.

Every year, thousands of cases of the disease are reported resulting from polluted water. occur when humans introduce foreign organisms into the water system. Examples of such species are anthropods, jellyfish, turtles, fish, birds and even rats. of disease-causing microorganisms exist in the human body.

These microorganisms hide in the fat and excrete toxic waste in the form of faeces. The majority of these waste materials are toxic waste produced by different domestic activities such as animal feeding, landfills, chemical manufacturing, fuel burning, etc. Human activities have the potential to produce a lot of toxic waste which can pollute the aquatic system.

Groundwater can be contaminated by natural and human activities. The major pollutants in the groundwater are pharmaceutical drugs, industrial wastes, pesticides, insecticides, etc. Aquatic scientists believe that at least 40 percent of the groundwater is affected by at least one type of water pollution.

The main reason for this is the infiltration of farm chemicals into the groundwater. This leads to the seepage of synthetic chemicals into the aquifer which ultimately flows into the groundwater. One example of water pollution that has affected many ecosystems worldwide is the red tide. It is a condition where harmful algae blooms occur in the oceans.

Harmful algal blooms pose a threat not only to marine ecosystems but also to human lives because the toxins they discharge can disrupt the normal pH levels in the ocean and lead to acidification. As a result, fish species become more susceptible to diseases and death. Studies show that acidic conditions can increase the frequency of hurricanes, volcanic erupt, and increase flood risks in different parts of the world.

ocean acidification is another serious global environmental issue that cannot be ignored

Ocean acidification refers to the gradual decrease in the pH level of the Earths oceans, caused primarily by the absorption of CO2 from the air. Although this phenomenon can naturally happen as long as the sunspots keep on shining, it can be triggered by human activities like overfishing or rubberfishing, as well as the introduction of new fishing technologies like pots and gears.

Global Environmental Issues

It has been noted that the rising atmospheric acidity has already caused the plankton to begin to die at a rate of knots, similar to the dying of the leaves of the trees. Other ocean acidification culprits include human activities like carbon trading, improper fishing practices, wind-borne debris and coral growth that brings more toxic wastes to the ocean floor.

Ocean acidification also can affect the earth’s atmosphere, because organisms that live in the ocean can use the carbon dioxide already being produced in the ocean to produce food. In addition, the ocean acidification process can increase the concentration of hydrogen sulphide gas around the world.

This gas is released into the atmosphere where it can act as a potent greenhouse gas. Another effect of ocean acidification that is not so familiar is the fact that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes the Earth to warm up.

Ocean acidification poses a significant threat to marine life. Acidification of seawater due to ocean acidification can displace marine life and alter ocean acid cycles. The lack of oxygen that comes from acidified ocean water can also disrupt marine life since oxygen is essential for plant and animal survival.

Ocean acidification can also harm sensitive marine ecosystems, like those found in coastal areas. Ocean acidification poses a substantial threat to the world’s marine life, as well as to human beings because the acid in the ocean absorbs nutrients and other chemicals that are essential for the growth of marine life

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I am Adegboyega Tunde Temitayo. A registered Town Planner with the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) and Town Planners Registration Council (TOPREC).

I love to think differently and possibly on various Urban and Regional Planning issues to proffer solutions to Urban and Rural Environmental Problems. You can subscribe to my YouTube Channel

As the Chief Editor of Town Planners Diary, I humbly welcome you to this platform which is about enhancing Planning Education through research on various Town Planning and Environmental issues.

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