Environmental Problems: 10 Environmental Problems of Urban Area (with Solutions) !
On the basis of population density, the different localities may be divided as urban or rural areas. A municipality or notified area council (MAC) or corporation or metropolitan city whose population is more than 5000 and a population density” of more than 400 people per square kilometer is called an urban area i.e. the urban areas are the places of high population density.
As per data available, about 50% of total world population is residing in urban areas in the beginning of 21st century. It is predicted that the urban population will grow up to 61 % of the total world population by 1925. In India, the urban population was 23.1% in 1981, 26.1% in 1991 and 27% in 2000.
The increasing trend of urban population is due to:
(i) Better employment facilities,
(ii) Better medical facilities,
(iii) Better facilities for trade and commerce;
(iv) Better facilities for higher education;
(v) Facilities for entertainment, sports and games 8c
(vi) Proximity to administration and important government offices.
Such an increase in population in urban areas induces a lumber of environmental problems. Some important environmental problems and their possible solutions are discussed below:
1. Development of Slum:
The areas within the cities and towns (urban areas) without civic and basic amenities are called Slums. The slum settlement arises due to un-flux of rural peoples into urban areas and shortage of housing facilities for them.
They construct their dwellings using rusted tins, empty tar barrels, tarpaulins, jute sacks etc. Although these areas become overcrowded, these lack civic amenities like light, water supply, drainage, roads, toilets and medical facilities. The areas of slum become centres of a number of environmental problems. Some important environmental problems may be outlined as follows:
(i) These areas without proper water supply dispose their waste in an unplanned manner which pollute air and water.
(ii) The contamination of water causes diseases like typhoid, cholera, enteric fever and gastroenteritis.
(iii) The unplanned waste dumping places and open defecation become the sites of the growth of a number of disease carriers like flies, mosquitoes etc. These cause health hazards not only in slum areas but also in other nearby places.
Thus, to avoid the above environmental problems, the slum areas should be developed by providing the civic amenities like light, water supply, drainage, toilet and medical facilities.
2. Management of solid waste:
Thickly populated urban area consumes large quantities of material and simultaneously releases a lot of solid wastes. The solid wastes include municipal wastes, industrial wastes, hazardous wastes etc. The solid waste production increases with an increase in population. When these solid wastes are dumped for a longer period of time, these produce foul smell and poisonous gases and become breeding grand’s of vectors of different diseases.
The gases produced cause air pollution, surface run-off from the wastes cause water pollution and vectors cause different diseases. In order to avoid the above environmental problems, suitable methodology should be adopted to dispose the wastes scientifically or to recycle them or segregate organic, inorganic and recyclable wastes.
3. Over exploitation of natural resources:
Due to high population density and expensive life style, the rate of consumption of natural resources (e.g. water, energy, fossil fuel, forest products etc.) is very high in urban areas. There is also misuse of natural resources whose immediate compensation becomes difficult. Few acute problems of urban areas are scarcity of drinking water especially the ground water, scarcity of forest products, power cut due to excessive use of electricity etc.
4. Non-availability of open space:
Due to unplanned urbanization and thick population density, urban areas are highly congested without open spaces for parks, play grounds and recreation centres. This results in non availability of free and clean air and space of playing and recreation.
5. Air pollution:
The air of urban areas get polluted due to a lot of anthropogenic activities, flying of large number of automobiles, industries etc. These activities release pollutants like carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, oxides of sulphur, hydrocarbons, vapours of organic compounds, particulates, toxic metals etc. which are capable of inducing a number of health hazards.
6. Noise pollution:
The noise produced from automobiles, vehicles, social functions, industries etc. cause noise pollution in urban areas which causes psychological and physical ailments.
7. Violation of urban planning rules:
The unplanned urbanization leads to violation of rules laid down for establishing ideal urban settlements where one can lead healthy and comfortable life. The buildings constructed do not obey the prescribed floor space index or floor area ratio.
8. Water-logging and drainage:
The migration of large number of poor and rural people without any civic sense, disposal of a large amount of solid waste, unplanned settlements etc. in urban areas cause water logging and drainage problem.
9. Traffic and floating population:
The large migration of rural peoples in search of job to the urban areas cause serious traffic problem and environmental pollution of all kinds.
10. Unusual rise in temperature:
The unplanned constructions of large buildings in urban areas absorb solar radiation and in the afternoon, these emit heat radiations increasing the climatic temperature.