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Ecological issues UPSC | Contemporary Issues | global ecological issues | Geography of India

Environmental or ecological issues:

Environmental or ecological issues are those issues that are pertaining to the degradation of the ecosystem and environment that are mainly caused by humans. The population of humans has grown enormously over the last hundred years that lead to an increase in demand for food, water, shelter, electricity, vehicles, and various other commodities. These demands make tremendous pressure on our ecosystem and environment as well as contribute to the pollution of soil, water, and air.

Examples of some environmental issues are air pollution, water pollution, soil degradation, radioactive wastes, greenhouse gas, deforestation, biodiversity loss, global warming, ozone depletion, etc.

Some ecological issues are not specific to any country or region, these are called global ecological issues as they harm all the living organisms of the earth irrespective of countries or regions. The following are some global ecological issues:
  • Greenhouse gases and Global Warming
  • Ozone depletion in the Stratosphere
  • Resource depletion
  • Pollution
  • Depletion of topsoil ( Soil erosion)
  • Genetically Modified organism
  • Natural and Man-made environmental disasters

Greenhouse gases and Global Warming:

Greenhouse gases are those gases that let the light in but do not allow heat to escape. The greenhouses gases effect is a naturally occurring phenomenon that is responsible for heating's earth surface and atmosphere.
Carbon dioxide, Methane, CFCs, and nitrous oxide( N2O) are major greenhouse gases of the earth.
An increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere leads to global warming.  Global warming leads to changes in the environment which harm living and non-living organisms in bad ways. 
Climate changes ( El Nino), melting of icescape in Antarctica and the polar region, and sea level rises are some common global ecological issues due to global warming which is also a global ecological issue.

Ozone depletion in the Stratosphere:
the layer of ozone gases is found in the stratosphere which acts as a shield absorbing ultraviolet radiation from the sun. UV is highly injurious to living organisms.
Chlorofluorocarbon gas degrades the ozone layer and chlorofluorocarbons are released by the use of refrigerators. So depletion of the ozone layer is a global ecological issue. 

Resources Depletion:

The rapid growth of the human population leads to an increase in the demand for food, shelter, and other commodities from the ecosystem which leads to the depletion of natural resources. Natural resources also get depleted by pollution.
Usage of Non-renewable resources such as fossil fuel and petroleum cause most environmental pollution.
The rapid decline of groundwater especially in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu is an example of an ecological issue.


Pollution is a major global environmental issue that degrades the environment and also reduces the productivity of living organisms. It makes many resources unsuitable to use which causes a shortage of resources. water pollution is one example.
Today most part of the earth's surface water is unfit for human consumption due to pollution.
Air pollution is a major problem in urban areas causing respiratory, illness, and death. Major sources of air pollution are industries, automobiles, domestic use of wood, and coal. As per the Health Ministry report, indoor pollution is causing approx 6 lakh death in India.
Water and soil pollution also increasing due to domestic sewage, runoff from farms, and usage of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

Depletion of topsoils:

Topsoils are a very valuable resource as it thousands of years to build a few centimeters of soil. Vegetations are producers of food for all living organisms largely dependent on the quality of soils. Any harm in soil quality affects the whole biosphere. Thus, soil erosion is a global ecological issue.
Deforestation, mining, overgrazing, brick production, etc are the major cause of soil erosion in today's world.

Genetically Modified organism:

There is little known of long terms effects of genetically modified organisms ( plant and animal) on the environment, thus genetically modified organism is major global ecological issues.
The new technology of gene splicing allows science to import genes from one species to another. For example, GM seeds of cotton are resistant to Bollworms as genes of pest resistance are included in GM cotton seeds.

What to do to solve the environmental issues:

Sustainable development is the only way to solve environmental issues as it takes care of both environment and development side by side.
The following needs to be done for sustainable development and prevention of environmental degradation:
  • Environmental awareness and environmental education for all.
  • The habit of recycling and reusing things.
  • No use of single-use plastic.
  • Control of pollution.
  • Control of the human population.

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