The balance between consumption and recovery of resources has been disturbed. Various biological controls have gone haywire. The system of environmental balances may crumble at any time causing great danger to human existence and the existence of other organisms. Some of the imbalancing factors are as follows-
- Destruction of Ecosystems- Several ecosystems have been destroyed due to changes in the landscape, excessive hunting, deforestation and impoundments of water. It has caused the extinction of several thousand species of plants and animals.
- Floods- Reduced forest cover in the hills and over the slopes has caused large scale soil erosion. Infiltration of water has reduced in the catchment areas. As a result, floods occur during the rainy season. They cause large scale destruction of life and property in the plains.
- Desertification- Excessive exploitation of plant cover in arid area exposes the soil to direct solar heating. The soil becomes loose and is easily carried by the wind. The eroded area is slowly changed into a sandy tract.
- Man-Made Ecosystems- All around areas of human habitations, natural ecosystems have been replaced by human-managed ecosystems. Man-made ecosystems do not have biological control and other self-regulatory mechanisms. They are highly vulnerable.
- Quarrying- Quarrying or mining destroys the vegetation cover of the area due to mineral dust and disturbance caused by the movement of machines and men. The soil becomes loose and dry. Landslides become common.
- Canals- They are used in diverting water to different areas for irrigation, transport and other functions. Diversion of water from the original course changes the water regime and environmental conditions of the area. Abandonment or drying of these canals causes aridity and desertification. This has happened in the case of Iraq and nearby countries.
- Agriculture- It is dependent on artificial irrigation and the supply of fertilizers. Both the processes cause increased salinity, acidification and alkalinization of soil. Over a period of time, the fertile land changes into a wasteland.
Therefore, corrective steps must be undertaken immediately to restore the environment balance through-
- Reducing pollution.
- Judicious use of resources.
- Organic farming instead of pesticide and fertilizer based agriculture.
- Subsurface and sprinkler irrigation instead of surface irrigation.
- Immediate reforestation of all denuded areas.
- Ecological restoration of mining areas.
Environmental balance does not mean the non-use of resources. It will be detrimental to development. Development is a basic component of human civilization. Therefore, protectionism should be replaced by judicious use.