16.8 Degradation by Improper Resource Utilisation and Maintenance

The degradation of natural resources can occur, not just by the action of pollutants but also by improper resource utilisation practices.

Soil erosion and desertification: The development of the fertile top-soil takes centuries. But, it can be removed very easily due to human activities like over-cultivation, unrestricted grazing, deforestation and poor irrigation practices, resulting in arid patches of land.

When large barren patches extend and meet over time, a desert is created. Internationally, it has been recognised that desertification is a major problem nowadays, particularly due to increased urbanisation.

Waterlogging and soil salinity: Irrigation without proper drainage of water leads to waterlogging in the soil. Besides affecting the crops, waterlogging draws salt to the surface of the soil. The salt then is deposited as a thin crust on the land surface or starts collecting at the roots of the plants.

This increased salt content is inimical to the growth of crops and is extremely damaging to agriculture. Waterlogging and soil salinity are some of the problems that have come in the wake of the Green Revolution.

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