Time and again, the environment has been harmed due to various human activities. The urban areas have their own set of problems, which are the main reasons for environmental issues. Issues like air, water, soil pollution, deforestation, global warming, and climatic changes are significant environmental issues faced in urban areas. In contrast, rural areas are faced with different environmental problems. Rural areas are mostly agriculture-oriented. People in these areas live by farming and activities like dairy, poultry, horticulture, etc. You must be thinking that rural areas do not face many environmental problems as there is no air and water pollution. As there is less number of vehicles, there is less air pollution. Also, as the population is limited, the water quality is not very bad. But as technology is advancing, the farmers are using various chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which is harming the environment and causing many environmental issues. Below we will discuss some of the biggest environmental problems faced by people in rural areas.
Five biggest environmental problems faced in rural areas
Although rural areas and their activities do not affect the environment much, in the past few years, rural activities have caused a lot of stress. Let’s discuss the five biggest environmental problems faced in rural areas.
- Domestic waste- one of the biggest concerns surrounding rural areas is the disposal of solid waste, human waste, and urban sewage in general. Rural areas lack proper disposal of waste like urban areas. Despite so many efforts being taken by the government to ensure sanitization, the rural areas are still facing such problems. This results in severe water and air pollution. Water pollution of both freshwater supplies and coastal waters around beaches and reefs causes risks to human health. The dumping of solid waste disposal is also a grave concern in rural areas. The increase in imports from overseas has caused the accumulation of old car bodies, heavy equipment, appliances, bottles, cans, and plastics. These wastes are not adequately treated, which results in pollution and health problems.
- Desertification- as the demand for food increases, more land is required for the cultivation and production of grains, which leads to the cutting of forests. The need for more land for farming is fast depleting the forest cover. Also, as the population is increasing, the demand for food increases, which requires more areas to cultivate crops. This leads to over-cultivation of land. Two to three different crops are being grown on the same land again, which depletes the soil quality and decreases soil fertility. Also, many animals are required for farming and dairy. Animals like lambs, goats, cows are used for grazing the land and also for meat. This requires land for grazing, and thus the soil loses its top cover, which is rich in nutrients.
- Water pollution- water pollution is one of the major problems being faced in rural areas. Lack of municipal water supply in rural areas makes the people dependent on well or underground water. The well water is not tested or treated like municipal water and may contain toxic contaminants, which can be detrimental to people’s health. Some of the reasons that can lead to water pollution are improper disposal of waste, including dumping the waste on roads, water, and beneath the ground. Another reason is the oil and gas drilling operations. The methods of drilling pump large quantities of chemicals that go into the water and contaminates the water. This contaminated water can lead to many health issues like cancer, endocrine disorders, multiple chemical sensitivities, allergies, and diabetes.
- Lack of health care facilities- people living in rural areas have little or no access to hospitals and health care facilities. The hospitals do not have the required medical equipment and technology. Also, there is a lack of medical professionals in rural areas. People in rural areas also have low socio-economic class. People here do not have any kind of health insurance and are dependent on government assistance for their health. And people dependent on such assistance are less likely to receive such facilities. Therefore, life expectancy is lower in rural areas than in urban areas.
- Air pollution- another major environmental issue underlying rural areas is air pollution. This problem is not only limited to urban areas, but it also affects the rural areas. The excessive use of pesticides and fertilizers leads to air pollution. Pesticide drift occurs when chemicals are transported from their source by the wind. These toxic compounds can evaporate in the air and can be inhaled by people. Many fertilizers and pesticides use the chemical like volatile organic compounds that interfere with other compounds in the air and can lead to serious environmental issues. The release of ammonia from the farm factories also degrades the air quality and lead to serious health issues. The backyard burning of trash also causes air pollution. This trash is burnt instead of treating it properly, which releases Hazardous air pollutants, particle pollution, and volatile organic compounds that can be dangerous to rural people’s health.
The problems faced by the rural areas are quite different from what the people in urban areas are going through. These people are mostly dependent on their lands for their survival. Common environmental problems like air and water pollution are a result of poor management of resources. Also, deficiency of proper health care facilities, socio-economic background contribute further to these problems. Such issues need to be addressed with improved education, strategic planning, and policy reform.