Mohtasim Ahmed Prem
W e , human beings, are blessed by our surroundings with natural resources. We can easily meet our demand from nature. But the resources of nature are very limited. In this case, the word ‘Natural Resources Depletion’ is come. This is one of the greatest problems that human beings are encountered in the near future.
Resources depletion refers to the situation where the consumption of natural resources is faster than it can be replenished. Natural resources are those resources that are in existence without human actions and they can either be renewable or non-renewable. The term resource depletion is commonly associated with water usage, fossil fuel consumption, mining, fertile soil usage, trees, and fishing.
Since the industrial revolution, economic activity increases greatly and the world economy has grown dramatically. The economic condition of peoples also change by the influences of this industrial revolution. Growth of population is greater in the meantime and the uses of natural resources are also going high. The rising demand of more than 7.6 billion people has transformed land use and generated unprecedented levels of pollution, affecting biodiversity, forests, wetlands, water bodies, soils, and air quality. Human uses more resources of nature than the earth can regenerate. An updated estimate of how fast that consumption is happening suggests that it’s more rapid in 2019 than in the past 50 years, according to the California-based Global Footprint Network. Consequently, the world’s eco-footprint is estimated to be one point seven five times the ability of the earth to sustainably provide each individual with enough resources that meet their consumption levels.
Is the growth of population the only reason for Natural resource depletion? No. The growth of population is the main cause but it’s not the only reason for this problem. The total global population is more than seven billion. Still, there is a consistent increase in the overall earth populace and this has been a critical factor in accelerating the depletion of natural resources. But we can’t blame only the growth of the population for natural resource depletion. Indeed the unplanned activities and uses of natural resources such as the unplanned usages of land, poor farming practices, deforestation, overconsumption of natural resources, polluting the environment have created this major problem.
We are facing a water crisis in many parts of the world. Due to the increasing number of population and also poor farming practices, deforestation, and pollution are major causes of water resource depletion due to contamination, wastage, and the destruction of natural water catchment areas. Despite the fundamental role of water for human health, survival, and development, every one out of nine people does not have access to clean water today. Also, 2.5 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation, and every minute a child dies from a water-related disease. This problem is going bigger day by day. Water shortage further contributes to famine and food insecurity.
Oil depletion also increases, as natural resource depletion problems rise day by day. Oil is one of the non-renewable resources we have. Oil consumption has nearly doubled in the past decade. Research by EIA’s International Energy Outlook had shown that due to the high rate of oil exploitation, the amount of oil remaining would last for only 25 years. Oil is necessary for industrial and communication purposes.
The adverse effects of oil depletion include the fall of business, the high cost of living in developing countries, and uncertainty in the transport sector.
Another major problem that we face for natural resource depletion that the number of forests and vegetation is decreasing highly as the problem is increasing. According to recent reports, approximately 18 million acres of forest cover are destroyed annually. Furthermore, studies indicate an increase in deforestation in the past three decades has resulted in a 12% to 17% rise in greenhouse gases globally. As a result of this, we already faced enormous problems like the greenhouse effect, global warming, loss of biodiversity, soil erosion, acid rain, sea-level rise, and so on. Some species may become extinct as a result of overuse of resources and habitat degradation. Forested regions are known to be a habitat for thousands of animals but deforestation is progressively destroying forest habitats.
In fact, every environmental component is very systemically connected to each other. When we go beyond any exploitation of these environmental resources it creates environmental chaos. If we cannot control this destructive activity of depletion of natural resources, our future will be even more threatened.
Now, what should we do to minimize or control this problem??
Renewables such as solar and wind power can be explored more and utilized to reduce the dependency on fossil fuel. That’s why we should use more renewable energy for conserving non-renewable power.
We use natural resources, such as coal and natural gas, to produce the electricity we use in homes, offices, stores, and elsewhere. We can conserve some of that electricity simply by turning things off and unplugging them when we’re not using them and by using more energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs. We should make use of electricity more efficient.
Oil is a non-renewable energy. In this modern time, we are very much dependent on oil for our day-to-day life activities. But we have to change this dependency on oil with alternative methods. And also we should reduce our use of oils, minerals, and materials.
We should avoid single-use plastics. Reducing our plastic use helps us avoid the use of the resources needed to make plastic and prevents plastic waste from harming the natural environment.
Coastal and wetland ecosystems are vital to maintaining food order because they replenish water sources and receive minerals and nutrients for the primary producers (green and flowering plants) needed to maintain plant and animal biodiversity.
They also help control marine overfishing and protect coral walls while protecting coastal ecosystems. So we have to protect the wetlands and coastal ecosystem.
Improving our recycling systems can also help. Researchers can find new, more efficient ways to recycle, local governments can make recycling easier and businesses can implement recycling programs for their employees. We should go for more recycling and improve the recycling system to reduce the depletion of natural resources.
Approximately a third of the food produced for human consumption every year gets wasted or lost. Because of all the resources required to grow, transport, and prepare the food, this is a huge waste. So it is very important for us to reduce food waste.
Forests are full of natural resources. But we’re destroying forests faster than the earth can replenish them — at a rate of about 60 acres each minute. Sustainable forest management practices can help prevent this. So we have to ensure promoting sustainable forest management all over the world.
People need to be educated on how their daily practices put a strain on the scarce natural resources and their individual contributions to the depletion of natural resources.
Author is a Student of Environmental Science and Engineering Department at Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University, Trishal, Mymensingh—2224, Bangladesh