Why is urbanization contributing to pollution?

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Cities attract a lot of people from rural locations, not only due to the accessibility/convenience factors that a city life offers, but also due to the increased amount of services available to members of the public.

More economic opportunity (i.e. jobs and education), medical care and entertainment are just some of the pull-factors that a city life boasts. As a result, cities experience an influx/increase in population leading to greater pollution levels.

What are 5 negative effects / disadvantages of urbanization?

Here are some of the issues that arise as a result of urbanization:

More Poverty
Urban growth is a contributor to increased poverty, since the city-life pull-factors (outlined above) become more and more strained as a result of overpopulation.

In addition to that, the demand outweighs supply for important public services, resulting in both physical and economical decline for any given community.

More Air Pollution
As populations increase, so does the energy/pollution output. In more concentrated, built-up areas, this leads to worsening human health conditions and dangers as a result of poor air conditions.

As outlined by airdri.com, some benefits of clean air include: cleaner lungs, decreased asthma, improved skin, improved digestion, better mental and physical health.


More Water Pollution
Research conducted by hydrologists at the Southern Research Station Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center, and the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory revealed that “Urbanization affects streams by altering microclimate, surface water dynamics, groundwater recharge, stream geomorphology, biogeochemistry, and stream ecology. These changes affect both water quantity and quality (nutrient, sediment and pollutant levels).”


Animal Welfare Harmed
Since the 1950s in the United States, the frequency of urban regions in relation to land space has grown by more than 400%. With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that natural animal habitats are subsequently lost / destroyed / taken over due to human civilisation.

Animals play a vital role in ecosystem functionality and survival, so destroying animal habitats negatively impacts not only the food chain but also the environment.


Higher Natural Disaster Chances
Since pollution results in climate change, an increase in global temperatures leads to more storms, droughts and flooding. As water vapor evaporates into the atmosphere it increases the likelihood of ‘storm-perfect’ conditions to develop.

skyline pollution

What are the causes of urbanization?

Numerous social and economic factors contribute to urbanization. The ’causes’ of urbanization strongly overlap with the ‘pull-factors’ outlined in the first section of this article, since most people tend to relocate on the basis of necessity and preference.

Here are some of the causes:

Industrialization
As traditional agricultural activities are replaced with a non-agricultural / focused economy, more modern job opportunities arise as a result. This creates more jobs in comparison to traditional agricultural economies and regions, therefore resulting in urbanization.


Rural-Urban Redevelopment
As regions experience more economical prosperity as a result of economic investment and social influx, more wealth is generated leading to further economic growth and employment creation. New cities emerge as a result, i.e. a complete re-development from a rural to urban economy.


Increased Social Services & Benefits
Medical care, education, entertainment, convenience and accessibility (in terms of transport) are just some of the social services and benefits that can be observed as a result of urbanization. It could be said that some of these benefits result in a better quality of life (this is however an objective opinion).


Increased Employment
Since employment itself is such a key driving force in economic development, it’s only right that we individually highlight job creation. Without employment opportunities, investment is restricted and urbanization is restricted as a result.

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