Understanding the Environment: Issues, Causes, and Examples

Joko Warino S.P M.Si

Understanding the Environment Issues, Causes, and Examples

The environment is an essential part of nature that deserves to be conserved.

However, at present, there are numerous environmental issues occurring not only in one hemisphere but also in other parts of the world.

The existing environmental problems must be gradually addressed. So, what are the current environmental issues and what are their impacts?

Without further ado, let’s delve into the comprehensive explanation about the environment.

Definition of Environment According to Experts

Definition of Environment According to Experts

Before delving into more detailed explanations about the environment, it would be better for you to understand what the concept of the environment actually entails from the perspective of experts.

The following are summaries of explanations from these experts.

1. Munadjat Danusaputro

According to Munadjat Danusaputro, linguistically, the definition of the environment in several languages has similarities, much like in English, which is “environment,” and in French, “L’environment.”

Furthermore, in German, the environment is referred to as “umwelt,” and in Dutch, it is called “milieu.”

Moreover, in a literal sense, Munadjat Danusaputro defines the environment as encompassing all objects, conditions, and living creatures (humans, flora, fauna) that influence the survival of those living beings themselves.

2. SJ McNaughton and Larry L Wolf

According to these environmental experts, the definition of the environment encompasses all external factors possessing physical and biological attributes capable of influencing the life of living organisms, including their growth and development.

3. Otto Soemarwoto

From the perspective of Otto Soemarwoto, an ecologist or environmental scientist, he states that the environment encompasses the entirety of objects and conditions within a space that can be inhabited or utilized by living organisms.

4. Emil Salim

According to Emil Salim, the environment is comprised of objects, conditions, and influences present in a space occupied by living beings, including humans. The term “environmental space” in this context is considerably broad.

However, in practice, this environmental space refers to natural, economic, social, political, and other factors.

5. Soedjono

According to Soedjono’s perspective, the environment can encompass both the physical and tangible living environment, consisting of numerous elements present in nature.

For example, humans, plants, and animals are considered as physical and tangible entities in this context.

The definition of the environment isn’t limited to the explanations provided by various experts or ecological specialists alone. It’s also outlined in Law Number 32 of 2009 concerning Environmental Protection and Management, Article 1, Paragraph 1.

In that Law, the environment is defined as a spatial unit that includes all objects, conditions or states, forces, and living beings capable of influencing nature, the survival, and the well-being of living creatures.

Environmental Issues

Currently, the environment faces numerous issues. Environmental problems are significant challenges that cannot be underestimated as they can threaten the very survival of living beings. In general, environmental issues can be categorized into the following three aspects:

1. Air Pollution

Air is an essential element for the survival of all living beings. Air is required for continuous breathing.

Good air quality supports humans and other living organisms in maintaining a healthy life.

Clean air is usually odorless, transparent, refreshing, and feels light when inhaled.

In certain environments, such as urban areas, clean air can be challenging to find due to significant pollution.

This is often the case in urban environments surrounded by factories and the widespread use of non-environmentally friendly vehicles.

An example of an environment with good air quality is rural areas. Typically, rural environments are still abundant in lush vegetation, which positively impacts the quality of the air breathed in.

2. Water Pollution

The second environmental issue is water pollution. Besides air, water is a vital element that supports the lives of living beings. Nearly all living organisms, including humans, rely on water for survival.

Unfortunately, water quality is often compromised nowadays due to several factors. Water pollution occurs when various substances or components enter aquatic environments.

When water becomes heavily polluted, it becomes unusable, and if consumed, it can lead to various illnesses.

3. Soil Pollution

Soil pollution is also categorized as an environmental issue that requires heightened attention.

This condition is caused by hazardous substances being directly disposed of, thus entering the soil and not being effectively broken down. Soil pollution, if left unchecked, can have adverse effects on living beings.

Therefore, preventive measures are necessary, such as separating organic and inorganic waste, as well as recycling waste that can still be recycled.

Causes of Environmental Issues

Causes of Environmental Issues

The environmental issues mentioned above do not arise on their own.

There are various causes that lead to the emergence of environmental problems, and some of the causes of environmental issues include:

1. Industrial Waste Disposal

The presence of factories in various areas is one of the causes of environmental pollution.

This is due to the waste generated by factories, containing chemical substances that can pollute the environment.

This problem is exacerbated when waste is disposed of without proper decomposition or management.

2. Factory Emissions

In addition to waste produced by factories, factory emissions are also considered a cause of air pollution.

The emissions from factories contain hazardous substances that can impact lung health.

3. Disposal of Detergent Water

While it might sound trivial, the disposal of detergent water can lead to water pollution.

One of the reasons detergents can harm the environment is due to a substance called alkyl benzene sulfonate. This substance is difficult to break down in nature, thus posing a threat to ecosystems.

4. Excessive Pesticide Use

Excessive use of insecticides and pesticides during spraying activities can actually lead to water pollution.

This is because numerous studies indicate that pesticides can kill various aquatic life forms.

Therefore, the use of pesticides should not be excessive and must adhere to maximum standards when being applied.

5. Agricultural Waste

Agricultural activities are undoubtedly beneficial as they provide food. However, a significant amount of agricultural waste can result in environmental pollution.

One example is the use of urea fertilizers that can cause eutrophication, leading to the death of aquatic organisms.

This occurs when fertilizers are used excessively. Hence, it’s crucial for farmers to use agricultural inputs in appropriate quantities.

6. Excessive Electricity Consumption

Excessive electricity consumption is one of the causes of global warming. Global warming, in turn, leads to climate change.

Extreme climate changes can have dire consequences for both humans and other living beings.

7. Illegal Deforestation

Forests are ecosystems that provide habitats for animals and support plant growth. Additionally, forests play a crucial role in supplying clean and healthy air.

Illegal deforestation is akin to damaging these ecosystems, reducing air quality, and disrupting the habitat of various species.

8. Improper Waste Disposal

Every day, humans generate a significant amount of waste. Improper waste disposal, often done thoughtlessly, can lead to environmental degradation.

Moreover, disposing of waste improperly, especially in aquatic environments, can contribute to disasters such as flooding.

Impact of Environmental Issues

Impact of Environmental Issues

Environmental issues caused by various factors, especially human negligence, can have detrimental effects on the environment itself and living organisms. Some of these impacts are explained below.

1. Decreased Soil Fertility

Due to the presence of non-decomposable waste in the soil, substances that cannot be broken down effectively can disrupt soil fertility.

Similarly, agricultural activities that involve excessive use of inputs like urea fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, and pesticides can degrade soil quality.

2. Increased Extinction of Flora and Fauna Species

Illegal logging and deforestation can indirectly lead to environmental damage and the loss of life among animals and plants.

Moreover, when the overall environment is heavily polluted, living organisms including animals and plants gradually lose their ecosystems, leading to extinction.

3. Emergence of New Diseases

The emergence of various new diseases might be a consequence of unfavorable environmental conditions.

For instance, the presence of chemical substances from factory waste that can’t be adequately broken down, entering water sources, and subsequently being consumed by humans after a long chain of events, can negatively affect human health and potentially lead to the rise of new diseases.

This further highlights the dangerous nature of the impacts caused by environmental issues.

4. Depletion of the Ozone Layer

One of the long-term consequences of global warming is the depletion of the ozone layer.

When this occurs, the survival of both humans and other living beings is further compromised.

To prevent this issue from becoming more severe, it requires awareness from every individual to avoid excessive electricity usage, reduce air pollution, and actively contribute to greening the environment.

Examples of the Environment

Examples of the Environment

The environment can broadly be categorized into natural environments and artificial environments.

Natural environments can be further divided into aquatic and terrestrial environments.

Aquatic environments include lakes, oceans, swamps, and rivers. Terrestrial environments encompass hills, mountains, valleys, forests, and grasslands.

On the other hand, artificial environments mainly consist of parks, playgrounds, reservoirs, ponds, gardens, and fields.

This concludes the explanation about the Definition of Environment: Issues, Causes, and Examples of the Environment.

From the information provided above, it’s evident that environmental issues are incredibly serious and require attention from various parties.

Moreover, it necessitates awareness from each individual to be more prudent in utilizing natural resources and actively participate in preventing environmental pollution.



Joko Warino S.P M.Si

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Joko Warino, a lecturer at one of the universities in Indonesia (Faculty of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, UIN Suska Riau Indonesia). My field of expertise is soil science.

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