Revision Notes. Human Effects on the Environment. Land use, pollution and sustainability.

Authors Avatar

11.8 Human’s Effect on the Environment

Human Population Explosion

  • The human population is growing rapidly due to an increase in the standard of living.

Waste Production

  • Raw materials including non-renewable energy resources are rapidly being used up and increasingly more waste is produced.
  • Unless waste is properly handled, more pollution will be caused.

Land Use

Humans reduce the amount of land available for other animals and plants by:

  • Building
  • Quarrying
  • Farming
  • Dumping Waste


Large scale deforestation in tropical areas, for timber and to provide land for agriculture, has:

  • Increased the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (because of burning and the activities of microorganisms)
  • Reduced the rate at which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere (by photosynthesis) and locked-up for many years as wood.
  • Loss of forest leads to reduction in biodiversity. Some of the organisms that are lost may be of future use.
Join now!


Waste may pollute:

  • water with sewage, fertiliser or toxic chemicals;
  • air - with smoke and gases such as sulfur dioxide;
  • land - with toxic chemicals, such as pesticides and herbicides, which may be washed from land into water.  

Sulfur dioxide contributes to acid rain:

  • It dissolves in the rain forming sulphuric acid.
  • This damages the leaves and the roots of trees.
  • Rivers and streams become acidic.
  • Aquatic plants and animals may die.

The Greenhouse Effect

  • Carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere absorb most of ...

This is a preview of the whole essay