II. Africa‎ > ‎6. African History‎ > ‎

C. History of Environmental Threats



 This video was created by Team Marines to explain the environmental problems in Africa.



When people imagine Africa they see fields of grass with wild animals spread throughout grasslands. However Africa is currently affected by many environmental issues that people are unaware of. Today we will discuss some of the environmental issues in Africa and the effects on the continent.
 
First we will talk about water pollution and its effects. Water pollution is when chemicals are disposed into the water and the water is not treated properly. Water pollution is caused by many things such as people disposing chemicals or object into clean fresh water or people using chemicals in their agriculture that eventually run into a clean fresh water source. After the chemicals or objects enter the water; the water is contaminated and cannot be used without cleaning/treating it. Water pollution is harmful to plants and humans. If a person drinks water that is contaminated he/or she will most likely get a waterborne disease. If the contaminated water is used for agriculture; the crops will eventually die due to the bacteria found in dirty water. If crops are damaged and cannot be used agriculture trade will also decline since the crops are contaminated and cannot be exported. This will cause the agriculture industry to decline and cause many people to lose their jobs due to the lack of funds. There is also the fishing industry that is affected by water pollution. If the water is contaminated the fish will eventually die due to the bacteria and will cause the fishing industry to decline.
 
The second environmental issue that we will discuss is the deforestation in the Sub-Saharan Africa. Deforestation is the act of clear cutting trees and using them in multiple ways. A very common type of deforestation is slash and burn. Slash and burn is cutting down and burning trees so that when the trees are burned they will release nutrients into the soil and improving the soil quality for agriculture. This common method is used by many people and is the main reason of deforestation. Slash and burn may seem efficient at first but truly it's not. Slash and burn not only causes more trees to be cut down but doesn't improve the soil permanently. This method is used a lot because the soil quality in Africa is poor since farmers do not use efficient techniques such as crop rotation. Another way that people are contributing to the deforestation is as simple as cutting trees for firewood. People in Africa cut the trees and use them for either profit or as a personal energy source.
 
The third environmental issue in Africa is desertification. Desertification is when soil is permanently damaged and cannot be used again. This is caused when too much deforestation takes place and the soil is blown away since there are no roots from the trees to hold down the quality good soil. Another contributing factor is the poor quality farming used by almost every African farmer. They use methods such as overgrazing and over-cultivation. Though there are ways to fix this problem, it is too costly and the people of Africa cannot afford to fix desertification. This growing issue has been a major reason why experts are saying that the Sahara Desert may be growing. Desertification is also causing the African rainforests to get smaller since people are cutting trees and not replanting them. 




 Click on picture to see it bigger

This map provided by the United Nations Environmental Programme to display the effects of Deforestation in West Africa. This map shows us that the levels of deforestation continue to increase thus making Desertification even more possible in West Africa.



 

 

 A short presentation displaying pictures of the effects of environmental issues in Africa. 
 


This short video explains water pollution in Africa and how people all over the world are helping to fix this major environmental issue in Africa.

 
This video explains the Deforestation issue and the effects of it on the African continent.

Quick Summary:
  • Water pollution kills plants and people
  • Deforestation is the cutting down trees and not replanting them
  • Deforestation's most
    common method is
    slash-and-burn, where you cut down the trees and you burn them to make fertile soil but it does not last long
  • Deforestation leads to desertification
  • Desertification - Land that cannot be used again
  • Desertification is spreading all over Africa because of overgrazing, overcultivation and deforestation.
  •  

Written by
 
 
Members:

Mateo
Prit
Lorena
Grace
Becky







Sources:

Class Notebook Entry
 - NB: 17 & 18

UNEP Picture
Deforestation in West Africa is Public Domain.

Slideshow Pictures
All are public domain and can be found in Wikipedia
 
Class Discussions/Lectures
 - Mr. Parker