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Causes of environmental change

How does societal development


affect environment?
IN A POSITIVE WAY
_ It improves quality of life
_ It addresses basic human needs as ‘higher
order’ needs
IN A NEGATIVE WAY
_ It increases the demand for resources and
goods (increases consumerism)
_ It leads to unsustainable land use practices
_ It increases and concentrates generation of
pollution and waste
_ It leads to migration and rapid urbanisation

How does human settlement affect


the environment?
POSITIVES
_ The development of appropriate
green infrastructure like open spaces and
parks enhances diversity protection
_ The maintenance of riparian areas may
protect biodiversity
NEGATIVES
_ It changes land use and land cover
_ It increases pollution and waste
generation
_ It increases the demand for resources
_ It increases population density
_ It requires the provision of infrastructure
and services
_ It promotes urbanisation

How does mining affect the


environment?
POSITIVES
_ It makes a significant contribution to the
provincial and national GDP
_ It creates employment
_ It sustains local mineral processing industries
_ It has the potential to generate income from
heritage tourism
NEGATIVES
_ It changes the topography and visual character
of the land
_ It contaminates surface and groundwater
resources
_ It contaminates and degrades soils through
salinization, acidification, pollution
_ It alters ground water dynamics and surface
water body flow regimes: excess groundwater
pumped from the mines has augmented river
flows, in some cases dramatically
_ Subsidence in dolomitic areas is a major
hazard in Gauteng
_ It poses a radiation hazard
_ Tailings dams generate dust and water
pollution
_ It destroys natural habitats, impacting on
biodiversity
_ It creates zones which poses health and safety
risks to nearby settlements

How does manufacturing affect the environment?


POSITIVES
_ It stimulates the economy
_ It stimulates social development
_ Changing the economy from raw material production to value added manufacturing
should benefit
the environment (less pollution)
NEGATIVES
_ It is one of the largest consumers of primary resources, namely energy (contributing to
the greenhouse
gas budget) and water
_ It generates air, noise, water and soil pollution
_ Illegal manufacturing developments alter land use and affect catchment hydrology, such
as being
established within 1:50 year floodlines

How does energy affect the environment?


POSITIVES
_ It is essential for industrial production and human well-being
NEGATIVES
_ South Africa’s reliance on coal and fossil fuels for power generation and domestic energy
needs results in increased greenhouse gas emissions
_ Particulates and other emissions result from the transport sector
_ Poor air quality results in human health risks
_ The use of wood, coal, gas, paraffin and candles for domestic use poses a safety risk

How does transport affect the


environment?
POSITIVES
_ It is an essential component of the
economy through the movement of
people and goods
NEGATIVES
_ The transport sector is one of the
largest contributors to greenhouse
gas emissions and particulates
_ Vehicle emissions are thought to be
a major cause of respiratory and other
diseases
_ Transport networks fragment natural
habitat
_ Linear transport infrastructure may
cause barriers to human movement
between communities
_ Transport poses a significant risk to
human safety

How does agriculture affect the


environment?
POSITIVES
_ It one of the largest generators of foreign
exchange although small in Gauteng
_ It can alleviate household food insecurity
NEGATIVES
_ The transformation of natural habitat causes
fragmentation and reduces biodiversity
_ Inappropriate agricultural practices cause
degradation and lower the ability of natural
resources to sustain livelihoods
_ It affects water quality in terms of sediment
loads and contamination by pesticides

How does tourism affect the


environment?
POSITIVES
_ It promotes conservation of natural habitats
and cultural precincts
_ It generates a high ratio of jobs per unit
investment
_ Income generating opportunities over a
range of service and skills levels can be
generated
_ It increases environmental awareness
_ It creates recreational opportunities
NEGATIVES
_ It can lead to degradation of the natural and
cultural assets if poorly managed and overexploited