In recent months, Africa has been widely mentioned in the popular press. While the focus of this media attention has been the AIDS epidemic that is occurring in the region, it is important for Westerners to understand that there are a host of other pervasive problems occurring in the region. In particular, soil degradation and water pollution have been identified as critical issues for the development of Africa. With the realization that these problems represent such a challenging problem for the development of Africa, there is a clear impetus to examine the scope of the problem and identify potential solutions. Using this as a basis for investigation, this research considers the causes of soil degradation and water pollution in Africa. In addition, this research examines what other countries and regions have done to address these issues in the past. Through a synthesis of the information, it will be possible to identify key ideas that may provide Africa with a solid framework for improving these environmental problems.
Environmental and social factors that may aid or hinder development in Africa will also be addressed.
[...] Water Pollution With the basic problem of soil degradation in Africa outlined, it is now possible to consider the issue of water pollution. Morris (2002) in her review of water pollution in Africa notes that the situation has become so problematic that one child dies every 15 seconds as a result of an illness caused by contaminated water. Morris reports that this death toll is equivalent to crashing 20 jumbo jets every day. Unfortunately, the inability of the government to address this issue only continues to exacerbate the situation. [...]
[...] The central focus of this type of plan, according to Boer and Hannam, is that the individual country is given the opportunity to address the problem of soil degradation on an individual basis. Depending on the environmental conditions that exist in a given region, the methods used to resolve soil degradation problems will vary. Although the development of a plan to reduce soil degradation in Africa appears to be quite straightforward, the implementation of such a plan is what promulgates conflict for this region. [...]
[...] Niemeijer and Mazzucato (2002) go on to note that a recent report released jointly by the International Food Policy Research Institute and the World Resources Institute found that estimated 500 million hectares of land in Africa have been affected by soil degradation since about 1950, including as much as 65 per cent of agricultural land” (p. 20). What the data clearly indicates is that the issue of soil degradation is one of significant important for Africa. As the process of soil degradation continues, citizens will find it more difficult to sustain their agriculturally based economy. [...]
[...] To illustrate this point, Emanoil (2000) notes that even though the United States currently has one of the safest drinking water supplies, the ability of the government to protect this resource is due to the fact that strict polices have been put in place to build water and sanitation infrastructure. Emanoil argues that in order to provide safe drinking water, the root causes of pollution need to be identified and addressed. Once this process has occurred, regulatory agencies need to be put in place to maintain the quality of the water over time. [...]
[...] By assessing the methods used by other countries to combat both soil degradation and water pollution, a more integral understanding of what works will be elucidated. With this information, it will then be possible to formulate a strategy for improving these environmental conditions in Africa. Soil Degradation Considering the issue of soil degradation as it relates to other nations, it becomes evident that any country that engages in agricultural activities must address this critical issue. A precursory overview of this environmental issue also reveals that most developed nations have put in force plans that prevent soil degradation from occurring. [...]
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