Monday, August 22, 2011

The expansion of urban areas is a big threat to environment

Human population is growing at a rapid rate, and the growth of human population also triggers the growth of cities in many countries across the globe. According to the latest study by the researchers from Yale, Arizona State, Texas A&M and Stanford in the next two decades urban areas will expand by incredible 590,000 square miles in order to accommodate 1.47 billion more people living in urban areas.

The worst part in this urban expansion story is that the new cities will likely be developed in areas that are the most biologically diverse which could create enormous damage to environment, mostly in form of huge biodiversity loss.

New cities will be growing and expanding into forests, biological hotspots, savannas, coastlines - all of which are sensitive and vulnerable places with rich biodiversity.

The scientists have also discovered that urban areas are mostly expanding in coastal areas. The large urban expansion in coastal areas is not only threat to environment but also to people because coasts are at risk to several different environment disasters such as flooding, tsunamis and hurricanes, especially as climate change impact becomes more serious.

Urban land expansion is especially the problem in developing countries such as China and India. In China, urban growth is mostly driven by a rapidly rising middle class, while in India urban growth is mostly about rapid population growth.

The new urban areas will cause even bigger habitat loss leading many animals at the brink of extinction and there will be less available agricultural land which could lead to more hunger in the world.