Sustainable Development and the Environment: An Aspect of Development

©2013 Textbook 50 Pages


The survival of man depends on the physical environment. The use of the environment has increased in order to satisfy the needs of men. Therefore, human negligence and collective actions for economic gains have put the environment at a disadvantage.Many of the natural ecosystems have been interfered. This has been through encroachment on forest reserves, degradation of wetlands, uncontrollable expansion of agricultural land leading to soil erosion and soil exhaustion, overgrazing and burning of grasslands leading to bear soils that are susceptible to erosion agents. A sustainable situation occurs when man’s ability to use natural resources can be replenished naturally. Man’s activity has outstretched the ability of these resources to replenish naturally. The interactions of man’s current processes with the environment have strained it. The man’s disturbance affects the interdependence of the atmosphere that is the lithosphere, the hydrosphere and the biosphere which lead to environmental degradation.


Table Of Contents

Table of Contents

Chapter one
1.2 Purpose of the study
1.3. Definitions

Chapter two
2.1 Causes of environmental degradation

Chapter three
3.0 Impact of environment Mismanagement

Chapter four
Environmental Management
4.1 Sustainable agriculture
4.2 Mixed Farming
4.3. Multiple cropping
4.4. Water management
4.5 Management of forest resources
4.6 Improved health for a sustainable development
4.7. Environmental management: principles from quantum theory
4.8. Other parameters for sustainable development

Chapter Five
5.0 Recommendations

Chapter six
6.0 Conclusion



Chapter one


Man is dependent on the physical environment for his survival. He has however failed to tame it controllably. Man’s desire to satisfy his needs have led to increased human use of the environment. Human negligence in addition to collective actions for economic gains has put the environment at a disadvantage.

Many of the natural ecosystems have been interfered with. This has been through encroachment on forest reserves, degradation of wetlands, uncontrollable expansion of agricultural land leading to soil erosion and soil exhaustion, overgrazing and burning of grasslands leading to bear soils that are susceptible to erosion agents. A sustainable situation occurs when man’s ability to use natural resources can be replenished naturally. Man’s activity has outstretched the ability of these resources to replenish naturally. The interactions of man’s current processes with the environment have strained it. The man’s disturbance affects the interdependence of the atmosphere, that is, the lithosphere, the hydrosphere and the biosphere which leads to environmental degradation. It has caused negative impact in several ways such as such as global warming, acidification, fossil and resource depletion, photo chemical oxidation, human toxicology, and fresh water aquatic pollution.

1.2 Purpose of the study.

- To aid the people to be aware of the objectives of the principles and perspectives of sustainable development and environmental management.
- To be able to identify the linkages between environment, society and development.
- To develop environmental planning skills.

1.3. Definitions.

Sustainable development is a pattern of resource use, that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present but also for generations to come. (United Nations report, 1987). It is very clear that sustainable development involves careful handling of the available resources such that these resources are not extinct for even the future generations to use and enjoy. Since the future generations continue to face the challenge of an increasing population growth rates, the need for more resources for energy and other needs continue to rise. Natural resources should therefore be generously guarded despite intense human activity. This calls for an agreement with the proper resource management so that the future generations can also benefit. Management of resources should be inherent in the people around the world since man is part and parcel of nature. All the people old and young should develop a passion of the environment.

Sustainable development is affected by three major factors for instance environmental, economic and socio-political factors. Therefore to achieve sustainable development, social, economic, and environmental objectives must be met. We cannot sustain development in the long run if we fail to balance social, economic, and environmental objectives. For example to ensure a sustainable development there must be a healthy population that is economically empowered, with a sober mind, educated and with desirable values. Such type of population is as a result of good governance and proper policies.

Globalization provides great opportunities and challenges for sustainable development. Globalization offers opportunities of international trade among nations, investment opportunities, capital flows and technology advancement and transfer for the growth of world economies. This enhances the improvement of people’s welfare, a pre requisite to sustainable development. There are still challenges to overcome to meet the desired standards. These include poverty, diseases, political insecurity, unemployment and un equal distribution of incomes among the people in the community. These challenges cause disequilibrium between the growth objectives and sustainable development.

Some of the factors necessary for sustainable development include; proper management of natural resources, poverty eradication, proper cosumption behaviors that results into sustainable production patterns and proper policies in regard to environment management and investment.

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Source: Self developed 2011

Sustainable development and environmental management depends on human activity. When the environment is properly handled in man’s endeavor to attain his needs, the ecosystem is maintained thus sustainable development. On the other hand, careless handling of the natural resources through human activity will abuse the environment. The end result will be poverty and hunger, deforestation, pollution, resource depletion and general fall in the welfare of the population. This calls man to revisit his ways of co-existence with the environment without causing any natural conflict. Better methods of dealing with the environment are necessary. These include; a forestation, pollution control, better methods of agriculture that are sustainable. Social economic factors, good governance and policies are also necessary for sustainable development.

Chapter two

2.1 Causes of environmental degradation.

Some of man’s activities once not controlled lead to poor management of natural resources. These activities lead to soil erosion, bush enchroachment, deforestation and pollution. These effects generally sum up to environmental degradation. Environmental degradation is a result of mutilateral processes that enchroach on the environment. These include socio-economic, institutional and technological activities on the environment. High agitation for economic growth, intensification of agriculture, rising energy and transportation, and urbanisation results into mismanagement of natural resources thus dynamic environment changes. This is in agreement with NEMA report (2004) which shows that poverty has been and is the major cause of environmental degradation and resuorce depletion. Poverty in the environment fragile areas triggers cause and effect of environmental degradation.

Undesirable land use patterns such as poor farming systems lead to land degradation. These poor farming practices include monocropping, clearing and burning the vegetation and use of rudimentally techniques fo production. Kimaru (2003) points out places that are densily populated such as Kigezi Highlands, vegetative fallowing has been largely abandoned which has resulted into loss of organic matter and soil biodiversity. Soil physical properties and soil nutrients will be affected. Social, economic and technological factors have a big bearing on the farming practices. The cutting of the trees leaves the land bear subjecting it to soil erosion. This leaves the soil layers to be washed to the lowlands. The low lands are subjected to floods that causes loss of lives and property. Common areas which are victims of this include Bududa in Western Uganda.

Deforestation is another cause of environmental degradation. The protective cover of the soil is removed by the need to have more land for agriculture, overgrazing, burning that destroys a vast range of forest land. All this leads to soil erosion, land salination and loss of nutrients from the soil.

The loss of the vegetation cover in the drive to push for industrialisation is becoming unbearable threat to the ecological system.Gastone (2013) explains that environmental disasters such as floods, landslides, drought, hailstorms water scarcity are among the challenges Uganda is going through as the aftereffects of the uncontrolled deforestation. Some of the forested lands is being turned into plantational farms to produce the raw materials for the industries such as Mabira forest Gastone report says. It is evidenced that many parts of forest cover have fallen prey to human economic activity, a situation that is heading most communities to the environmental turmoil.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Photo by Johnan-15th Nov 2011.

The photo was taken in Kitumba, 8 km from Kabale municipality. It depicts the indiscriminate cutting of the trees for charcoal which is on high demand both in Uganda and our neighbouring Rwanda. Charcoal burning has created an environmental disaster in Kabale district and many other parts in the country side. The end result has always been excessive soil erosion on the hillsides and floods in the lowlands leading to loss of property and lives. Another example is from Central America which registered a decline in forest cover by 19% between 1990-2005. This loss of the vegetation cover was primarily by expansion of agriculture and cattle ranching.

A high rate of increased population directly impacts on the environment. A high rate of population growth increase pressure on the availabe resources and results in environmental stresses like loss of biodiversity, air and water pollution and increased pressure on arable land. There is also the dependency burden that affects the individuals of the working population. A lot is spent on the big families and so little is saved for investiment. This eventually lead to the persistent viscous cycle of poverty.

Rural urban migration that comes as a result of failure to have jobs from which to earn some income in rural areas. People move to urban centres to look for jobs. This has rapidly increased population numbers in the urban areas. This therefore exerts a lot of pressure on the available resources such as housing, energy, education, health, transport water, and recreational ammenities. It leads to the deteriorating of social services such as water and air , growth of slums and congestion.

Transport activities is one of the causes of environmental degradation. This is in form of air pollution, noise and oil spills from marine shipping. In Uganda a lot of very old vehicles are seen on the road causing pollution to the atmosphere. There is no time limit for which a vehicle should be used on the road. Some vihicles are in poor mechanical condition causing a lot of pollution to the atmosphere. They are also a threat to human life since they are among the major causes of road accidents.

Rapid expansion of the cities that is at times un planned results into degradation of urban. A lot of crime is also observed in many cities that involve theft and robbery. The rapid expansion widens the gap between supply and demand for services like energy, education, water, and recreational services. This has subsequently led to congestion and pollution. This is common in almost all cities of the world including those of the developed world. Pennington, David W, Versmann, Andreas. (2011) talk about the amount of waste generated in Europe and beyond, by the production and consumption patterns of the masses. They add to say that a proper waste management is essential in order to reduce detrimental environmental impacts. A high sense of waste management need to be planted in the population. Uganda and Rwanda are two neighboring countries with different cultures as far as waste management is concerned. In Uganda people deposit waste any how whereas the Rwandese are very careful in waste management. This is due to the strictness of the law in Rwanda. In Uganda the people do not respect the law due to rising corruption, lack of roll models among other factor among other factors

The manufacturing technology has caused harm to the environment. This is evidenced by intensive resource and energy use causing resource depletion, water, air and pollution and degradation of the ecosystem. There are huge amounts of industrial and hazardous wastes that cause serious environmental health problems. As far as industrialization is concerned, there is a lot of wasted waste. There is waste and misuse of the environment as well as increased environmental degradation. There is an increased moral degeneration to the workers in the industry and this affects sustainable development. Secondary, industrialists aim at profit maximization at the expense of the welfare of the community. Externalities lead to the deterioration of the living standards of the people.

Some countries do not respond to environmental strategies because of their persistent debt burdens. Such countries overexploit the earth’s resources to get cash to cover the debts. They deliberately cut on social, health, environmental conservation and other important programs for community welfare with the aim of coming out of the huge debt. For example, Honduras and Nicaragua, where Hurricane Mitch devastated large parts of these countries as well as Mozambique and Madagascar where floods have made hundreds of thousands of people homeless. It is important to tackle debt problems for such countries so as to easily attain environmental targets.

The effect of consumerism has been observed to be one of the key problems towards environmental management around the world. Consumption patterns have changed a great deal. There is overconsumption that strains the available resources. Such mass consumption calls for the matching supply to make the situation in equilibrium. The level mass consumption has been rapidly growing and has had an impact on the environment. How do we consume and for what purposes determines how we extract resources. This creates the type of products needed on the market that ends up with pollution and waste. It therefore directly affects environmental degradation, poverty, hunger and also obesity that is on the rise. Solutions to the problems like poverty, hunger, environmental degradation and other related problems need to be sought by researchers, policy makers in consultation with the local communities.

Poor disposal of polythene bags is also detrimental to the environment. The polythene bags once poorly disposed choke the environment because they do not decay. Atuheire (2012) explains that it is important to replace the unfriendly environment polythene bags with those made out of banana fibres. She adds that products such as paper, carpets, and fabrics can be made out of banana fibres.

Chapter three

3.0 Impact of environment Mismanagement.

As more and more people move from rural to urban areas, the carrying capacity of the roads, railways, hospitals, schools telecommunications services accommodation and transport services is outstretched. This high demand for infrastructure requires public and private cooperation. The rate of urbanization is increasing due to the shift of people from rural to urban areas. Cities are experiencing an increasing strain on their existing infrastructural systems for instance on power grids, roadways, telecommunication lines, accommodation and transport services.

For example using a flexible grid infrastructure in the North-East US in 2003 to meet the demand for power. These back outs can be over come by having an environmentally friendly and affordable energy grid system to match the energy demand. In Uganda most of the energy sources are not tapped; such as wind, solar, and bio gas. The country depends on hydro electric power, fire wood and charcoal for its energy needs and this greatly strains these energy sources. Rural electrification is still poor and therefore the rural basically depends on wood for their energy hence a major cause for environmental degradation. NEMA Report (1998) points out that, in rural areas where land gets degraded, livelihoods are threatened in form of decline in food, increased famine and loss of income and consequently, reduction in the access to any goods and services attached to them.

Lakes have been polluted by human activities. This water is meant for human and animal use. For example L. Bunyonyi water is used for domestic and industrial use in Kabale town, whereas L. Victoria is a source of water for Kampala, Jinja and Masaka. Communities around the lakes are sensitized to plant trees and reduce activities that pollute these lakes. Not only do trees improve on the quality of air we breath, they also purify the water that goes into the lakes. Bian, Bo, Cheng, Xiao-Juano; Li, Lei (2011) explain that Road deposited sediments (RDS) is an important environmental medium for impacting the characteristics of pollutants in storm water run-off; it is of critical importance to investigate the water quality of urban environments. Urban water quality in urban cities is poor due a lot of human activity. The urban environment is stretched by a high population pressure. In some of the cities, there is lack of enough toilets and city dwellers tend to dispose the waste poorly that ends up contaminating water and the air. It ultimately leads to poor health of the population. There is still outbreak of dysentery, cholera and typhoid that is reported in some urban canters. Investigation of water quality is therefore very important for the health of the people.

It is believed that Uganda is prone to diseases such as Marburg and Ebola because of tampering with the wildlife. Agatha (2012) puts it that Ebola and Marburg hemorrhagic fever occurs in places near forests that have been encroached on by the human activity such as cutting trees, leaving the place open for wildlife to interface with man. Dr. Lwamafa (2012) explains that where optimal conditions exist for direct interface of man and wildlife, there will be transmission of diseases which are not typically human diseases, moving from wild animal kingdom to human beings through the environment. Ebola and Marburg have been a threat in some parts of Uganda and these are contagious diseases whose chances to survive are minimal.

The negative consequences of rapid urban population growth and industrialization greatly affect the environment. This is as a result of increased demand for charcoal and food. This therefore will affect the vegetation cover for charcoal burners and food producers who clear land in search of more agricultural land. However the rapid population growth generates demand that encourages industrialization.

According to media reports, Musamya river is heavily polluted by industrial waste from the sugar cooperation of Uganda limited. The water quality of this river is poor due to untreated waste released from the industry. Fish and animals die which shows that the water is poisonous. The residents complain that they develop skin rashes when they swim or bathe in that river. The resident James Wakabu of Wasswa village complains “We have been rendered helpless because we are very poor. The resource that we used to enjoy freely has been taken away’’. The other problem noted on the river is its bad smell. A tourist guide at Griffin campsite, complains that because of the smelly water, tourists do not enjoy the local dishes which used be a source of revenue to the people in that village. Apart from the pollution, consultants discovered that the river is too silted to sustain life reports say. Even before waste is released from the industry into river Musamya, the color of the water is brown. This is as a result of siltation due to rampant cutting down of trees and destruction of wetlands in the river’s catchment.



Type of Edition
ISBN (Softcover)
File size
1.2 MB
Publication date
2014 (February)
man Resources Environment sustainable development Physical resources

Title: Sustainable Development and the Environment: An Aspect of Development
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50 pages