In the book we used in class the nations that make up Asia were split up into four different regions; Central, East, South, and Southeast Asia. However, in the interest of time and similar environmental issues I’ve decided to refer to them all together.
One of the more prominent issues throughout this region is once again, desertification. For many years agriculture and farming has played a large role in the lifestyle of the people in the region, especially in the more central countries like Kazakhstan. Although it has been a necessary part of their life and worked for so long, it is now becoming a problem. Constant farming and grazing has caused soil erosion, which is leading to desertification and shrinking grasslands. Further East there is the issue of the Gobi Desert and its expansion into China and Mongolia as seen in the previous picture.
Deforestation is once again a significant problem in the Asia region. For many years the uplands of southern China have been subject to deforestation. Despite the efforts made to stop it, the process has accelerated in more recent years. Large areas of India and most of Nepal have suffered from deforestation to accommodate for the demand for more land for agriculture and building railroads. A substantial amount of forest throughout the many islands of Southeast Asia, including those of Indonesia, the Philippines, and much of Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Burma. The image above shows an accurate color depiction of the heavy deforestation in Thailand and how it differs from its surrounding countries.
Coastal pollution has become a serious issue along the eastern coast of China, as well as along much of the coast of North Korea, South Korea, and Japan. Similarly, almost the entire coast of India and Bangladesh is polluted, along with parts of the coasts of Thailand, the Philippines, and the Indonesian island Java. In China, this has led to an estimation by the World Health Organization of 95,000 deaths each year from polluted drinking water. Obviously coastal and water pollution is a problem and has pretty severe effects on people, as well as the wildlife in and around the affected areas. Above is an image of the pollution that covers the beaches and ruins the water surrounding Mumbai, India.
One specific area that has seen the negative effects of human civilization and water use is the Aral Sea in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Until the late twentieth century it was the fourth largest lake in the world. Unfortunately, in the past century more water has been diverted from the rivers that feed Aral Sea, the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya rivers, for irrigation purposes. The more the water was diverted, the less reached the sea, leading to its severe decrease in size. In the past thirty years the water has receded more than 40 miles, more islands have appeared, it is now two separate lakes, and most fish species have disappeared.
Because of the tremendous amount of land that makes up these Asian regions, there are a lot of environmental issues plaguing the land. Many people live within this region, which leads to many human-made problems, all of which could be prevented if we were to care enough to stop and take care of the land that is still left an usable.