Positive Impacts Of Urbanization: The Negative Effects Of Urbanization

1605 Words 6 Pages
As urban sprawl continues, paved streets and uniform rooftops expand relentlessly onward, covering the land with impervious surfaces. “Impervious surfaces are mainly constructed surfaces--rooftops, sidewalks, roads, and parking lots--covered by impenetrable materials such as asphalt, concrete, and stone” (Barnes, Morgan, and Roberge 3). Every new roofed structure, every new sidewalk, and every new road adds a new water blockade. This seal of man made material slowly covering the earth prevents water from infiltrating into the soil and replenishing supplies of ground water. Impervious surfaces also negatively effecting stream flow and overland flow (Strahler 486). We build cities in order to promote human development and economic growth, …show more content…
However, as these urban centers grow, we deplete these resources, like groundwater, in order to support growing population and industry. Not only are we overusing groundwater resources, we are also making it impossible for them to recharge. The construction of buildings and roads blocks precipitation infiltration and prevents aquifers from replenishing. Therefore, by building cities in the way that we do, we are not only depleting water resources but also preventing them from regenerating. Beyond preventing groundwater infiltration, increased storm water runoff as a result of urbanization leads to negative effects such as flash floods. Because urban runoff is high in pollutants like petroleum derivatives and industry byproducts, it also contributes to watershed contamination (Oberndorfer et al. 827). It is important that we reconsider the structures that we build and the materials that we use in order to create urban and suburban areas that allow the infiltration of water into the ground and reduce watershed pollution. Shifting our mindset about impervious surfaces will not only secure water resources for humans, it will also prevent against floods, and improve …show more content…
Chemicals from industry, transportation, paving, and waste, among other things, collect in urban areas. When heavy rains strike, these pollutants are washed directly into bodies of fresh water because they are unable to infiltrate the soil. Although it seems irrelevant, the path that the pollutants take into streams and lakes makes a significant difference in water quality. If pollutants are absorbed into the soil with rainwater, naturally occurring microbes are able to break down some of the chemicals, reducing their negative environmental impact (Frazer 462). Conversely, in areas covered by impervious materials, pollutants are carried with water directly to larger bodies of water and are unable to be broken down by microbes. Similar to this process, as water and pollutants flow through vegetated soil, solid pollutants settle out and nitrogen and phosphorous are taken up by plants (Mallin et al. 1054). These natural filtration systems are removed with urban sprawl, resulting in decreasing water quality in watersheds that are comprised primarily of urban areas and impervious

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