How Anthropogenic Activities Boost Flood Risk In The Global South

Although flooding can be attributed to Natural and Anthropogenic factors, this article focuses on anthropogenic influence on flood risk. One cannot over-emphasize human influence on the growth rate of flood risk in many parts of the world, more specifically the global south.

Some human-related activities that have exacerbated flooding are:

1. Improper waste management

While heavy and long rainfall periods can result in flooding, there is a need for proper channeling and flow of this precipitation. On the other hand, when there is a restriction in the flow of the downpour, one would expect a flood. Improper waste management is often a challenge for many third-world countries, as systems are not in place to manage the tons of waste materials being disposed of. In fact, there is little or no strict enforcement as regards refuse dumps. One may find these materials littered within drainage channels and in many cases forms a large force, which may restrict water flow.

Image of refuse materials restricting drainage flow

Way forward

Countries with these kinds of challenges have to adopt measures to improve their waste management techniques and systems, while enforcement of proper waste management practices must be implemented to avoid flood risks. It is also pertinent to inform and sensitize the public on flood risk by highlighting the effects of improper disposal of refuse and the relevance of a properly coordinated refuse disposal method.

2. Poor drainage systems

It is relevant to have effective drainage systems. Just having drainage channels isn’t enough to avoid flooding. These systems have to be assessed periodically. In many cases, improper drainage systems are the real cause of flooding in an area that is not originally prone to such disaster. When constructing drainage systems, a number of factors such as slope, lithology, material strength and many others must be considered before such projects may be achieved.

Image of a Poor drainage system

3. Deforestation

One may be curious as to how deforestation contributes to flooding. It is evident that deforestation (indiscriminate felling of trees) results in erosion, which on its own easily contributes to more leaching of the topsoil and is a pathway to flooding during heavy rainfall. The topsoil on its own has a particular water retention capacity. When this topsoil starts to wash away, it poses a flood risk.

Way Forward

Countries all over the world must in one voice discourage deforestation by developing policies and enforcement against it. On the other hand, we must all practice afforestation and reforestation. Public sensitization is also very vital to enlighten people on the relevance of tree planting to avert flood risk.

In summary, there are many causes of flooding, including human and natural. However, until individuals, corporate bodies and governments contribute their quota to combating flood disasters, we would continue to experience its ugly consequences. This article charges countries of the world, especially the countries in the Global South, to deploy their best resources to ensure a sustainable environment rid of flooding and other forms of environmental degradation.


Onyenwere Kingsley