Standard SS7G2  The student will discuss environmental issues across the continent of Africa.

The people of Africa face many different enviromental issues.  Some of them are lack of water, poor soil, and expanding deserts.


Water is a very important resource in Africa.

Some regions of Africa have an overabundance of water, while others have very little water.

The lack of safe drinking water for Sub-Saharan (Sahel and Sahara) Africa affects the development of the region.

All African countries have the problem of increasing water pollution from factories and animal and human wastes.

Countries with large river systems have enough water for farming and for people in villages, towns, and cities.  Other countries have poor harvests, little grazing land for livestock, and even less water for drinking and washing.

Each year deserts claim more and more land surrounding them.

The tension between the needs of a growing population and the limited supply of water is a serious issue for most of Africa.


Drinking Water

Many experts believe Africa could find itself in the midst of "water wars" in the near future.

Clean water is needed for basic health and sanitation.

People who are not able to have access to clean water are at risk for many diseases.

Lack of clean water to wash with also increases the freqency of skin and eye infections.

Some people in Africa also face the problem of water-borne diseases spread by parasites in standing water.

Poor Soil

Centuries of farming and grazing along with less rainfall have gradually damaged the land in the Sahel.  The barren soil is blowing away and replaced with desert-like characteristics.

Poor farming practices and the destruction of trees and shrubs (deforestation) has led to an expanding desert.

Millions of people in the Sahel struggle to farm in its poor soil.



Deforestation is the destruction of trees and other vegetation.

This continues to be a problem in the Sahel and other areas of Africa.

Animals have been allowed to overgraze and strip all of the vegetation from the soil.

People who need wood for fuel or new farmland cut down the trees that help hold the soil in place.

Droughts also hurt the Sahel.

People who live in the Sahel often face starvation and poverty.

Many move into the urban areas hoping to find work only to find more poverty.

The United Nations (UN) and the World Food Bank have come to the aid of those living in parts of the Sahel and are working hard to find solutions to help the pople survive and live a better life.



Desertification is the process of the desert expanding into areas that had formerly been farmland.

As the land is overused, the soil become poor and powerdy and the winds from the Sahara gradually blow the dry topsoil away, leaving barren and rocky land.

Periods of drought in recent years has made this worse.

The Sahel is one part of Africa that is experiencing severe problems with desertification.

Desertification is also taking place in Africa's west and central tropical rainforests.

Nigeria is rapidly losing its rainforests to logging, clearing land for farming, and cutting trees for use as fuel.

In East Africa, Ethiopia, people have lived for generations by farming and raising livestock.  They are finding less land available for use.

People around the Kalahari Desert in the southern tip of Africa face the same problems as people in the northern part of the continent.

Standard: SS7G2   The student will discuss environmental issues across the continent of Africa.