Environmental degradation
Environmental degradation is the deterioration of the environment
Environment (biophysical)
The biophysical environment is the combined modeling of the physical environment and the biological life forms within the environment, and includes all variables, parameters as well as conditions and modes inside the Earth's biosphere. The biophysical environment can be divided into two categories:...

 through depletion of resources such as air, water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 and soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

; the destruction of ecosystems and the extinction of wildlife
Wildlife includes all non-domesticated plants, animals and other organisms. Domesticating wild plant and animal species for human benefit has occurred many times all over the planet, and has a major impact on the environment, both positive and negative....

. It is defined as any change or disturbance to the environment perceived to be deleterious or undesirable.

Environmental degradation is one of the Ten Threats
Ten threats
The ten threats identified in 2004 by the High Level Threat Panel of the United Nations are these:# Poverty# Infectious disease# Environmental degradation# Inter-state war# Civil war# Genocide...

 officially cautioned by the High Level Threat Panel
High Level Threat Panel
The High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change of the United Nations, chaired by former Thai Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun and including former United States National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft and several former heads of government and foreign ministers as members, produced in...

 of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

. The World Resources Institute
World Resources Institute
The World Resources Institute is an environmental think tank founded in 1982 based in Washington, D.C. in the United States.WRI is an independent, non-partisan and nonprofit organization with a staff of more than 100 scientists, economists, policy experts, business analysts, statistical analysts,...

 (WRI), UNEP (the United Nations Environment Programme), UNDP (the United Nations Development Programme) and the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 have made public an important report on health
Health is the level of functional or metabolic efficiency of a living being. In humans, it is the general condition of a person's mind, body and spirit, usually meaning to be free from illness, injury or pain...

 and the environment worldwide on May 1, 1998.

The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction defines environmental degradation as “The reduction of the capacity of the environment to meet social and ecological objectives, and needs”.

Environmental degradation is of many types.