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Chapter 1 : BASICS OF ENVIRONMENT
The dictionary meaning of the term environment is ‘surroundings’ - the region surrounding or circumstances in which anything exists, everything external to the organisms. Environment therefore, refers to the sum of total conditions that surround man at a given point in space and time. The term environment was introduced in Ecology by biologist Jacob Van Uerkul (1864-1944) to denote these aspects of the world surroundings, with reference to organisms. The field of environment involves an understanding of the scientific principles, economic influences and political actions attending these aspects. TYPES OF ENVIRONMENT The environmental can be divided into physical biological and cultural environment. On the basis of the structure the environment may be divided into fundamental types – The Abiotic or Physical environment consisting of air, water and soil/sediment. The Biotic or Biological environment consisting of flora, fauna and micro-organism al Environment is further subdivided into three broad categories: A Lithosphere (sphere of rock /soil/sediment) B Hydrosphere (sphere of water) C Atmosphere (sphere of gas) The biotic components of the environment consist of plant(flora), animal(fauna), including man as an important component and micro-organism. Thus, the biological/biotic environment can be further subdivided into: A Flora / Plant Environment B Fauna /Animal Environment C Microbial Environment ELEMENTS OF THE ENVIRONMENT A. Biotic Components: The Abiotic components comprise the inorganic substances (carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, sulphur, phosphorus, etc), and come mainly from the lithosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere. Lithosphere : The oceanic and the continental crust and the rigid upper portion of the mantle of the earth constitute the lithosphere. The economically useful elements (minerals ,metals, rock, fossil fuels), essential for man are basically from the lithosphere. The lithosphere occupies 30% of the total Earth’s surface. Land formations like the mountains plateau and plain supply habitat for plants and animals. The type of the economy depends upon the topography of the area. Plains are suitable for agriculture and industrial activity. Atmosphere : The multi-layered gaseous envelope surrounding the planet earth is atmosphere. The atmosphere is a significant component of the natural environment. All the necessary gasses (oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon-dioxide, and water vapour), sources for the sustenance of all the life forms in the biosphere are components of atmosphere. The atmosphere filters the incoming ultra-violet (UV) radiation and protects the earth’s surface from abnormal features such as cancer / mutation in organisms. Hydrosphere: This is the sphere of water consisting of surface, ground and ocean water. Seventy-one % of the Earth’s surface is in water. Glaciers and ice caps cover additional areas. Water plays an immense role in the sustainable environment balance of the earth. Water is essential for the industry, transportation, power generation, food production and processing, and the manufacturing sectors of the modern world. Morever, 70% of the body of the organism is constituted by water. The balance of water is maintained through circulation of water in the biosphere is maintained through circulation of water among the atmosphere, lithosphere and hydrosphere by characteristic path ways. The circulation along the characteristic pathways is known as the hydrological cycle.
carnivores feed on animal and omnivores feed on both plants and animals. The ‘steps’ or ‘levels’ of the ecosystem are known as trophic levels. This carbon is then released back into the atmosphere by respiration. plants and animals get buried in the earths crust. Four processes participate in the cycling of nitrogen through biosphere Nitrogen Fixation Ammonification Nitrification Denitrification NITROGEN FIXATION First step in the N Cycle ---is the conversion of nitrogen gas (N2) into NH3 or organic nitrogen. and then due to immense pressure and heat this organic matter after thousands of years gets turned into fossil fuels. It is the primary nutrient for all green plants.g. Consumers are organism like herbivores. Herbivores feed on plants. The burning of fossil fuel. again releasing carbon back into the atmosphere. thus making them available again to the autotrophs. all animals). Sometimes trees. The biotic components are the drivers of the energy flow and the material cycles in the biosphere. The atmospheric CO2 enters the plants at the time of photosynthesis. These fossil fuels are taken out of the ground by man and are burned. because it is based on the type of nutrition and is the energy source of all biota of the biosphere. Biotic Component Biotic or living components of the environment consist of flora (plant). Human activities are making a significant impact on the global carbon cycle. and micro-organisms. Three processes are responsible for the most of the nitrogen fixation in the biosphere: . deforestation etc. The biotic components are arranged following a systematic pattern where all organisms are connected step-wise to each other in the ecosystem according to their food habits. Autotrophic components: Green plants. Flows between the atmosphere and the oceans were balanced until the onset of the industrial age. They break down complex compounds of the dead organisms. The carbon from CO2 is retained inside the plant and the oxygen is released into the environment. On the basis of the relationship among nutrients. Herbivores are also called as primary consumers and carnivores and omnivores are known as secondary and tertiary consumers. which is further connected with the economic environment of humans. THE NITROGEN CYCLE Nitrogen is the most abundant element in the atmosphere. fauna (animal). agro-industrial activity. algae and photosynthetic bacteria constitute the biotic Autotrophic component of the ecosystems are able to fix light energy and manufacture food from simple inorganic substances like water and carbon dioxide by photosynthesis. respectively. It is a vital element for all the living systems. This group of organisms is also known as producers.A. Heterotrophic Components: Fungi. carnivores. absorb some of the decomposed or breakdown products and release inorganic nutrients into the environment. the biota can be divided into two groups – Autotrophic or self-nourishing components (e. are increasing in the concentration in the atmosphere steadily. THE CARBON CYCLE The carbon cycle is one of the important cycles at the global levels. but it must be modified before it can be utilized by most living systems. Animals eat plants and so the stored carbon enters their bodies. Carbon moves in the biosphere through various pathways. This is a process by which plants prepare their own food in the presence of sunlight. All trophic levels are closely interrelated with each other from the view point of food transfer and supplements to the biosphere. and omnivores in the order of occurrence in the food chain. Relationship among the different levels can be better understood by analysis of the functional aspects (material cycle and energy flow) of the ecosystem. non-photosynthetic bacteria and other organisms and animals are the components of heterotrophic.g. Decomposers are also known as sapotrophs and consist mainly bacteria and fungi. RELATIONSHIP AT DIFFERENT LEVELS The biotic component is the functional kingdom of nature. all green plants) and heterotrophic components (e.
ARTIFICIAL (MAN-ENGINEERED) ECOSYSTEMS This is maintained by man. stream. desert. pond. Without it the biosphere that exists on the surface of the earth would not be possible. The hydrologic cycle takes place in the hydrosphere. puddle. Natural ecosystem 2. For example croplands like wheat. rice fields etc. earth is covered by one of our most precious resources.) and marine. This process is referred to as ammonification. AMMONIFICATION This is the biochemical process whereby nitrogen is released from nitrogen containing organic compounds. On the basis of habitat. the region containing all the water in the atmosphere and on the surface of the earth. alone or in a symbiotic relationship with plants. etc. The components of the hydro cycle are: Condensation Infiltration Run – off Evaporation Precipitation * This cycle should be explained in detail CLASSIFICATION OF ECOSYSTEM Ecosystems are classified as 1. Nicknamed the “water” planet. as forest grassland. Atmospheric fixation by lighting Industrial fixation by humans Biological fixation by certain microbes. by addition of energy and planned manipulation. Ecosystems Natural Man – made Terrestrial Aquatic Marine Freshwater Lotic Lentic . Aquatic ecosystem are further distinguished as Freshwater that may be lotic (running water as a spring. However almost 93% is locked in the ocean. natural ecosystem are further divided as terrestrial. are artificial ecosystem.and aquatic. pool. NITRIFICATION Nitrification is the conversion of NH4 to NO3. The cycle is the movement of the water through this hydrosphere. swamp etc. where man tries to control the biotic community as well as the physical-chemical environment. Soil bacteria decompose organic nitrogen forms in soil to the ammonium form. toxic to humans and many plants and animals. DENITRIFICATION This involves conversion ofNO3 to N2 gas in the presence of low oxygen levels. ditch. such deep as bodies as an ocean and shallow ones as a sea. Artificial (man-engineered) ecosystem NATURAL ECOSYSTEMS It operates by themselves under natural condition without any major interference by man. THE HYDROLOGICAL CYCLE: Water is essential to life. river) or lentic (standing water as a lake. This aerobic reaction is carried out by Autotrophic bacteria. estuary etc.
normal functioning of the atmosphere is disrupted significantly. eco balance has been deteriorated drastically. acid rains. lithosphere. As a result. f) It directs attention toward problems of population explosion. Ecological states and environmental pollution takes place and at any cost ethics for business come into play. climate change etc. REASONS FOR ECOLOGICAL IMBALANCE 1) Lack of cooperation. 5) Population explosion Population growth is the mother of all environment degradation. 4) Inappropriate management of waste Wastes generated from industrial as well as agricultural activities are not managed properly. consequently. changes in the landscape. OBJECTIVES The objectives of environmental education are to help social groups and individual to acquire: a) Awareness : acquire an awareness of the environment as a whole and it is allied problems and sensitivity . 2) Uncontrolled exploitation and utilization of resources Uncontrolled exploitation of non-renewable resources and over. competition in the present practice. the ecological balance is again disrupted. the important features of the subject are: a) It is very important for each individual for self-fulfillment and social development. The problems are not addressed in a realistic way. has now been identified globally. Some of these nations. Over-populated areas are generally have the problem of deforestation. lack of resources. 3) Environmental pollution Inefficient or backdated technologies are creating havoc with the pollutants leading to pollution loads in the atmosphere. etc. Therefore.utilization of resources for economic growth without considering ecological viability is another important reason for ecoimbalance. hydrosphere and biosphere. moreover. and throws light on the methods of solution.preservation. NEED FOR ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES The urgent need to protect the environment . waste and the cost. Environmental protection starts by creating awareness among people that it becomes a part of their style . A huge amount of solid and hazardous waste are discarded or disposed to the environment without considering the health of the ecosystem. therefore. are the most offenders. It helps in the maintenance of life and health.THE CONCEPT OF ECOBALANCE Ecological balance is the state of dynamic equilibrium within a community of organism. to help in resolution of current environmental problems. Major creeks have been used for dumping of the waste therefore causing imbalance in the oceanic environment. regeneration. generation of emission. c) It helps to understand and appreciates how the environment is used for making a living and for promoting a material culture d) It helps in appreciating and enjoying nature and society. b) It helps to understand different food chains and the ecological balance in nature. exhaustion of natural resources and pollution of the environment. global warming.in order to maintain the quality of life. more competition There is lack of co-operation among the major nation. e) It is concerned with the changing the environment in a systematic manner for the immediate as well as future welfare of mankind. in self. Instead of co-operation. destruction of biodiversity. and in the preservation of the human race. ozone holes. There are areas of eco-imbalance all over the world and this need to be addressed in a manner that mitigates the imbalances. and causing global environmental problems like the green house effect. The ecological balance of an area can be evaluated assessing the consumptions of energy and raw material.
To maintain essential ecological processes and life support systems. animal and plants are so closely linked that disturbance in one gives rise to imbalance in the others. they naturally manage to maintain the ecological balance. man has created his own ecosystem. human. 1. own words “the interest in conservation is not sentimental one but the rediscovery of a truth well-known to our sages. conservation and worship of trees and animals. and 3. To preserve biological diversity. and aesthetic factors. in such a way that the natural ecosystems are maintained as well as utilized in a planned manner. Thus. Need for conservation. for this reason. he has destroyed the natural ecosystems. On the other hand.” The natural resources are the various life supporting components of the biosphere. Indiscriminate and non-judicious exploitation of nature and natural resources in an unplanned manner by man has disturbed the nature’s balance. forests. This would yield sustainable benefit to the present generation and also maintain its potential to meet the needs and aspirations of the future generations. plants. To insure a continuous yield of useful plants. This is to insure planned. economic. e) Evaluation ability: develop the ability to evaluate environmental measures and education programme in terms of ecological. judicious and controlled use of lifesustaining natural systems. land (soil). The consequences will be disastrous and devastating not only for man but for the entire life on earth. d) Skill : acquire skill to identify and solve the environmental problems. This is creating a condition of ecological crisis all over the world. Similarly. the natural. air.” “Resource means a source of supply or support generally held in reserve. In her. atmosphere) for the benefit of all life. In addition. undisturbed ecosystems are able to maintain the equilibrium of nature. he has always interfered and changed it as per as his needs and desire. the biotic and abiotic components are closely interrelated and through their interactions. If this is not stopped with immediate effect. f) Participation: to provide an opportunity to be actively involved at all levels of working towards the solution of environmental problems. it is obvious that if we want to save the human race as well as the enormous diversity of life on earth. animals. In the process. forest products. minerals. which can be drawn and utilized by the organisms from their environment. In every ecosystem. The Indian tradition teaches us that all forms of life. Conservation is aimed at helping social and economic development. Indira Gandhi while launching the World Conservation Strategy in India on 6 March 1980 emphasized our ancient tradition of care. animals and materials by establishing a balanced cycle of harvest and renewal. microorganisms. ------------------------------------------------- Chapter 2 CONSERVATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES Definition. 2. c) Attitude : acquire a set of values and feeling of concern for the environment and the motivation for active participation in the environmental improvement and protection. fuels. Our late Prime Minister Smt. including human beings. etc.b) Knowledge :gain a variety of experiences and acquire a basic understanding of the environment and its associated problems . . These resources include energy. water. various organisms present in any given ecosystem live as components of their natural environment and abide by the laws of nature. “Conservation is the ‘wise management’ of the biosphere (lithosphere.” Aims of conservation. Threat of the ecological crisis. hydrosphere. Since man is the only animal who has understood the nature. the present ecological crisis will lead to the point of no return resulting in total disintegration of the nature. we must at once adapt and implement some distinct measures for conservation of nature and natural resources. social.
etc. etc. Such soil becomes unsuitable for plant growth. b. Inexhaustible i. a. ponds. natural resources are classified as 1. Rainwater is the natural source for the renewal/replenishment of the water in these reservoirs. Water is a vitally important renewable natural resource. Draught and floods are the two main natural factors responsible for the loss of natural water resources directly or indirectly. In addition. crops. All organisms need water for survival. pollution of water renders it unsuitable for consumption as well as for existence of aquatic flora and fauna. Wind. water.g. Water. microorganisms. Resources with a very long recycling time are also considered non – renewable e. Abiotic – Water. non-judicious use and undue wastage by man also contribute towards the loss of available water. NonFossil fuels – coal. tidal energy. precipitation. Table showing renewable and non-renewable natural resources Inexhaustible etc. tidal energy. adversely affects climate and the environment. Exhaustible e. (iii) Microorganisms. forests. etc. chemical and biological components. etc. growing vegetation cover helps to retain soil water. Renewable resources. etc. oil. The nature and importance of some of the natural resources is considered here. Renewable Minerals and their salts – phosphates. It is a renewable natural resource. forests and other vegetations. nitrates. etc.g. copper. zinc. E. The resources that can be regenerated artificially or naturally (such as from the biomass of living organisms) are called renewable resources. In addition. rocks. Land (soil). Hence. ground water. Degradation of soil. fuels. The exhaustible resources are further classified into two categories. natural gas) metals. land (soil). B. other Renewable vegetations (ii) Wild and domestic animals. and 2. conservation and proper management of soil is very important and essential. etc. lakes.g. Non – Renewable resources. wind. forests. Non – renewable resources are those natural resources which cannot be regenerated or replaced after use or which lack the ability for recycling. minerals and ores. Reduction in soil water or non-availability of water directly affects vegetation growth and disturbs the environment as a whole. The presence and nature of vegetation in any area largely depend on the quality of soil and the various edaphic factors. Rivers. Natural Resources Exhaustible Biotic. in turn. It is an important abiotic factor of ecosystem as it provides water. . Misuse or improper use of soil results in degradation of soil. Similarly. Metals – iron. A. etc. Degradation of soil causes loss of vegetation and this.RENEWABLE AND NON-RENEWABLE RESOURCES More commonly. nutrients and anchorage to plants (producers). Soil is the complex mixture of physical. food.e. Water can be conserved by holding the rainwater in catchments areas by constructing dams and then regulating the water supply through canals. carbonates. fossil fuels (like coal. wild and domestic animals. minerals. and ground water are the reservoirs of fresh water while oceans are the huge reservoirs of marine water. precipitation.(i) Crops. oil deposits. soil.
sand. huge quantities of minerals are constantly being used in industries and for technological and cultural purposes. salts. Forests are of immense biological and ecological significance. increase water-retaining capacity of soil and prevent floods and soil erosion by soil binding. zinc. petroleum products. oceans have an unlimited potential as source of protein-rich food and raw material. aluminum. wild plants) and non-domesticated (e. industrial and technological purposes. There should be proper balance between harvest of forest and its resources on the one hand and the afforestation on the other. Oil . it must be saved and preserved to maintain the diversity of life. energy is needed constantly and on very large scale for domestic. Hence.g. These account for nearly 90% of the world’s production of commercial energy. modern agricultural practices are used. (iv) They help in recycling of moisture in the nature and regulate rainfall. Forests are the vast renewable natural resources.C. it disturbs and destroys the wild life. Food.9% . etc. the aquaculture (fish farming) and mariculture (aquaculture in oceans) are proving to be of immense value. However. This alters the climate of the region. D. wild animals). E. These are one of the non-renewable natural resources.3% Hydroelectric – 6. However. naturally occurring organic products which can be converted into synthetic petroleum) such as oil shale. wildlife is often threatened with elimination from the region or extinction from the earth. silver. medicinal plants.30.5% Coal . methane). For example. In fact.e. It also includes microorganisms and all other lesser-known human beings. In fact. Hence. sulphur. it is essential to take definite steps towards conservation of wildlife. Thus. (i) They are the source of forest products like fuel.) and (b) Non-metallic minerals (e. copper. coal. gold.39. Indiscriminate deforestation reduces rainfall. This involves industrialization of agriculture and to supplement the agricultural products. Hence.) G. to save the wildlife and preserve the diversity of life on earth. they grow and survive in their natural habitat without the care of human beings. phosphorus. tar sands. This will be clear from the following figures.7% Nuclear power – 3. (ii) They provide ideal habitat for wild life. lumber. Existence of wildlife at all levels of the food chains in any ecosystem is essential for maintaining the ecological balance of that ecosystem. These include petroleum. One important and essential characteristic feature of the wildlife is that they are very well adapted to their natural environmental conditions. In a broader sense. The minerals largely used are of two types :(a) Metallic minerals (e.g.g. groundwater level and makes the land barren. the total land in the world under cultivation is not enough to provide adequate supply of food for the everincreasing human population. It is needed by all organisms for maintenance of life. conservation of forest is essential. the progress of human civilization and the economic growth of every country largely depend on the resource and supply of energy. Similarly. natural gas (e. food. F. this creates a condition of food crisis resulting in starvation. the remaining 10% coming from the hydroelectric and nuclear power resources.g. In addition. Besides this. Fuels and the energy crisis. etc. Forests. Minerals. In addition. the term wildlife covers any or all organisms which are non-cultivated (e. coal.g. and synfuels (i. malnutrition. The two main sources of minerals are: (i) The earth’s crust and the parent rocks for terrestrial minerals and (ii) The oceans for the marine minerals. (iii) They provide vegetation cover to the soil and thus check surface evaporation. fodder. if judiciously used. timber. etc. iron. etc. Organisms need various minerals for normal metabolism and healthy growth. lead. Wildlife. etc. Terrestrial agriculture is the main source of food for human beings. Energy is the capacity to do work. To deal with this crisis. The more commonly used conventional source of energy is the various kinds of fossil fuels.
.” All natural ecosystems are capable of self-maintenance and are very delicately balanced. etc. misuse. industrialization. there are number of biomass-based renewable energy systems. 2.Natural gas . Irrigation without proper drainage leads to water logging. unplanned urbanization. On the one hand. modern agricultural practices. the following non-conventional renewable sources of energy hold considerable potential and promise.e. depletion of soil nutrients and desertification. The over use. This is called environmental pollution. which can be the source of liquid hydrocarbons to be used as a substitute for liquid fuels. etc. Therefore. This was inevitable in view of the population explosion. salination and degradation of the quality of soil. water. man has been trying to extract more and more from the available land. For example. In this regard. the cumulative effect of all these activities of man. the ecological crisis. all the fossil fuels are the exhaustible non-renewable natural resources and shall be finished eventually. manipulation of soil conditions by tillage. Intense cultivation without proper soil management leads to soil erosion. profit oriented capitalism. They also accumulate in bodies of organisms causing various health problems. (iii) Biogas (iv) Electric energy.” while ecology is “the overall study of the interactions and interrelationships of organisms and their environment. for the first time in his cultural history. Some of the human activities responsible for changing environment and consequent ecological crisis are discussed here. is the induction of undesirable changes in the environment (soil. In addition. and abuse of natural resources by the modern man during the last couple of centuries have grossly disturbed the balance of most natural ecosystems of the world. water. man is faced with the most serious ecological problem i. especially during 19th and 20th centuries. especially of the non-biodegradable types. ECOLOGICAL CRISIS Environment is “the sum total of all conditions and influences that affect the development of life of organisms. on the other hand. Therefore. etc. deforestation. This involved heavy use of synthetic chemical fertilizers. potential plant species. Agriculture involves intervention and modification of natural ecosystems. Hence. these chemicals have caused considerable degradation of the environment over the years. results in their accumulation in harmful concentrations in soil. Man and Farming. 1. etc. ROLE OF MAN IN CHANGING ENVIRONMENT The condition of ecological crisis is reached because of the degradation of the ecosystems.6% However. This is the outcome of the over exploitation of natural resources by man. this helped to increase the agricultural production while. Deforestation over the years for clearing the land for agriculture has destroyed flora and fauna of large number of ecosystems all over the world. which ultimately is responsible for the present ecological crisis.e. These include energy sources such as (i) Fire wood (ii) Petro plants (i. it is imperative to (i) Adapt urgent measures to conserve and regulate the existing stock of non-renewable energy resources and (ii) To find some suitable inexhaustible and/or renewable alternative energy resources. 3. control of soil moisture by irrigation and drainage. if investigated and exploited properly. etc.19. technological advancement. The demand of various agricultural products has been constantly increasing because of the ever-increasing human population. The realization of this fact is creating the fear of unavoidable energy crisis all over the world. 4. air) making it less suitable for organisms. much before the crisis is reached. These are Solar energy (i) Wind energy (ii) Tidal (ocean) energy (iii) Geothermal energy. Indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers and crop protectants.
etc. tan. In addition. while industries have become an essential component of modern life. Heat. hydrogen. These are grouped into two main categories: 1. Biodegradable pollutants e.g.g. etc.g. aldehydes. The pollution caused by these pollutants may be classified as air pollution. detergents. Non-biodegradable pollutants e.) 4. these can be harmful if their input exceeds the decomposing capacity of the ecosystem. With the population growth. smoke. Land for setting up industries is acquired either by deforestation or by converting agricultural land. the global human population continued to increase at alarming rate resulting in the present population explosion. human and animal wastes. they are also the main factor of degradation of environment and ecosystems. Industries consume huge quantities of raw materials and energy. etc. ammonia. Deposited matter (e. etc. NO. etc. water. etc. Hg. water.g. CO2. Pollution.D.g. ECOLOGICAL IMBALANCE & ITS CONSEQUENCES The ecological imbalance is created due to the environmental pollution. air as well as climatic conditions like temperature. These enter the food chains and they may be magnified to dangerous levels in higher tropic organisms. water pollution and soil pollution. 1. Ecological poisons (e. D. medicines. Radioactive substances 8. pesticides. Large quantities of various gaseous. The various poisonous gases. Thus. 2. genetic engineering. “Pollution refers to any undesirable change in the physical. Zn.g.” A substance or factor whose presence can damage the usefulness of a resource is called the pollutant. CO. Their role in improving life styles and standards of human societies cannot be denied.) 5. industries may be described as the “necessary evils” of the modern age. chemical or biological characteristic of our environment (air. phosphogens. greater the population. industries are growth of industries is the main cause of unplanned urbanization leading to unequal distribution of human population. released from industries pollute soil and water. This adversely affects soil. Technological growth. The two are complementary to each other. Technology is closely linked with or is inseparable from science. soil) that may or will adversely affect human or other species and life-supporting systems of our biosphere directly or indirectly. fluorides. Metals (e. Consequently. medical application. 2. heavy metals. agro based residues and fertilizers. Fe. liquid and solid waste generated by industry and other human activities act as pollutants. However. This is especially true for our own country.) 3. dust. industries have adversely affected and changed the environment e. This has resulted in increasing longevity of life and reducing in death rate. Chemical compounds (e. greater is the pollution of the given environment. Noise 9. . SO2 . The scientific knowledge is used to develop a technology and then the technology used for the advancement of science and benefit of mankind. Pb. 1. etc. arsines. Hence. The various categories of common pollutants may be listed as follows. soot. chlorine.T. However. fluorine. Industries have become indispensable component of the modern age. Thus.Industrialization: Industries provide all the essential as well as luxurious modern amenities. grit) 2. smoke. etc. Gases (e. Sewage 7. 3. The advancement in biotechnology during the past few decades has immensely helped in the field of cell and molecular biology.g. rainfall. all kinds of ecological problems also came up leading towards the ecological crisis. H2 S. This results in over exploitation of natural resources and disturbs natural cycles and balance of nature. various biocides) 6.g.
Dust of coal. nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbons. PAN (peroxy acetyl nitrate) is also the air pollutants from industries. (ii) Organic – e. a) Biological – Pathogens like viruses. 3. etc. This releases methane and other foul smelling gases. Consequences of air pollution. Land pollution is the by-product of rapid and unplanned industrial progress and over population. These disrupt the balance of aquatic eco system. asbestos. Pb. and their organometallic compounds. 2. causes respiratory problems. kitchen garbage. pneumonia.g. Consequences of water pollution. dysentery. typhoid. 4. etc. worms. lime sludge. Domestic sewage 3. herbicides. Zn. etc. nitrates. Decrease in the percentage of dissolved oxygen thereby affecting aquatic plants and animals. it affects blood. 2. alkalies. metal scarps. 3. bottles. kidney and nervous system. household rubbish. tin cans.g. 1. 1. etc. fungicides. diarrhea and number of other water borne diseases. Soil becomes toxic for plant growth. animals and humans. chlorides and fluorides. (iii) Heavy metals – e. waste paper.g. Loss of soil fertility due to the effect of acids. etc. fly-ash. The air pollutants discharged from industries and power houses include gases like SO2. decomposition of organic waste in such water is done by anaerobic bacteria. smog.Effect on Land. The essential soil organisms may be killed. c) Physical – Heat from industries. The nitrates and phosphates in polluted water cause algal blooms. Mercury vapours can cause skin and neurological problems. A vitally important factor like water is also polluted because of various human activities. 2. Mineral oils. Inhaling SO2 causes various respiratory disorders. Fumes of toxic metals are extremely harmful. Effect on air. CO2. cancer. Consumption of water containing various aquatic pathogens causes diseases in plants. Cu. NO2. NO. 4. cough. chlorocompounds. Industrial effluents 4. phenols. slag. Lead damages brain of young children and in adults. etc. Similarly. soluble heavy metal ions like Hg. etc. pesticides. etc. liver. phosphates. 1. Effect on water.) • Pollutants washed down from the atmosphere • Pesticides and other biocides • Synthetic fertilizers • Agricultural chemicals. etc.g. bacteria. oxides of nitrogen can cause internal bleeding. fertilizers. protozoa. Water polluted with domestic sewage can spread diseases like cholera. plastics. insecticides. The water pollutants may be classified as follows. chemical effluents. forest fires and domestic combustion are the major sources of air pollution. Chemicals (e. etc. dyes. The air pollutants released from automobile exhausts include carbon monoxide. and traces of ethylene. cadmium. Consequences of land pollution. etc. The industries. pesticides. sewage. acetylene and propylene. the surface runoffs from agricultural fields) 5.) • Industrial wastes (e. The land is polluted with the dumping of solid wastes generated in the household and industrial units. The PCB’s are released into atmosphere when synthetic rubber tyres rub against road. paints. ozone and PAN also cause dry throat. In addition. Smoke. plastic materials. b) Chemical – (i) Inorganic – e. Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous and lethal gas. The main sources of water pollution are 2.g. . rags. The common soil pollutants are • Domestic wastes (e.g. Quality of agricultural soil is affected. H2S. automobiles. plastics. CO.
One of the most significant effects of air pollution is seen on the rise in global temperature. 1. hunting and poaching. Hence. . phosphorus. This will also affect the drinking water. 4. pollution of environment. etc. The reduction in number of species at any food level in the ecosystem. etc favours growth of certain algae and causes there over population. Rise in global temperature will cause polar ice caps to melt. This sudden increase in the population of a particular species in water affects the aquatic ecosystem directly as well as indirectly. Effect on diversity of organisms. there is great increase in pest populations. the pollution of water by compounds of nitrogen. 6. most favourable conditions are created for the pest organisms. Consequences. 5. etc. Effect on food chains and webs. Higher concentration of CO2 in atmosphere prevents the loss of heat by radiation. the original composition of the ecosystem is changed and the number of organisms is reduced. Air pollution has adverse effects not only on plants and animals but also on the ecosystem as a whole. The radiation thus trapped causes rise in temperature. This phenomenon is described as the Green House Effect. greater heating and evaporation from soil. O3. The rise in temperature would affect regional climate and cause shift in climatic zones. As a result. As a consequence of above mentioned and some other factors. over the last few centuries many animal and plant species have become extinct and many more are facing the danger of extinction (endangered species). affect various metabolic processes.. due to migration. excessive killing or extinction. Cheetah from India and Dodo bird from Mauritius has become extinct. heavy use of pesticides is in practice. Bioaccumulation. Consequently. both plants and animals. etc pose great threat to the organisms. there will be rise in sea level and the low lying coastal areas will be submerged. it is permanently lost from the world and cannot be retrieved e. Destruction or alteration of natural habitats. affects the carnivores in that region. human activities are causing extinction at an unnatural or greater rate. This results in soil erosion. These plants are killed even with slightest SO2 pollution of air. Over population of pest organisms. migrate to some other region or else die. 4. and cause many serious health problems through bioaccumulation. If this happens. Mosses and lichens are highly sensitive to air pollution by SO2. The CO2 layer acts like glass panels of the green house. With the loss of vegetation cover. It will also cause death of forests and other vegetations. To check these and protect the crop. degradation of ecosystem. Sometimes. This is described as algal bloom. 2. In general. over exploitation of economically important plant and animal species. However. As a result. Blooms.3. Consequence of increased temperature. etc. For example. the soil is exposed. in different plants. cause injury and damage to various economically important plants resulting in great economic loss. sulphur. NO2. this in turn. Whatever has happened in the past. Origin of new species and extinction of some of the existing species is a part of the natural process of organic evolution. the number of herbivores decreases (migration or death). Effect on atmospheric temperature. over grazing or deforestation reduces/eliminates the vegetation (primary producers). premature leaf and fruit fall. Thus. 3. PAN. CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has increased in the recent past and it is estimated to increase further in near future. Man alone can do this and help to preserve the diversity of life on earth. disturbs the food chains and food webs in that ecosystem. Gases like SO2. the global temperature will also rise. With tremendous increase in the agricultural crops all over the world.g. air pollutants cause necrosis. It allows the sunrays to filter through but prevents the heat from radiating out into space. Once a species becomes extinct. now it is our responsibility to prevent the numerous endangered species from becoming extinct. The nonbiodegradable chemicals in such pesticides pollute soil and water. these act as bioindicators of air pollution. There will be appreciable decrease in the rainfall. The organisms of such ecosystem should adjust with the changed environment.
tend to accumulate and remain fro longer periods in the body of organisms. bioaccumulation of cadmium in liver.Normally. Leukemia. copper. This is harmful and causes various health hazards e. their concentration goes on progressively increasing as they pass from organism to organism along the food chain. contaminated water and drinks. It is a bone disease and leads to cancer of liver and lungs. zinc. cadmium. tumors. The bioaccumulation of poisonous substances is found to be very high in India. However. kidneys and pancreas caused a human disease called ‘Itai-Itai’ in Japan. This is called biomagnifications. The toxic methyl mercury present in pollute water can accumulate in fishes in concentration 1000 times greater than its concentration in the water. heavy metals such as mercury. lead. genetic misbalance. certain toxic chemicals like pesticides. . these chemicals tend to accumulate in quantities far higher than their concentration in the surrounding medium. Once bioaccumulated at any level of the food chain. The fallouts of nuclear fission and various radioactive substances also enter and accumulate in organisms. This is especially true of pesticide chemicals. plants and animals have the ability to get rid of some poisons out of their systems. insecticides. etc. methyl mercury. This is called bioaccumulation. Thus. Consumption of such fish caused ‘Minamata disease’ in Japan in 1952.g. This is due to the consumption of crop and vegetables treated with insecticides. etc. Similarly. These are passed on human through the food chains. etc.
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