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Basic Civil and Environmental Engineering (as Per Pune University Syllabus)

Basic Civil and Environmental Engineering (as Per Pune University Syllabus)

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05/18/2013

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Environment, as already explained earlier, is the sum total of all living organisms, air, water, soil

and materials along with their interactions. We human beings are a part of the environment. But,

unfortunately all our activities on this earth are human-centric, which means, we are transform-

ing the earth to suit and meet our needs, ignoring other components of environment, and in this

process we have already resulted in large scale ecological degradation.

Nature has its own ecological balance, mediated by intricate network, links and feedback

loops, which regulate its functioning within certain ecological limits, known as homeostasis.
homeostasis.

homeostasis.
homeostasis.
homeostasis.
But,

beyond these limits, its negative feedback mechanisms are taken over by positive feedback

mechanisms, which lead to further deviations in the system, ultimately leading to collapse of the

system. So, we should try not to cause too many deviations that would trigger ecological imbalance.

Nature has developed different types of ecosystems that provide us a large number of

benefits, referred to as ecosystem services.
ecosystem services.

ecosystem services.

ecosystem services.
ecosystem services.
They (forest cover/vegetation cover) act as ‘green

lungs’, purifying the air by producing life-supporting oxygen and acting as a sink for toxic gases.

They use carbon dioxide (CO

2) as a raw material for synthesizing carbohydrates. Since increasing

concentrations of CO

2 in the environment is a major cause of global warming, the role of green

plant cover in sequestering CO

2 is considered important. The green plants also help attenuate
noise. They regulate the hydrological cycle and protect the soil cover. They also support a variety

of wildlife.

Rivers, springs and oceans support enormous biodiversity and help in providing several

services for supporting life. Wetlands are also useful ecosystems that support biodiversity and

also act as natural waste water treatment systems.

Urban/rural towns and buildings are generally referred to as ‘environmental filters’
‘environmental filters’

‘environmental filters’
‘environmental filters’
‘environmental filters’
. Desired

types of controls in micro-environment are to be achieved in such built environments by carefully

planning and designing ecological and environmental elements into it. Development of green

belts of different types, flowering plants, open spaces, water bodies, serene spots and provisions

for cultural, social, intellectual and spiritual fulfilment have to be integrated therein.

Green vegetation cover and water bodies purify the atmosphere, cool down temperature,

provide natural habitat to many birds and wildlife, add to the aesthetics of the place and provide

us mental solace. While planning community built-environment, these elements are to be included

in the design.

Mechanical and structural controls can also be achieved for proper built environment in

various ways:

(i)Proper orientation of the building

(ii)Proper ventilation and shading

(iii)Moisture control and water proofing

(iv)Thermal insulation

(v)Acoustics and noise controls.

(vi)Provision for rain water harvesting.

126

BASIC CIVIL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING

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