Environmental Issues

Environmental Issues

Similar to other topics based on the latest UGC NET EXAM Syllabus…we have covered the people and environment topics in 7 parts as below along with the last 14 Years solved Question paper at the end of the tutorial. You are advised to go through them in sequence and attempt the MCQ Question only after completion of the topic.

Unit-IX People, Development and Environment

  1. Development and environment: Millennium development and Sustainable development goals.
  2. Human and environment interaction: Anthropogenic activities and their impacts on the environment.
  3. Environmental issues: Local, Regional and Global; Air pollution, Water pollution, Soil pollution, Noise pollution, Waste (solid, liquid, biomedical, hazardous, electronic), Climate change and its Socio-Economic and Political Dimensions. [This Post]
  4. Impacts of pollutants on human health.
  5. Natural and energy resources: Solar, Wind, Soil, Hydro, Geothermal, Biomass, Nuclear and Forests. ((Coming Soon))
  6. Natural hazards and disasters: Mitigation strategies.
  7. Environmental Protection Act (1986), National Action Plan on Climate Change, International agreements/efforts -Montreal Protocol, Rio Summit, Convention on Biodiversity, Kyoto Protocol, Paris Agreement, International Solar Alliance.
  8. MCQ Based on People, Development and Environment(Coming Soon)

With the word Environment, we understand the surroundings or the situation in which an animal, person or plant lives or functions.

With the growing pollutions, and unpredictable environmental conditions there are several issues arises which are affecting our environment.

So, what are the Environmental issues which are harming our environment?

Environmental issues like

  • global warming
  • air pollution
  • water pollution
  • noise pollution
  • space pollution
  • heat pollution
  • acid rain
  • waste disposal
  • ozone layer depletion
  • use of fossil energy
  • greenhouse gas releases
  • climatic changes, etc

are some of the adverse effects which are affecting not only human beings or animals but the entire nation on this planet earth.

It is causing floods, soil erosion, an increase in global warming, climatic imbalance, loss of wildlife, etc.

Here in this article, we will study in details how and what are the causes and consequences of environmental issues and its various dimensions.

The environment consists of three components.

Abiotic or non-living component, which is subdivided into the three categories like,

  • Lithosphere (Rocks, soil and solid air)
  • The hydrosphere (water component)
  • Atmosphere (gaseous envelope) which is again divided into four zones, namely:-
    • a) Troposphere
    • b) Stratosphere
    • c) Ionosphere, and
    • d) Exosphere.

Thus the three basic divisions of the physical environment may be termed as

  • a) Lithospheric Environment
  • b) Hydrospheric Environment
  • c) Atmospheric Environment.

The biotic or living component consists of flora and fauna including man as an important factor. Thus the biotic environment may be divided into

  • i) Plants Environment and
  • ii) Animals Environment.

Energy component, which includes solar energy, geochemical energy, thermo-electrical energy, hydro-electrical energy, nuclear atomic energy, energy due to radiation etc., that helps in maintaining the real life of organisms.

Environmental pollution –

By environmental pollution, we understand the contamination of the physical and biological components of the earth or the atmospheric system to an extent that it adversely affects the environmental process.

Environmental pollution can be classified into 2 groups:

  • Natural pollution like earthquakes, flood, drought, cyclone
  • Artificial pollution like human activities

Environmental pollution is a global problem and is concerned for all the countries irrespective of their size, developmental level or ideology.

With science and technological development, it has changed the life of human being and leading to a more comfortable life. Modern means of communications, industrial development has also its own side effects. Industrial wastes and toxic gases are hazardous to human health causing air pollution, water pollution, etc.

There are several kinds of pollution, they are as follows:

  • Air Pollution – Air pollution is mainly caused due to the release of toxic gases or smokes from the industries or small factories.
  • Water Pollution – As natural water resources is diminishing day by day, water has become a scarcity. The major issues due to which water pollution are cause are the lakes and rivers are filled with the sewage, garbage or liquid wastes from the households, agricultural lands and factories. They contain harmful chemicals which makes the water poisonous for the aquatic plants and animals.
  • Waste disposal/garbage pollution – When there are no proper waste disposal mechanisms, the garbage gets accumulated which cause garbage pollution. There should be a proper waste disposal system so that it does not pollute our environment.
  • Noise Pollution – Noise pollution is caused when there are excessive noises which are disturbing others, creating physical and mental health like sleep disturbance, hearing loss, hypertension, etc. They are mainly due to noise from the machines, transportation systems, aircraft, trains, etc.

The major factors of pollution are:

  • Population growth – population growth has become a global problem. Population growth is the major cause of the degradation of the environment. With the increase in population, people require land for buildings, more minerals, more water and more energy. The effects include uses of chemical fertilizers, insecticides, deforestation, increased population and heavy transportation, etc.
  • Urbanization – with the increase in population, people moving from villages to towns and cities causing chaos as they face various problems like lack of water, sanitation, houses at an affordable price, roads, public transport, traffic problems, congestions, fresh air, as well as an unsafe social environment.
  • Agricultural development – agricultural practices causes ecological and social harm in developing countries. They pollute the environment in various ways like:

-Through chemical fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides

-Through unreasonable facilities and other irrigation processes.

-By making changes in biological communities.

  • Industrialization – industrial revolution had brought drastic changes in manufacturing, agriculture, animal husbandry and transportation among various other things. Without proper treatment, these industries discharge wastewater into rivers causing water pollution. Misuse of natural resources to meet the industrial demands has resulted in,

-reduction of forests due to the cutting of trees.

-digging of land for mining purposes.

-lowering of groundwater level due to excessive extraction of groundwater.

  • Deforestation – forests play a vital role in India for its economy, social and culture. Deforestation gives problems to various issues like soil erosion, increase of residue in the rivers, increase of floods and droughts. Growth of greenhouse effects which destructs the atmospheric storms, etc., damage to agricultural crops due to floods and droughts results in loss of economy. It also results in a decrease in agricultural production, the supply of raw materials to the industries and building matters, etc.
  • Electronic waste (E-waste) – electronics, telecommunications, and computerizations are inseparable in this fast-developing economy like India. But, these electronic devices contain toxic substances and their disposal and recycling become a health issue. E-waste is growing very fast as people changing their devices more frequently than ever before. Each year they are just dumped or burnt. Though global initiatives have been started in 2006 to phase out chemicals from electronic devices with the launch of the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) in Europe.
  • Thermal power plants – power plants mainly use coal for generating electricity. Energy in the form of electricity is a basic requirement for any developmental activities and can be generated by various methods, materials and mechanisms. The wear and tear of plant and machinery, low thermal efficiency, choking and scaling of furnaces results in a large amount of fly ash. Due to little land space, thermal plants cannot afford an ash pond and they let the waste run into the nearby river or stream, choking the drainage system. Coal-based thermal plants pollute the atmosphere by emitting gaseous substance like sulphur dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen oxide etc., causing acid rain, damage to soil, vegetation and aquatic life of that region.

It is preferred that power plants should be placed more on wastelands but with the course of time, we can find that some of the cultivable areas are covered for the ash mount site. The presence of fly ash is very harmful to the lungs as it affects the tissues of the respiratory tract when inhaled.

  • Modern productive technology – though modern technologies and techniques have enabled the man to increase his comfort level. But, these also have created several environmental problems affecting our forests, rivers, streams, etc. The most dangerous is the production of toxic chemicals, synthetic materials. Disposal of plastics is also a main issue for any developing or advanced countries. Another major which is affecting our environment is the disposal of nuclear wastes coming out of nuclear reactor plants.

Thus, we can say that modern technologies or growth in industrialization are responsible for an alarming situation of environment and ecological disturbances all over the countries.

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