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Chapter 13 – Our Environment

The following Topics and Sub-Topics are covered in this chapter and are available on MSVgo:


You might have come across the word ‘environment’ in TV and newspapers many times, especially news on how its quality is getting degraded gradually. Our current lifestyle is affecting our environment in some way or other.  For example, you must have witnessed generation of a lot of waste from households. Among these, the non-biodegradable wastes are the ones which have a negative impact on the environment by entering the food chain and affecting every other living organism in it.  Hence, it is high time for us to learn about various aspects of the environment and ways of conserving it. 

When you understand this, you will be motivated to alter your habits at the individual level and opt for sustainable practices like reusing, recycling and reducing. For the same reason, formulation of various regulations and international summits to address global environmental issues are considered. Let us now focus on different aspects of our environment in this article so that you can better understand how human generated waste affects it as this is currently one of the biggest issues for the environment.

Waste is generated by us every day. These wastes include various kinds of materials and are broadly classified into two types:

  1. Biodegradable: These are the organic wastes that can easily be decomposed by bacteria or saprophytes.
  2. Non-biodegradable waste: This includes waste materials like plastic, which persist despite environmental forces like heat, rain, and pressure. They affect various members of the ecosystem negatively.

A group of living organisms residing in a certain environment and interacting with each other is called an ecosystem. Agricultural ecosystem, aquatic ecosystem, desert ecosystem, human ecosystem are some of the examples of an ecosystem.

There are two types of ecosystem:

1. Natural ecosystem:

The interaction between the living organisms with the environment is termed as a natural ecosystem. Some of the examples are marine ecosystems which include the oceans where algae, consumers, as well as the decomposers, reside.

2. Artificial ecosystem:

This is an ecosystem which needs human assistance for its existence. Humans create it by taking natural components like plants and animal species. Some of such examples include gardens, biomes, ponds, artificial lakes and others.

The components of the ecosystem are divided into two types:

  1. Biotic:  These are the living organisms which constitute the living components. They have an impact on the other organisms in the ecosystem and play a significant role in shaping it. Plants which are consumed by animals and animals which are consumed by other animals, all form biotic components.
  2. Abiotic: The nonliving components in the ecosystem are the abiotic components. For example, light, water and temperature form the abiotic components in a terrestrial ecosystem. Similarly, the ocean currents and salinity of water are abiotic components in a marine ecosystem.

It is a sequence of organisms in which there is an energy flow in the form of transfer of nutrients from one another.

There are various levels in the food chain, and each of these levels forms a trophic level. They follow the Law of Conservation of Energy. The different trophic levels are in the form of a pyramid. Let us start from its bottom are as follows:

  • Primary producers:

They lie at the base of the food chain and are known as autotrophs. It implies that they manufacture their food. Examples include green plants, cyanobacteria, or some blue-green algae.

  • Primary consumers:

This forms the next level in the pyramid which feeds on the primary producers. Examples are plant-eating animals or herbivores. Some organisms which feed on the algae or bacteria fall under this category.

  • Secondary consumers: They are on the third level in the food pyramid and include the meat-eating animals or the carnivores.
  • Tertiary consumers: They are on the 4th level of the food pyramid, which are the carnivores feeding on other carnivores such as larger fish feeding on smaller ones, eagles and others.
  • Quaternary consumers:

This is an additional level found in certain food chains in which the carnivores feed on the tertiary consumers. They are at the top of the food pyramid and are referred to as apex consumers.

Human activities like the increased automobiles, the emergence of industries, dumping non-biodegradable garbage on lands, draining out the waste by-products from industries/factories into the water bodies has led to pollution of the soil, air and water bodies.

Let us focus on some major issues in this section:

  • Ozone Layer Depletion:

The ozone layer in the atmosphere has thinned out because of certain gases released by human-made appliances. This has resulted in the formation of holes in the ozone and is termed as ozone layer depletion. During the 1980s, there was a sharp decrease in the amount of atmospheric ozone owing to the increasing use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) used in refrigerators, ACs, and fire extinguishers. Later in 1987, it was decided to free the CFC production level at 1986 levels in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

  • Garbage management:

The sophisticated lifestyles have resulted in a lot of garbage generation, especially those that do not degrade easily with time. Hence, it is essential to focus on reducing waste generation by adopting sustainable environmental practices and using biodegradable materials. This will ensure that even if waste is generated, it can be easily decomposed. Such practices will make the planet a better place for our future generations to live in. It will also reduce the chances of health issues in humans and the extinction of species in the natural ecosystem.

It is difficult to change the current lifestyle all of a sudden but it is high time to realise that our activities are drastically affecting the environment and causing serious issues like global warming besides various kinds of pollution. These are not just gradually destroying our environment but also threatening the wildlife. Even humans are affected by it. This makes it extremely important to start inculcating sustainable practices. Initially, you may find it difficult but gradually, it will become easy and you will soon witness that small steps at individual levels can result in a huge positive outcome.

i. What is the environment for the 10th class?

Environment refers to all the living and nonliving things surrounding us.

ii. What is our environment?

The environment is something that plays a crucial role in maintaining life on earth. There is the natural environment — land, soil, atmosphere, water bodies, wildlife, and forests, and those constructed by humans such as agricultural fields, gardens, and others.

iii. Why are some substances biodegradable and some non-biodegradable?

Some substances are biodegradable because the natural microorganisms found in the soil can decompose them easily. But in the case of substances like polythene, plastic, and other similar substances, the microorganisms are unable to cause their breakdown, so they are termed as non-biodegradable and are quite harmful to nature.

iv. What is the importance of the environment?

The environment is needed for the very existence of human beings as well as other forms of life on the earth.

v. What are the main components of our environment? 

Atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere are the primary components of our environment. You can get a better idea about all these components through video illustrations and examples on the MSVGo website/app.

This was a short overview of various aspects of our environment. To learn more about it, check out the MSVgo app. It has a video library that clearly explains concepts with examples through visualizations or animations.

High School Physics

  • Alternating Current
  • Atoms
  • Communication Systems
  • Current Electricity
  • Dual nature of Radiation and Matter
  • Electric Charges and Fields
  • Electricity
  • Electromagnetic Induction
  • Electromagnetic Waves
  • Electron Beams and Radioactivity
  • Electrons and Photons
  • Electrostatic Potential and Capacitance
  • Fluid Pressure
  • Force and Acceleration
  • Force And Laws Of Motion
  • Gravitation
  • Internal Energy
  • Kinetic Theory
  • Law of motion
  • Light – Reflection And Refraction
  • Magnetic Effects Of Electric Current
  • Magnetism and Matter
  • Management Of Natural Resources
  • Mechanical properties of Fluids
  • Mechanical properties of Solids
  • Motion
  • Motion in a plane
  • Motion in a straight line
  • Moving Charges and Magnetism
  • Nuclear Energy
  • Nuclei
  • Oscillations
  • Our Environment
  • Paths of Heat
  • Physical world
  • Ray optics and optical instruments
  • Semiconductor Devices
  • Semiconductor Electronics: Materials, Devices and Simple Circuits
  • Simple Machines
  • Sound
  • Sources Of Energy
  • Specific and Latent Heats
  • Spherical Mirrors
  • Static Electricity
  • Systems of Particles and Rotational motion
  • Thermal properties of matter
  • Thermodynamics
  • Units and Measurement
  • Vectors, Scalar Quantities and Elementary Calculus
  • Wave Optics
  • Waves
  • Work, Power and Energy

High School Chemistry

  • Acids, Bases and Salts
  • Alcohols, Phenols and Ethers
  • Aldehydes, Ketones and Carboxylic Acids
  • Aliphatic and Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Alkyl and Aryl Halides
  • Amines
  • Analytical Chemistry 
  • Atomic Structure
  • Atoms And Molecules
  • Basic concepts of Chemistry
  • Biomolecules
  • Carbon And Its Compounds
  • Carboxylic acids and Acid Derivatives
  • Chemical Bonding and Molecular Structures
  • Chemical Energetics
  • Chemical Equilibria
  • Chemical Kinetics
  • Chemical Reactions And Equations
  • Chemical Reactions and Their Mechanisms
  • Chemistry in Everyday Life
  • Chemistry of p-Block elements
  • Chemistry of Transition and Inner Transition
  • Classification of Elements
  • Coordination Compounds
  • Cyanide, Isocyanide, Nitro compounds and Amines
  • Electrochemistry
  • Electrolysis
  • Elements, Compounds and Mixtures
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Equilibrium
  • Ethers and Carbonyl compounds
  • Haloalkanes and Haloarenes
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Hydrogen
  • Ideal solutions
  • Introduction to Organic Chemistry
  • Ionic equilibria
  • Matter
  • Matter Around Us
  • Matter In Our Surroundings
  • Metallurgy
  • Metals And Non-Metals
  • Mole Concept and Stoichiometry
  • Natural Resources
  • Organic Chemistry – Basic Principles
  • Periodic Classification of Elements
  • Physical and Chemical Changes
  • Physical and Chemical Properties of Water
  • Polymers
  • Preparation, Properties and Uses of Compounds
  • Principles and Processes of Isolation of Elements
  • Redox Reactions
  • Relative Molecular Mass and Mole
  • States of Matter
  • Structure Of The Atom
  • Study of Compounds
  • Study of Gas Laws
  • Study of Representative Elements
  • Surface Chemistry
  • The d-block and f-block elements
  • The Gaseous State
  • The p-Block Elements
  • The Periodic Table
  • The s-Block Elements
  • The Solid State
  • Thermodynamics

High School Biology

  • Absorption and Movement of Water in Plants
  • Adolescent Issues
  • Anatomy of Flowering Plants
  • Animal Kingdom
  • Bacteria and Fungi-Friends and Foe
  • Biodiversity and Conservation
  • Biofertilizers
  • Biological Classification
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomolecules
  • Biotechnology and its Applications
  • Biotic Community
  • Body Fluids and Circulation
  • Breathing and Exchange of Gases
  • Cell – Unit of Life
  • Cell Cycle and Cell Division
  • Cell Division and Structure of Chromosomes
  • Cell Reproduction
  • Cellular Respiration
  • Chemical Coordination and Integration
  • Circulation
  • Control And Coordination
  • Crop Improvement
  • Digestion and Absorption
  • Diversity In Living Organisms
  • Ecosystem
  • Environmental Issues
  • Excretory Products and their Elimination
  • Flowering Plants
  • Genes and Chromosomes
  • Health and Diseases
  • Health and Its Significance
  • Heredity And Evolution
  • Heredity and Variation
  • How Do Organisms Reproduce?
  • Human Diseases
  • Human Eye And Colourful World
  • Human Health and Disease
  • Human Population
  • Human Reproduction
  • Hygiene
  • Improvement In Food Resources
  • Integumentary System- Skin
  • Kingdom Fungi
  • Kingdom Monera
  • Kingdom Protista
  • Life Processes
  • Locomotion and Movement
  • Microbes in Human Welfare
  • Mineral Nutrition
  • Molecular Basis of Inheritance
  • Morphology of Flowering Plants
  • Neural Control And Coordination
  • Nutrition in Human Beings
  • Organism and Population
  • Photosynthesis
  • Photosynthesis in Higher Plants
  • Plant Growth and Development
  • Plant Kingdom
  • Pollination and Fertilization
  • Pollution; Sources and its effects
  • Principles of Inheritance and Variation
  • Reproduction and Development in Angiosperms
  • Reproduction in Organisms
  • Reproductive Health
  • Respiration in Human Beings
  • Respiration in Plants
  • Respiratory System
  • Sexual Reproduction in Flowering Plants
  • Strategies for Enhancement in Food Production
  • Structural Organisation in Animals
  • Structural Organisation of the Cell
  • The Endocrine System
  • The Fundamental Unit Of Life
  • The Living World
  • The Nervous System and Sense Organs
  • Tissues
  • Transpiration
  • Transport in Plants

High School Math

  • Algebra – Arithmatic Progressions
  • Algebra – Complex Numbers and Quadratic Equations
  • Algebra – Linear Inequalities
  • Algebra – Pair of Linear Equations in Two Variables
  • Algebra – Polynomials
  • Algebra – Principle of Mathematical Induction
  • Algebra – Quadratic Equations
  • Binomial Theorem
  • Calculus – Applications of Derivatives
  • Calculus – Applications of the Integrals
  • Calculus – Continuity and Differentiability
  • Calculus – Differential Equations
  • Calculus – Integrals
  • Geometry – Area
  • Geometry – Circles
  • Geometry – Conic Sections
  • Geometry – Constructions
  • Geometry – Introduction to Euclid’s Geometry
  • Geometry – Three-dimensional Geometry
  • Geometry – Lines and Angles
  • Geometry – Quadrilaterals
  • Geometry – Straight Lines
  • Geometry – Triangles
  • Linear Programming
  • Matrices and Determinants
  • Mensuration – Areas
  • Mensuration – Surface Areas and Volumes
  • Number Systems
  • Number Systems – Real Numbers
  • Permutations and Combinations
  • Probability
  • Sequence and Series
  • Sets and Functions
  • Statistics 
  • Trignometry – Height and Distance
  • Trignometry – Identities
  • Trignometry – Introduction

Middle School Science

  • Acids, Bases And Salts
  • Air and Its Constituents
  • Basic Biology
  • Body Movements
  • Carbon and Its Compounds
  • Cell – Structure And Functions
  • Changes Around Us
  • Chemical Effects Of Electric Current
  • Chemistry in Your Life
  • Coal And Petroleum
  • Combustion And Flame
  • Components Of Food
  • Conservation Of Plants And Animals
  • Crop Production And Management
  • Electric Current And Its Effects
  • Electricity And Circuits
  • Elements and Compounds
  • Fibre To Fabric
  • Food production and management
  • Force And Pressure
  • Forests: Our Lifeline
  • Friction
  • Fun With Magnets
  • Garbage In, Garbage Out
  • Getting To Know Plants
  • Health and Hygiene
  • Heat
  • Hydrogen
  • Life Processes: Nutrition in Animals and Plants
  • Light, Shadows And Reflections
  • Materials: Metals And Non-Metals
  • Matter and Its States
  • Metals and Non-metals
  • Micro Organisms: Friend And Foe
  • Motion And Measurement Of Distances
  • Motion And Time
  • Nutrition In Animals
  • Nutrition In Plants
  • Organization in Living Things
  • Our Environment
  • Physical And Chemical Changes
  • Pollution and conservation
  • Pollution Of Air And Water
  • Reaching The Age Of Adolescence
  • Reproduction In Animals
  • Reproduction In Plants
  • Respiration In Organisms
  • Rocks and Minerals
  • Separation Of Substances
  • Simple Machines
  • Soil
  • Some Natural Phenomena
  • Sorting Materials Into Groups
  • Sound
  • Stars And The Solar System
  • Structure of Atom
  • Synthetic Fibers And Plastics
  • The Living Organisms And Their Surroundings
  • Transfer of Heat
  • Transformation of Substances
  • Transportation In Animals And Plants
  • Universe
  • Waste-water Story
  • Water: A Precious Resource
  • Weather, Climate And Adaptations Of Animals To Climate
  • Winds, Storms And Cyclones

Middle School Math

  • Addition
  • Area and Its Boundary
  • Boxes and Sketches
  • Data Handling
  • Fun With Numbers
  • Heavy and Light
  • How Many
  • Long And Short
  • Mapping
  • Measurement
  • Money
  • Multiplication and Factors
  • Multiply and Divide
  • Numbers
  • Parts and Wholes
  • Pattern Recognition
  • Patterns
  • Play With Patterns
  • Rupees And Paise
  • Shapes And Angles
  • Shapes And Designs
  • Shapes and Space
  • Similarity
  • Smart Charts
  • Squares
  • Subtraction
  • Tables And Shares
  • Tenths and Hundredths
  • Time
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