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