The Environment is the greatest gift of God to Man. It is derived from the term ‘environ’ which means encircle that comprises of biotic (living things) and abiotic (non-living things).
India is one of the 17 mega diverse countries of the world. With only 2.4% of the world’s land area, 16.7% of the world’s human population and 18% livestock, it contributes about 8% of the known global biodiversity, however, putting enormous demands on our natural resources. India is home to world’s largest wild tigers population and has got unique assemblage of globally important endangered species like Asiatic lion, Asian Elephant, One-horned Rhinoceros, Gangetic River Dolphin, Snow Leopard, Kashmir Stag, Dugong, Gharial, Great Indian Bustard, Lion Tailed Macaque etc.
India has a staggering variety of flora and fauna, including some of the rarest species in existence on the planet. There is so far a paucity of information for the general public on the status, biology, and major threats to the endangered species of our country. As per the latest quantitative evaluation done by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) there are 57 critically endangered species of animals in India.
The general meaning of environment is ‘the surroundings about us’. There are three components of environment:
(i) Physical (abiotic) Component-Land, water, air and the related semi-components are included in it.
(ii) Biotic Component-Plants and animals are included in it. Man is an important part of it.
(iii) Energy Component-The sun is the main source of energy on the earth. So, it is also a part of our environment. Besides it, geothermal energy, tidal energy, wind energy etc. are also included in it.
Man is such a living being who gets affected by the environment as well as affects the environment the most. If we see the historical development order of geography, we find that in the beginning, the geographers had considered the environment stronger than man (Determinism). However, the scientific and technical development made man not only stronger but egoist also. Now he began to feel that Nature is under his control and he can give a fillip to development in the way he likes-the limits of development are infinite for man (Possibilism). Keeping this concept in view, man exploited Nature ruthlessly, the bad results of which began to come out immediately. And then, the geographers propounded the hypothesis of Neo-Determinism.
Developmental projects are an essential component of economic development and progress of a country.
To prevent adverse impacts of developmental projects and programmes an environment, Environmental Impact Assessment or EIA is carried out before the implementation.
While development is important, more important is environmental protection so that there is sustainable development and the environmental resources remain available to future generations.
Pollution is defined as ‘an addition or excessive addition of certain materials to the physical environment (water, air and lands), making it less fit or unfit for life’.
A pollutant is a substance or energy introduced into the environment that has undesired effects, or adversely affects the usefulness of a resource.
They are constituent parts of the pollution process. They are the actual “executing agents” of environmental pollution. They come in gaseous, solid or liquid form.
Classification of pollutant on disposable nature
The portion of the earth which sustains life is called biosphere. Biosphere is very huge and cannot be studied as a single entity. It is divided into many distinct functional units called ecosystem.
Components of an ecosystem
They are broadly grouped into:- (a) Abiotic and (b) Biotic components.
It is the scientific study of the processes influencing the distribution and abundance of organisms, the interactions among organisms, and the interactions between organisms and the transformation and flux of energy and matter.
The term ecology was first coined in 1869 by the German biologist Ernst Haeckel. It has been derived from two Greek words, ‘oikos’, meaning home or estate and ‘logos’ meaning study. The emphasis is on relationships between organisms and the components of the environment namely abiotic (non-living) and biotic (living).