Q. 1. What is Environment? What is the relation of Environment with human life?
Ans. It has been said that man is the creation of environment. Word Environment is made up of two words ‘Environ’ and ‘ment’. Meaning of ‘Environ’ is all around and meaning of ‘ment’ is surrounded. In this way literal meaning of Environment is surrounded all-around. Man is surrounded by all the circumstances, states and conditions which affect him one way or the other. All these are the part of environment. Man is generally surrounded by two types of forces i.e. natural and social and these forces give definite form to his behaviour and personality. Natural forces include land, air, water, temperature, minerals etc. Social forces include parts of non-material culture like values, traditions, mores, beliefts, arts, knowledge, folk ways etc. Environment is made by the combination of all those natural, social and cultural elements.
According to Gisbert, ‘‘Environment is all that which surrounds anything by allround and which directly affects him.’’ According to Ross ‘‘Environment is that external power which affects us.’’
So from this description it is clear that all the external forces are included in environment which affect us in one way of the other. This impact starts even before the birth of a child and goes on for whole of his life. Change in place and time leads to change in impact of these forces. Human life and activities do happen due to environment. Environment does not relate only with those conditions which affect us externally but are also related with internal conditions. No one can live without better living conditions and environment.
Relation of human life with Environment. Human used to live in forests, mountains and at distant places in ancient times. People’s life style was very simple and needs were limited. People’s life was definitely affected by environment. Generally it is very difficult to live in adverse natural conditions. Human life was dependent upon nature because his life was very much close to nature.
He formed various small groups and organizations to fulfil his limited needs.
People had community feeling among them. They used to live in ancient conditions due to lack of technology and non-development of knowledge. They had a number of local values, traditions, beliefs of life. They had no impact of civilization.
But life of a person and society became very complex in modern times. Humans live in cities not in forests. Life in ancient communities was completely dependent upon nature but human dependence upon nature has been reduced to a great extent in cities.
Generally natural environment plays an important role in developing urban communities. Cities, in whole of the world, developed generally at those places where water was available in enough quantity. Around 100 cities and towns were developed around the banks of river Ganga in our country. Except this, large industries were developed at those place where minerals were available in enough quantity. Cities were also developed around those industries.
Social and cultural environment is also very much related with human life. Needs of the people in urban areas are very much unlimited. People used to form associations and groups to fulfil those unlimited needs. Work in industries is done on the basis of division of labour. Industrialists used to establish large industries so that the things of needs of people could be made. Division of labour of industries increases competition in society. It leads to progress of the society.
Work of social control is done by parts of social environment such as written rules, laws etc. Reason and Knowledge is being used in place of traditions. Technology, means of transport and communication brings more comfort of life. Parts of environment, like winter and summer, are controlled by using electric appliances in urban areas. In this way environment affects social life in modern societis.
Q. 2. What do you know about Social Ecology? Explain briefly.
Ans. Initially the word Ecology was taken from the subject of Botany. Later on it became quite important in Zoology. Park and Burgess were the first sociologists who used the Word ‘ Social Ecology ’. Later on different human communities were studied in this context. On the basis of concept given by Park and Burgers, regional school was developed in Sociology.
According to J.F.Cuber, ‘‘ Social Ecology is study of humans, relations of human institutions and related regional norms in any community.’’
Maciver and Page also tried to interpret ecology in their way. They included socio-cultural features of any place in ecology. According to them, ‘‘these conditions’’ always influence the traits like from family organization till mental conditions.
So, from here it is clear that we include all those regional or local elements or aspects in ecology which provide a specific form and character to one community.
From this, it is clear that ecology and environment are very much different from each other. Environment is related with humans but ecology is related with community life.
Main Elements of Social Ecology
Few main elements are included in social ecology which are given below:
(i) Geographical Elements: Those elements which are completely natural, are included in geographical elements. For example atmosphere, temperature, minerals, forests, land, rivers, mountains etc.
(ii) Cultural Elements: All the elements of material and non-material culture are known as cultural elements. For example new inventions, means of transport and communication, religion, customs, traditions, fashions, ways of behaviour, norms etc, form the human ecology.
(iii) Economic Elements: Economic elements of ecology include form of production in any region, use of machines, nature of occupation, ways of living of humans, facilities related to industries etc.
(iv) Administrative and Demographic Elements: Nature of laws controlling behaviours of humans of any community, administrative system, public facilities, density of population and differences are included in this category.
So, from this description, it is clear that geographical, cultural, economic, administrative and demograhic elements of any community play a very important role in forming its ecology.
Q. 3. What is meant by Air Pollution? Explain its causes and sources.
Ans. Earth's atmosphere is the mixture of many gases in which each gas is in specific quantity and each helps the life on earth in a different way. But if the quantity of any gas increases or decreases then it is known as air pollution because this gas can cause danger to human life on earth. For example if the quantity of Ozone gas will decrease, more ultraviolet rays of sun will come on earth. Earth's atmosphere will become hot which will cause many diseases to humans and animals.
Carbon dioxide is 0.033% of the total atmosphere. If its quantity will increase then temperature of atmoshere will also increase. The glaciers on poles and ice on mountains will melt down. Water in oceans will be increased. Rain on earth will increase and even deserts will also increase. In this way whole of the life on earth will get disturbed.
According to World Health Organization,‘‘ Atmosphere gets polluted when those elements will be included in it which are dangerous for humans and allround health.’’ Many human activities are the causes of increase in quantity of gases in atmosphere which include industries, running of vehicles, digging of mines, burning of urban waste, burning of wood etc. All these activities are becoming one of the major cause of air pollution in all parts of the world.
Air Pollutants:— Following are the main air pollutants:
1. Carbon Dioxide: Carbon dioxide is already available in the air but its increasing quantity is exerting a bad impact on atmosphere. It will increase temperature on the earth. Its quantity in atmosphere increased due to burning of coal in industries and petrol, diesel in vehicles. This gas is also emitted through burning of domestic waste.
2. Sulphur Oxide: If sulphur oxide or dioxide increases in atmosphere then it causes the diseases related to Lungs. Burning of coal, refining and burning of petrol, purification of zink and copper are some of its causes.
3. Carbon Monoxide: If this gas increases in atmosphere and it will increase the red blood cells in our blood which will reduce the flow of blood in our body, weakness, headache and sickness are some of its symptoms.
4. Nitrogen Oxide: This gas can cause diseases like problem of breathing and heart related problems. Forests fire, burning of diesel and petrol, burning of wood, burning of agricultural straw after using chemical urea in fields are some of its major causes.
5. Hydrogen Sulphide and Chloride: Urban sewerage system, burning of coal, making of paper and plastic can increase quantity of these gases in atmosphere.
These can also cause many diseases to humans.
Sources of Air Pollution: Some of the major sources of air pollution are given below: (i) Natural Resources: Eruption of volcano, fire in forests, wind also are some of the sources which become causes of air pollution caused by them is not harmful because nature corrects itself all these pollutions.
(ii) Man Made Sources: The day from which humans started to do agriculture and started to live in groups, they started to cause air pollution. Today many of the human activities are the causes of air pollution like:
(a) Industries: Many gases mix in atmosphere with burning of coal, petroleum etc, in industries. We need to burn 2 tonnes of coal to refine a tonne of iron. It leads to emission of too much carbon dioxide in atmosphere. Other industries like refining industries, fertiliser factories, paper industry, textile industry etc, also emit lot of gases in air which become cause of pollution.
(b) Automobiles: During earlier times, humans travelled with the help of animals. When diesel and petrol engines were invented, humans started using vehicles to travel from one place to another. Each vehicle runs with burning of diesel or petrol. This burning emitts Carbon Monoxide in atmosphere and becomes cause of air pollution. Number of vehicles in metropolitan cities is too much and that's why too much pollution is there in these cities. Now people are using masks to save themselves from the smoke of vehicles. These masks are fitted with a filter which stops the carbon monoxide to breathe in.
(c) Domestic Sources: Many sources are there in our houses which become a cause of air pollution like cylinders, fridge, air conditioners, burning of kerosene oil, burning of domestic waste, burning of dung cakes and wood etc.
Except these sources, many other sources are also there which become a cause of concern for air pollution.
Q. 4. Which problems occur due to air pollution and what are its solutions?
Ans. Many problems occur due to air pollution which are given below:
(i) Global Warming: Quantity of many gases is increasing in atmosphere with which global temperature is increasing. If temperature will increase then glaciers and ice on poles will melt down. Water in oceans will increase and many islands will drown under water. Places with more rain will become desert. Climate will change and season of growing crops will also change. Many countries will face famines and many will face danger of floods.
(ii) Smog: It means smoke plus fog. Smoke comes out of industries and vehicles is generally comes down in the night and if it will be mixed with fog then it can create many problem. Smog has occured in many industrial cities of U.S.A and Europe. In 1952, smog spread around London and 12,000 people were died with this. Smoke of industries and vehicles have few unburnt particles. When these are mixed with fog then they remain in atmosphere and can cause many health related problems.
(iii) Acid Rain: Word acid rain was firstly used by Robert Augus in 1972. When smoke of industries goes higher in the atmosphere then it is taken to far off areas by the clouds. When the smoke with sulphur particles are mixed with water in atmosphere then it becomes Sulphuric Acid. When this acid comes on earth in the form of rain then they damage plants, crops, animals and even buildings.
Measures to Control Air Pollution
After 1974, different countries are doing many efforts to reduce air pollutions and some of them are given below:
(i) Society must be told about benefits of pure air.
(ii) There should be no mixing in diesel and petrol. In India, colour of Kerosene oil is changed to blue colour so that the diesel could not be mixed in it.
(iii) Engines of motor cars must be of high quality so that the very less unburnt particles must come out of them. Engines must be made according to Euro-III and Euro IV norms. Government has introduced C.N.G. in metropolitan cities which is a good effort from govenment's side.
(iv) Electrostatic Presipitator and filters must be used in factories to minimise the air pollution in atmosphere.
(v) Chimney's of factories must be high enough so that the pollution on earth could be minimised.
(vi) Very less pesticides must be used in fields.
(vii) Straws remained in fields must not be burnt.
(viii) More and more trees must be planted to reduce the impact of carbon dioxide.
Q. 5. What is meant by Water Pollution? Discuss the causes of water pollution.
Ans. Many human activities are the causes of water pollution. Yet pollution also spreads due to natural factors but nature itself takes care of that pollutions. When river water moves from mountains towards plains then it carries lot of silt and stones with itself with which water gets polluted. But this silt and stones scaters at different places by water itself and then water becomes clean. But the water polluted by humans never corrects itself as the chemicals in water remain as it is. This mixing of things into pure water and making it not conducive for human consumption is known as water pollution.
Major causes of water pollution are given below:
(i) Domestic Water: Humans require lot of water for their daily domestic needs.
Taking bath in the morning, cleaning utensils and washing of clothes, cleaning the house and washing of cars require a lot of water. In villages, this water is collected at one place and gradually evaporates or goes underground. But population of cities is too much and lot of waste water is there. Except this water in sewerage is one of the biggest problem in urban areas. This is a major concern in larger cities where population is in crores. Sewerage of cities is generally thrown into any drain or river. This sewerage also include the discharged water of industries. This water cannot be used again as many chemicals are mixed in it. Where ever this water moves, land and soil of that area also gets polluted with it.
(ii) Industrial Waste: Lot of water is used in industries. Paper industry, Suger industry, Iron industry, Chemical industries are the few industries where lot of water is consumed. When waste industrial water comes out of industry then many chemicals are also there in it with which water gets polluted. Dairy and milk plant, rubber industries also cause a lot of pollution. A number of chemical substances are used in these industries which also cause water pollution.
(iii) Chemical Fertilisers and Pesticides: Farmers are using lot of chemical fertilisers and pesticides while doing agriculture. It increases the production of crop but chemicals and pesticides reach far off areas with water and becomes a cause of water pollution.
(iv) Hot Water: In many industries, water is used to cool down different substances.
When this water is thrown out of the industry then it is generally hot and many chemicals are also involved in this process. This also becomes a cause of concern for water pollution.
(v) Mineral Oil: Mineral oil is taken from Arabian countries through ships to far off areas. When any ship meets with an accident then whole of mineral oil spreads in the sea. Then this oil makes a layer on the oceanic water and water gets polluted.
Whole of oceanic life dies with this. Except this, water thrown out of oil refineries also becomes a cause of water pollution.
(vi) Throwing dead bodies in rivers: Indian people are generally superstitious.
According to Hindu mythology, if any one is cremated on the banks of river Ganga then that person goes straight to heaven. That's why many people like to cremate dead bodies of their dear ones near to river Ganga. Sometimes they throw dead bodies in river Ganga or any other river. This also becomes a cause of water pollution.