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Previous Year Questions: Our Environment - Science Class 10

Short Answer Type Questions

Q1. Use of several pesticides which results in excessive accumulation of pesticides in rivers or ponds, is a matter of deep concern. Justify this statement. (2023)

The use of several pesticides results in accumulation of pesticides in rivers and ponds. These chemicals are either washed down into the soil or into the water bodies. From the soil, these are absorbed by the plants along with water and minerals, and from the water bodies these are taken up by aquatic plants and animals and enters the food chain. As these chemicals are not degradable, these get accumulated progressively at each trophic level. As human beings occupy the top level in any food chain, the maximum concentration of these chemicals get accumulated in our bodies i.e., biological magnification. Our food grains such as wheat and rice, vegetables and fruits, and even meat, contain varying amounts of pesticide residues cannot always be removed by washing or other means and causes health hazards.

Q2. How is ozone formed in the higher levels of the atmosphere? "Damage to the ozone layer is a cause of concern." Justify this statement. (2023)

Ozone (O3) is a molecule formed by three atoms of oxygen. It is formed in the stratosphere layer of atmosphere when high energy UV rays act on O2 molecule splitting it into free oxygen (O) atoms. These atoms then combine with molecular oxygen (O2) to form ozone (O3).

Q3. "Although gardens are created by man but they are considered to be an ecosystem." Justify this statement. (2023)

In a garden, various plants like grasses, trees, flower bearing plants such as jasmine, sunflower, rose, and animals like insects, frogs and birds are found. All these living organisms interact with each other and their growth, reproduction and other activities are affected by the abiotic components such as light, water, wind, soil, minerals, etc. of ecosystem. Thus, a garden is considered to be an ecosystem.

Q4. (i) Why are crop fields considered as artificial ecosystems? 
(ii) Write a common food chain of four steps operating in a terrestrial ecosystem.  (Term II, 2021-22 C)

(i) Crop fields are the artificial ecosystems because in crop fields, both biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) components are manipulated by human beings. Humans can change edaphic factors by adding fertilisers, water, etc. Biotic components may be changed using biocides or adding useful organisms like earthworms etc.
(ii) A food chain consists of various organism at various trophic levels. In terrestrial ecosystem, a common food chain is
Grass Grasshopper→ Frog→ Snake

Q5. (i) List two human-made ecosystems.
(ii) "We do not clean a pond in the same manner as we do in an aquarium." Give reason to justify this statement. (Term II, 2021-22)

(i) The two human made ecosystems are aquarium and garden.
(ii) We do not clean pond as we do in an aquarium because the waste generated in a pond is acted upon by the decomposers which convert them into simple soluble substances, whereas, in aquarium, the waste gets mixed with water and left untreated due to absence of decomposers.

Q6. In the following food chain, only 2J of energy was available to the peacocks. How much energy would have been present in Grass? Justify your answer. Grass → Grasshopper → Frog → Snake Peacock  (Term II, 2021-22)

In the given food chain, 20,000 J of energy must have been present in grass. This is because, as per the 10% law of energy transfer, only 10% of energy is transferred to the next trophic level.
Previous Year Questions: Our Environment | Science Class 10

Q7. What are consumers? Name the four categories under which the consumers are further classified. (2021 C)

Consumers are the organisms which are unable to synthesise their own food. Therefore, they utilise materials and energy stored by the producers or eat other organisms. They are known as the heterotrophs. The consumers are of following categories:
(i) Primary or first-order consumers: These include the animals which eat plants or plant products. They are called herbivores or primary (first order) consumers. E.g., Cattle, deer, goat, rabbit, hare, rats, mice, grasshoppers etc
(ii) Secondary or second order consumers: These include the animals which depend on primary consumers for their food. They are called primary carnivores or secondary (second order) consumers. Secondary consumers can be carnivores or omnivores. E.g., Cats, dogs, foxes, small fish, etc.
(iii) Tertiary or third order consumers: These are large carnivores (or top carnivores) which feed on primary and secondary consumers. These are termed as secondary carnivores or tertiary (third order) consumers. Common examples include shark and crocodile, wolves, lion, etc. (iv) Quaternary or fourth order consumers: These are even larger carnivores which feed on secondary carnivores (tertiary consumers). E.g., Tigers, lions and eagles/hawks etc.

Q8. How is ozone layer formed? State its importance to all life forms on earth. Why the amount of ozone in the atmosphere dropped sharply in the 1980s? (2020)

When high energy ultraviolet radiations react with oxygen present in stratosphere (the higher level of atmosphere) it splits into its constituent atoms. Since these atoms produced are very reactive, they react with molecular oxygen (O2) to form ozone (O3).
Previous Year Questions: Our Environment | Science Class 10
Ozone shields the surface of the earth from UV radiations from the sun. The depletion of ozone layer will lead to global warming and some serious health issues such as damage of skin cells that leads to skin cancer, snow blindness or inflammation of cornea, increased fatality of young animals, mutations and reduced immunity. In 1980s, the production of CFCs increased which releases active chlorine in the atmosphere. The active chlorine then reacts with ozone molecules present there to convert them to oxygen. This results in thinning of ozone layer. CFCs are used as refrigerants and in fire extinguishers. That is why, amount of ozone in the atmosphere dropped sharply.

Q9. (a) Write two harmful effects of using plastic bags on the environment. Suggest alternatives to the usage of plastic bags. (b) List any two practices that can be followed to dispose off the waste produced in our homes. (2020)

(a) Two harmful effects of using plastic bags on the environment: 
(i) Plastic bags are non-biodegradable substances which are not acted upon by microbes. So, they cannot be decomposed and therefore persist in the environment for a long time causing harm to the soil fertility and quality.
(ii) Plastic bags choke drains which result in waterlogging, that allows breeding of mosquitoes and hence leads to various diseases. Jute bags and cloth bags are the alternatives to the polyethene bags.
(b) Practices that can be followed to dispose off the waste produced in our homes: 
(i) Separation of biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes.
(ii) The biodegradable waste can be converted to manure.
(iii) Non-biodegradable waste should be disposed off at suitable places from where municipal authorities can pick them up and dispose properly and scientifically.
(iv) Use discarded bottles and jars to store food items.

Q10. (a) A food chain generally has three or four trophic levels. Explain.
(b) What is biological magnification? Explain. (2019 C)

(a) The number of trophic levels in a food chain are limited because at each trophic level only 10% of energy is utilised for the maintenance of organism which occur at that trophic level and the remaining large portion is lost as heat. As a result, organisms at each trophic level pass on lesser energy to the next trophic level, than they receive. The longer the food chain, the lesser is the energy available to the final member of food chain.
(b) Biological magnification is characterised by the increase in the non-biodegradable substances (DDT, Hg, etc.) in successive trophic levels of a food chain. The level of such toxic substances will be different in different trophic levels of a food chain because these substances are accumulated more in higher trophic levels.

Q11. Define an ecosystem. Draw a block diagram to show the flow of energy in an ecosystem. (Delhi 2019)

An ecosystem is defined as a structural and functional unit of the biosphere. It comprises of living organisms and their non-living environment that interact by means of food chains and biogeochemical cycles resulting in energy-flow, biotic diversity and material cycling to form stable self-supporting system. Green plants capture about 1% of the solar energy incident on the earth to carry out the process of photosynthesis.
A part of this trapped energy is used by plants in performing their metabolic activities and some energy is released as heat into the atmosphere. The remaining energy is chemical energy stored in the plants as photosynthetic products. When these green plants are eaten up by herbivores, the chemical energy stored in the plants is transferred to these animals. These animals (herbivores) utilise some of this energy for metabolic activities and some energy is released as heat while the remaining energy is stored in their body. This process of energy transfer is repeated till top carnivores. In an ecosystem, transfer of energy follows 10 per cent law, i.e., only 10 per cent of the energy is transferred to each trophic level from the lower trophic level. The given block diagram shows unidirectional flow of energy at different trophic levels in a freshwater ecosystem:
Previous Year Questions: Our Environment | Science Class 10

Q12. Name two natural ecosystems.    [CBSE 2016-17 C]

Some natural ecosystems are:

  • Temperate forest
  • Tropical forest
  • Grassland
  • Ocean
  • LakeTypes of Natural EcosystemTypes of Natural Ecosystem

Q13. What are decomposers? Write the role of decomposers in the environment.    [CBSE 2016-17 C]

Decomposers are microorganisms that derive their nutrition from dead remains and waste products of organisms.
They play a vital role in our environment by breaking down the complex organic substance into simple inorganic substance which is made available for plants and other organisms. Hence they act as scavengers and not only keep the environment clean but also replenish the minerals.

Q14. (a) What is an ecosystem? List its two main components.
(b) We do not clean ponds or lakes, but an aquarium needs to be cleaned regularly. Explain.    [CBSE 2013,2017]

(a) A self-sustaining functional unit consisting of living and non-living components is called an ecosystem.
Components: Biotic components like plants and animals. Non-biotic components like soil, wind, light etc.
(b) A pond is a complete, natural and self-sustaining ecosystem whereas an aquarium is an artificial and incomplete ecosystem, without decomposers therefore it needs regular cleaning for proper running.

Q15. You have been selected to talk on “ozone layer and its protection” in the school assembly on ‘Environment Day.’    [Delhi 2017]
(a) Why should ozone layer be protected to save the environment?
(b) List any two ways that you would stress in your talk to bring in awareness amongst your fellow friends that would also help in protection of ozone layer as well as the environment.

(a) Ozone layer at the higher levels of the atmosphere, acts as a shield to protect earth from the harmful effects of the ultraviolet (UV) radiations; hence, it should be protected.

  • Urging the people to not to buy aerosol products with CFC that are available in the market.
  • Conducting poster making competition or street plays presenting the importance of ozone layer on earth.

Q16. Your mother always through that fruit juices are very healthy for everyone. One day she read in the newspaper that some brands of fruit juices in the market have been found to contain certain level of pesticides in them. She got worried as pesticides are injurious to our health.    (Foreign 2017)
(а) How would you explain to your mother about fruit juices getting contaminated with pesticides?
(b) It is said that when these harmful pesticides enter our body as well as in the bodies of other organisms they get accumulated and beyond a limit cause harm and damage to our organs. Name the phenomenon and write about it.


  • Pesticides are the chemicals used to protect our crops from diseases and pests.
  • These chemicals are washed down either into the soil or into water bodies.
  • From the soil, they are absorbed by the terrestial plants along with water and minerals.
  • From the water bodies, they are absorbed by the aquatic plants.
  • When the fruits of these plants are used to prepare fruit juices, they are contaminated with the pesticides.


  • The phenomenon is called biomagnification. It is the phenomenon in which certain harmful chemicals enter the food chain and get accumulated and increase in concentration at successive trophic levels.
  • It is because they are not degradable.
  • The maximum concentration of these chemicals is found in the top level consumers.

Q17. In the following food chain, 100 J of energy is available to the lion. How much energy was available to the producer?    [AI 2017]
Plants → Deer → Lion

1,000,000 J of energy was available to the producer.

Q18. Why should biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes be discarded in two separate dustbins?    [AI 2017(C); Delhi 2013,15]

The biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes must be discarded in two different dustbins because biodegradable wastes gets decomposed by the microorganisms whereas non-biodegradable wastes can be recycled and reused.

Q19. Name any two man-made ecosystems.    [Foreign 2017]

Agricultural/crop fields, aquaria, gardens,

Q20. We often use the word environment. What does it mean?    [Foreign 2016]

It is the sum total of all external conditions and influences that affect the life and development of an organism, i.e. the environment includes all the physical or abiotic and biological or biotic factors.

Q21. Why are green plants called producers?    [Delhi 2016]

Green plants can produce their own food by photosynthesis from inorganic compounds and hence are called producers.

Q22. What is ten per cent law? Explain with an example how energy flows through different trophic levels.    [Delhi 2015]

Energy available at each successive trophic level of food chain is ten per cent of that at the previous level.
This is called ten per cent law. Thus, 90 per cent energy is lost to the surroundings at each trophic level. However, plants absorb only one per cent of radiant energy of the Sun during photosynthesis. This is explained as under :
Previous Year Questions: Our Environment | Science Class 10

Q23. What is ozone? How and where is it formed in the atmosphere? Explain how does it affect ecosystem.    [Foreign 2015]

Ozone is an isotope of oxygen, i.e. it is a molecule formed by 3 atoms of oxygen.
Previous Year Questions: Our Environment | Science Class 10
Ozone exists in the ozone layer of stratosphere. At higher level o f atmosphere, O2 molecule breaks down to 2 oxygen atom. The oxygen atom then combines with the oxygen molecule to form ozone.
Ozone layer in the atmosphere prevents UV rays from reaching earth. Exposure to excess UV rays causes skin cancer, cataract and damages eye and immune system. It also decreases crop yield and reduces population of phytoplankton, zooplankton and certain fish larvae which are an important constituent of aquatic food chain. It also disturbs rainfall, causing ecological disturbance and reduces global food production. Thus, it affect the ecosystem.

Q24. “Energy flow in food chains is always unidirectional.” Justify this statement. Explain how the pesticides enter a food chain and subsequently get into our body.    [Foreign 2015]

The energy flow through different steps in the food chain is unidirectional. The energy captured by autotrophs does not revert back to the solar input and it passes to the herbivores, i.e. it moves progressively through various trophic levels. Thus energy flow from sun through producers to omnivores is in single direction only.
Pesticides are sprayed to kill pests on food plants. The food plants are eaten by herbivores and alongwith the food, pesticides are also eaten by the herbivores. Herbivores are eaten by carnivores and alongwith the herbivore animal, pesticide also enters the body of the carnivore. Man eat both plants and animals and pesticide alongwith food enters the body of human. Concentration of pesticides increases as we move upward in the food chain and the process is called bio-magnification.

Q25. What is an ecosystem? List its two main components. We do not clean natural ponds or lakes but an aquarium needs to be cleaned regularly. Why is it so? Explain.    [AI 2015]

Ecosystem: It is the structural and functional unit of biosphere, comprising of all the interacting organisms in an area together with the non-living constituents of the environment. Thus, an ecosystem is a self-sustaining system where energy and matter are exchanged between living and non-living components.
Main components of ecosystem:
Biotic Component: It means the living organisms of the environment-plants, animals, human beings and microorganisms like bacteria and fungi, which are distinguished on the basis of their nutritional relationship.
Abiotic Component: It means the non-living part of the environment-air, water, soil and minerals. The climatic or physical factors such as sunlight, temperature, rainfall, humidity, pressure and wind are a part of the abiotic environment.
An aquarium is an artificial and incomplete ecosystem compared to ponds or lakes which are natural, self-sustaining and complete ecosystems where there is a perfect recycling of materials. An aquarium therefore needs regular cleaning.

Q26. Write the full name of the group of compounds mainly responsible for the depletion of ozone layer.    [Foreign 2015]

CFC → Chloroflurocarbon

Q27. Which of the following are always at the second trophic level of the food chains?
Carnivores, Autotrophs, Herbivores    [AI 2015]

Herbivores are always at the 2nd trophic level.

Q28. The following organisms form a food chain. Which of these will have the highest concentration of nonbiodegradable chemicals? Name the phenomenon associated with it.
Insects, Hawk, Grass, Snake, Frog.    [Foreign 2015]

Hawk will have highest concentration of non-biodegradable chemicals. The phenomenon is called biomagnification.

Q29. The first trophic level in a food chain is always a green plant. Why?    [AI 2015]

Only green plants can make their own food from sunlight. Green plants, therefore, always occupy the 1st trophic level in a food chain.

Q30. What will be the amount of energy available to the organism of the 2nd trophic level of a food chain, if the energy available at the first trophic level is 10,000 joules?    [AI 2015]

100 Joules of energy will be available to the organism of the 2nd trophic level.

Long Answer Type Questions

Q1. (a) How can we help in reducing the problem of waste disposal? Suggest any three methods.    [Delhi 2019]
(b) Distinguish between biodegradable and nonbiodegradable wastes.    [DoE, A1 2011]

(a) The three methods of waste disposal are:

  • Recycling: solid, wastes like paper, plastics, metals can be sent to processing factories where they are remoulded or reprocessed to new materials.
  • Production of compost: Biodegradable wastes like fruit and vegetable peels, plant products, left over food, grass clippings, human and animal waste can be converted into compost by burying this waste into grund and can be used as manure.
  • Incineration: Burning dawn many household waste, chemical waste and biological waste into ash is known as incineration. A large amount of waste can be easily converted into ash which can be disposed off in landfill.

(b) Differences between:

Biodegradable wastesNon-biodegradable wastes
(i) These wastes can be broken-down into non-poisonous substances in nature by the action of microorganisms.(i) These wastes cannot be broken-down into non-poisonous substances by microorganisms.
(ii) They get recycled thus, do not need any dumping sites.(ii) They cannot be recycled thus, require dumping  sites.

Q2. (a) What is biodiversity? What will happen if biodiversity of an area is not preserved? Mention one effect of it.    [AI 2015]
(b) With the help of an example explain that a garden is an ecosystem.
(c) Why only 10% energy is transferred to the next trophic level?

(a) Biodiversity is the existence of a wide variety of species of plants, animals and microorganisms in a natural habitat within a particular environment or existence of genetic variation within a species. Biodiversity of an area is the number of species or range of different life forms found there. Forests are ‘biodiversity hotspots’. Every living being is dependent on another living being. It is a chain. If biodiversity is not maintained, the links of the chain go missing. If one organism goes missing, this will affect all the living beings who are dependent on it.
(b) A garden comprises of different kind of flora and fauna such as grasses, flowering and nonflowering plants, trees, frogs, insects, birds, etc. All these living organisms depend and interact with each other and their growth, reproduction and other vital biological activities depend upon the abiotic component comprising of physical factors like temperature, rainfall, wind, soil and minerals. Therefore, we can say that a garden is an ecosystem.
(c) Only 10% energy is transferred to the next trophic level because other 90 per cent is used for things like respiration, digestion, running away from predators.

The document Previous Year Questions: Our Environment | Science Class 10 is a part of the Class 10 Course Science Class 10.
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FAQs on Previous Year Questions: Our Environment - Science Class 10

1. What are the major components of our environment?
Ans. The major components of our environment are air, water, soil, and living organisms. These components interact with each other and form a complex ecosystem.
2. How does pollution affect our environment?
Ans. Pollution can have several harmful effects on our environment. Air pollution can lead to respiratory problems and climate change. Water pollution can contaminate drinking water sources and harm aquatic life. Soil pollution can affect agricultural productivity and lead to the loss of fertile land.
3. What are the different types of pollution?
Ans. There are several types of pollution, including air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, noise pollution, and light pollution. Each type of pollution has its own causes and impacts on the environment and human health.
4. How can we reduce pollution in our environment?
Ans. There are several ways to reduce pollution in our environment. We can reduce air pollution by using cleaner sources of energy and reducing our carbon footprint. Water pollution can be reduced by proper waste disposal and treatment. Soil pollution can be minimized by practicing sustainable agriculture and avoiding the use of harmful chemicals.
5. What is the importance of biodiversity in our environment?
Ans. Biodiversity is crucial for maintaining the balance of ecosystems and ensuring the survival of various species. It provides us with essential ecosystem services such as pollination, nutrient cycling, and climate regulation. Biodiversity also has economic and cultural importance, as many industries and communities rely on it for their livelihoods and traditions.
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