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Introduction: Environmental Issues | GK Olympiad for Class 6 PDF Download

Our environment is constantly changing. Life on Earth is dependent on the thin layer of biosphere surrounding the planet. However, our planet is at the brink of a severe environmental crisis. Current environmental issues make us quite vulnerable to disasters and tragedies, both in present times and in future. If we do not act swiftly enough, these problems will create an environmental emergency. Hence, these problems require urgent attention and action.

Greenhouse Effect

  • The greenhouse effect is the process by which radiation from a planet’s atmosphere warms the planet’s surface to a temperature above what it would be without its atmosphere.
  • The ‘greenhouse effect’ is an atmospheric heating phenomenon in which the Earth experiences rise in temperature because certain gases (water vapour, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane) in the atmosphere allow incoming sunlight to pass through but trap heat radiated from the earth’s surface. If these gases wouldn’t trap heat in the atmosphere, the temperature of the earth would be about 33 degrees centigrade colder on average. Because how these gases warm our planet, they are called greenhouse gases and the effect they create in the atmosphere is known as greenhouse effect.
  • The main gases that are termed ‘greenhouse’ gases (GHG’s) are: Ozone, Carbon dioxide, Nitrous oxide and Methane. All of these are naturally occurring.

Enhanced Greenhouse Effect


The problem we are now facing is that human activities - particularly burning fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas), agriculture and land clearing - are increasing the concentrations of greenhouse gases. This is the enhanced greenhouse effect, which is contributing to warming of the Earth.

  1. Solar radiation reaches the Earth’s atmosphere - some of this is reflected back into space.
  2. The rest of the sun’s energy is absorbed by the land and the oceans, heating the Earth.
  3. Heat radiates from Earth towards space.
  4. Some of this heat is trapped by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, keeping the Earth warm enough to sustain life.
  5. Human activities such as burning fossil fuels, agriculture and land clearing are increasing the amount of greenhouse gases which are released into the atmosphere.
  6. This is trapping extra heat, and causing the Earth’s temperature to rise.

3rs

“The three R’s - reduce, reuse and recycle - all help to cut down the amount of waste we throw away. They conserve natural resources, landfill space and energy. Plus, the three R’s save land and money communities. The excessive and indiscriminate use of various types of natural resources is spoiling our healthy environment day by day. We can save our environment by practising three R’s : Reduce, Recycle and Reuse.

Reduce

Reduce means that we use less of the natural resources by cutting down those practices which lead to their wastage.
Things you can do:

  1. Print on both sides of the paper to reduce paper wastage.
  2. Use electronic mail to reach out to people instead of sending paper mail.
  3. Remove your name from the mailing lists that you no longer want to receive.
  4. Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins.
Recycling

Recycling means that we should collect the used and discarded items of paper, plastic, glass and metals, and send them to the respective industries for making fresh paper, plastic, glass or metal objects.
Things you can do:

  1. Buy products from market that are made up of recycled materials, i.e., the product should be environment friendly.
  2. Buy products that can be recycled such as glass jars.
  3. Invent new ways to recycle different items.
  4. Avoid buying hazardous materials that could pose difficulty for you to recycle. Buy non-toxic products, whenever possible.
Reuse

Reuse means that, if possible, we should use the same things again. For example, the plastic jars in which we buy various food items like jams and pickles, etc., can be used later on for storing things like salt, spices, sugar, tea-leaves and pulses, etc. And paper envelopes can be reversed inside out and used again.
Things you can do:

  1. Old jars and pots: Old jars and pots can be used to store items in kitchen. They can also be used to store loose items together such as computer wires.
  2. Tyres: Old tyres can either be sent to recycling station or can be used to make tyre-swing.
  3. Used wood: Used wood can be used as firewood or can be used for woodcrafts.
  4. Newspaper: Old newspapers can be used to pack items, when you’re planning to move to another home or store old items.

Global warming

Global warming is the rise in average surface temperature of the earth globally.  It is a man created environmental issue, which is gradually affecting the whole environment all over the world since many years.
It is caused due to these:

  1. Deforestation and industrial emissions has resulted to increase in greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide) around earth’s atmosphere.
  2. These greenhouse gases traps and absorbs atmospheric heat and ultimately causes global warming (an increase earth’s surface temperature).

Climate Change

  • This is the most controversial and political topic of all the environmental problems. A majority of climate experts believe that human activities are responsible for change in climate and that the damage is done. It is now too late to undo the damage. The best one can do is  to regulate the further impact upon the environment by developing more environment friendly methods of energy production.
  • Climate change can cause change in seasons, spread new diseases, frequent occurrence of flood and overall change in weather scenario. This is the greatest environmental threat.

Conservation of Natural Resources

  • Conservation of nature refers to the preservation of resources that are produced naturally. These include water, sunlight, atmosphere, minerals, land, vegetation and animals. Many of these resources are depleting at a rapid pace due to over utilization. The importance of conservation of nature must be understood and steps must be taken to ensure the ecological balance.
  • Conservation of nature implies the conservation of resources that are formed naturally, without any human intervention. The importance of conservation of natural resources has been stressed upon often enough as it is essential for maintaining a balanced environment on earth.
  • Conservation of nature is an issue that must be taken seriously.

Ways To Conserve Natural Resources

  1. People should at once stop the over utilization of natural resources instead they must be properly used.
  2. We should make habit for waste disposal, compose and to restore biodiversity.
  3. Mixed cropping, crop rotation, and proper use of fertilizers, insecticide and pesticides should be taught to farmers. Encourage the use of manures, biofertilizers and organic fertilizers.
  4. We should protect wildlife though hunting is not allowed even then the persons are doing so. For this, educated young should teach the lesson of wildlife act.
  5. We must develop energy saving methods to avoid wastage of energy. We should remember “energy saved is energy produced.”
  6. Use drip irrigation and sprinkling irrigation to improve irrigation efficiency and reduce evaporation.
  7. Utilize renewable energy sources as much as possible. Encourage use of solar cooker, pump, etc. 
  8. We should recycle the waste and waste water for agriculture purposes.
  9. Install rainwater harvesting system in houses, colonies.
  10. Try to educate local people for the protection and judicious use of natural resources.

Some other environmental issues are waste disposal, acid rain, depletion of natural resources, ozone layer depletion and ocean acidification.
There is a need for change in our daily lives so that we can contribute to a safe and healthy environment for our future generations.

The document Introduction: Environmental Issues | GK Olympiad for Class 6 is a part of the Class 6 Course GK Olympiad for Class 6.
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