We have heard the word ‘environment’ often being used on the television, in newspapers and by people around us. Our elders tell us that the ‘environment’ is not what it used to be earlier; others say that we should work in a healthy ‘environment’; and global summits involving the developed and developing countries are regularly held to discuss ‘environmental’ issues. In this chapter, we shall be studying how various factors in the environment interact with each other and how we impact the environment. In Class IX, we saw how different materials are cycled in the environment in separate biogeochemical cycles. In these cycles, essential nutrients like nitrogen, carbon, oxygen and water are changed from one form
In our daily activities, we generate a lot of material that are thrown away. What are some of these waste materials? What happens after we throw them away? Let us perform an activity to find answers to these questions.
All organisms such as plants, animals, microorganisms and human beings as well as the physical surroundings interact with each other and maintain a balance in nature. All the interacting organisms in an area together with the non-living constituents of the environment form an ecosystem. Thus, an ecosystem consists of biotic components comprising living organisms and abiotic components comprising physical factors like temperature, rainfall, wind, soil and minerals.
We are an integral part of the environment. Changes in the environment affect us and our activities change the environment around us. We have already seen in Class IX how our activities pollute the environment. In this chapter, we shall be looking at two of the environmental problems in detail, that is, depletion of the ozone layer and waste disposal.