Environment refers to the surroundings, in which organisms live. It is the favourable conditions in which a human, animal, or plant lives. It comprises both abiotic (physical or nonliving) and biotic (living) environments. The environment regulates the life of organisms including human beings.
These surroundings or conditions in which an organism lives are made up of various components like air, water, land, etc. These components are found in fixed proportions to create a harmonious balance in the environment for the organism to live in.
Components of Environment
The components of the environment are:
Biotic Components: It includes all biotic factors or living forms like plants, animals, and microorganisms.
Abiotic Components: It includes non-living factors like temperature, light, rainfall, soil, minerals, etc. It comprises the atmosphere, lithosphere, and hydrosphere.
The biotic components of the environment are the living organisms present in the ecosystem that includes plants, animals, and microorganisms (Bacteria and Fungi). These components can be classified into three main groups based on their roles in the ecosystem. These are as follows.
Producers like plants, algae, and bacteria take in energy from sunlight and use it to transform carbon dioxide and oxygen into sugars and energy. They form the base of the food web and are the largest group of living beings in the ecosystem.
They also establish an interrelationship with the abiotic components of the ecosystem by absorbing the inorganic carbon and nitrogen from the atmosphere.
Consumers like herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores in the ecosystem get their energy from consuming other organisms.
For example, Herbivores eat producers, carnivores eat other animals and omnivores eat both. Along with producers and decomposers, consumers are part of the food chain and food webs, where energy and nutrients are transferred from one level to another.
Decomposers like earthworms, dung beetles, and many species of fungi and bacteria break down waste material and dead organisms. They create a vital recycling task of returning nutrients integrated into dead organisms to the soil from where plants can take them up again.
The abiotic environment includes the components of an ecosystem that are non-living elements like water, air, temperature, rocks, and minerals that make up the soil. Abiotic components are mainly of two types and these are as follows.
Climatic Factors include rain, temperature, light, wind, humidity, etc. The climatic factors provide oxygen for respiration and carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. These factors process the entire water cycle between the atmosphere and the Earth’s surface.
Edaphic Factors including soil, pH, topography minerals, etc. provide nutrients, water, home, and a structural growing medium for organisms.
The environment constitutes everything from the air we breathe, the water we consume, to the ecosystem we live in. It is very necessary to keep our environment clean to have a healthy and prosperous life. All the components of the environment from biotic to abiotic are deeply affected by the condition of the environment. So there is no doubt that a clean environment is essential for a healthy ecosystem.
Why is a Clean Environment Necessary?
For a healthy and prosperous society and the nation as a whole, a clean and safe environment is very important. It is one of the basic requirements for the existence of life on Earth. The following are the reasons why a clean environment is important.
Any living organism including plants, animals, and humans cannot survive in the contaminated surroundings. All living species need a healthy and conducive environment for survival.
An unclean environment leads to an unbalanced ecosystem and various kinds of diseases.
The depletion of natural resources makes the existence of life very difficult.
Causes for Environmental Damage
The rapid growth of the human population is one of the major causes of environmental degradation.
Consumption of natural resources such as land, food, water, air, fossil fuels, and minerals.
Deforestation is another major factor that is making the entire ecosystem unhealthy.
Pollution of the environment like air pollution, water pollution, and soil pollution have an adverse effect on the entire ecosystem.
Problems like ozone depletion, global warming, greenhouse effect, change in climatic and weather conditions, melting of glaciers, etc. are some issues arising from environmental damage.
Measures to Keep Our Environment Clean and Healthy
More and more trees should be planted to balance the ecosystem and control greenhouse effects.
Use the principle of 3 R’s; Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle.
To keep our topography clean, usage of plastic bags must be stopped.
Control the growth of the population.
To maintain a healthy and balanced ecosystem, humans need to be responsible and cordial with the environment. We depend on the food chain or the food web that is created by the components of the environment. So taking care of our surroundings is the utmost priority for the existence of life on this planet.
Q1. What is the Environment?
Ans. The environment constitutes the entire ecosystem that includes plants, animals and microorganisms, sunlight, air, rain, temperature, humidity, and other climatic factors. It is basically the surroundings where we live. The environment regulates the life of all living beings on Earth.
Q2. What are the Three Kinds of Environments?
Biotic Environment: It includes all biotic factors or living forms like plants, animals, and microorganisms.
Abiotic Environment: It includes non-living factors like temperature, light, rainfall, soil, minerals, etc. It comprises the atmosphere, lithosphere, and hydrosphere.
Built Environment: It includes buildings, streets, houses, industries, etc.
Q3. What are the Major Factors that Lead to the Degradation of the Environment?
Ans. The factors that lead to the degradation of the environment are:
The rapid increase in the population.
Growth of industrialization and urbanization.
Deforestation is making the soil infertile (soil that provides nutrients and home to millions of organisms).
Over-consumption of natural resources.
Ozone depletion, global warming, and the greenhouse effect.
Q4. How Do We Save Our Environment?
Ans. We must save our environment by maintaining a balanced and healthy ecosystem. We should plant more trees. We should reduce our consumption and reuse and recycle stuff. We should check on the increase in population. We should scarcely use our natural and precious resources. Industries and factories should take precautionary measures before dumping their wastes into the water bodies.