Environment and Sustainable Development: Significance of Environment, Air pollution and Effects of Air Pollution

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We need many goods and services in order to satisfy our needs and wants. For this we use available resources to produce required goods and services. Those resources could be man-made and natural. But the process of production also causes many problems. Every activity (activities of all sectors) produces certain byproducts. Those byproducts may be harmful to environment or to the human beings. Let’s discuss problems of our environment.

Image of Environment And Sustainable Development

Image of Environment and Sustainable Development


Environment is everything that is around us. It consists of both living and non-living elements.

Image of Environment Cycle

Image of Environment Cycle


The interaction of living organisms with their non-living constituents is Ecosystem.

Biotic Components: Living elements are called biotic elements.

Ex: Birds, Animals, Plants, Humans etc.

Biotic components based on how they derive food from ecosystem

  • Producers – Prepare their food themselves. Ex: Plants and blue-green algae.

  • Consumers – Organisms which depend on producers directly or indirectly. Ex: Humans.

  • Decomposers – Organisms which feed on dead bodies of producers and consumers.

Abiotic Components: Non-living physical and chemical components in the environment.

Ex: Soil, Water, Air etc.

Significance of Environment

  • Resources provider: The Environment provides both renewable resources and non-renewable resources to man.

  • Renewable resources – It is a natural resource which can be renewed after usage and consumption, either through biological reproduction or naturally recurring processes. Example: Sun light, Wind, Water and biomass.

  • Non-renewable resources – Resources which are not renewed after usage and consumption. Example: Fossil fuels, coal and nuclear energy sources etc.

  • Absorber of wastes: The Environment absorbs harmful wastes and byproducts which are generated by the human being activities and clean them by various natural processes.

  • Sustain Lives: The environment sustains life by providing biodiversity. It maintains relationship between biotic and abiotic components.

  • It provides beautiful scenery and landscapes. Also, play an important role in man’s culture around the world.

Environment is giving more to us in terms of resources and beauty. But human being is over utilizing the resources for his benefit and creating imbalance. That leads to environmental problem. The quality of environment is going down year by year. This is because of human factor. That is called Pollution.


Pollution is the presence of undesirable substances in the environment which results undesirable change in physical, chemical or biological characteristics of environment.


  • It is a waste material or substance which causes pollution.

  • Interaction of man with environment creates many kinds of pollutions. Important pollutions are-

    • Air Pollution

    • Water Pollution

    • Noise pollution

    • Soil Pollution

Air Pollution

  • Contamination of air with harmful substances is called air pollution.

  • Major air pollutants: Sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide (which is also a major greenhouse gas), toxic metals, and particulate matter.

Causes of Air Pollution

Artificial Sources (caused by human beings)

  • Industrial and automobiles Emissions like CO2, NO2, CO etc.

  • Radio-active emissions.

  • Chemicals from pesticides and fertilizers.

Natural Sources

  • Volcanic activity

  • Dust from natural resources, from barren land

  • Smoke and particulate matter from wildfires

  • Emission of Methane by the digestion of food by animals

Effects of Air Pollution

  • Contaminated air affects respiratory system of human and other animals.

  • Decrease in crop yields and premature death of plants.

  • Contaminated air may cause even death.

Control Measures of Air Pollution

  • Filtration of industrial pollutants before being released into the atmosphere.

  • Maintenance of automobiles as per government norms

    • Usage of BS V and VI engines.

    • Use of lead-free petrol or diesel

    • Reduce Sulphur or aromatic content in petrol or diesel

    • Prefer CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) vehicles over petrol and diesel

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