Sunteți pe pagina 1din 148













The term Environment, which etymologically means surroundings, is

considered as a composite term for the conditions in which organisms live and thus
consists of air, water, food and sunlight which are the basic needs of all living beings
and plant life, to carry on their life functions. The environment also includes other
living things, temperature, wind, electricity etc. In other words, environment consists
of both biotic and abiotic substances. Environment creates favourable conditions for
the existence and development of living organisms.

Environment can be defined in a number of ways. For example,

1. "Environment is the sum of all social, economical, biological, physical or

chemical factors which constitute the surroundings of man, who is both
creator and moulder of his environment."
2. "Environment refers to the sum total of conditions which surround man at a
given point in space and time."
3. "Environment is the representative of physical components of the earth
wherein man is the important factor influencing his environment."
4. "Environment is a holistic view of the world as it functions at any time, with a
multitude of special elemental and socio-economic systems distinguished by
quality and attributes of space and mode of behaviour of biotic and abiotic

Environment is a fairly new movement in the world and it is given rather step
motherly treatment in third world countries like India.

According to K.P. Dikshit (1984), our immediate concern is the quality of

space we live in, the purity of air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink and
the resources we draw from our environment of support our economy. K.R. KIkshit
pleaded to include only air, water and land plants in the concept of environment and
excluded ma and his society from the ambit of environment.

However, environment is viewed with different angles by different

environmentalists. It may be concluded that environment consists of an inseparable
whole system constituted by physical, chemical, biological, social and cultural
elements which are interlinked individually and collectively in myriad ways.

Component of Environment:

Environment consists of the following three important components:

(1) Abiotic or Non-living Component

(2) Biotic or Living Component
(3) Energy Component

The abiotic or physical environment is sub-divided into three categories:

(1) Lithosphere (Solid Earth)

(2) Hydrosphere (Water Component)
(3) Atmosphere (Gaseous Envelops)

The biotic component of environment consists of flora and fauna, including man
as the important factor.

Abiotic and biotic components constitute together the Biome Environment.

The energy environment includes solar energy, geothermal energy, thermo-

electrical energy, hydro-electrical energy, nuclear atomic energy etc. Energy due to
radiation and other resources also play an important role to maintain the real life of

Conservation of Natural Resources

Conservation is the most efficient and most beneficial utilization of natural

resources and is one of the most significant applications of ecology. Conservation is
mainly concerned with the management of the natural resources of the earth, taking
into consideration their proper use, preservation and protection from destructive
influences and issue etc. Hence conservation may also be defined as the national
use of the environment to provide a high quality of living for the mankind.

There are three important objectives of conservation. These are -

(1) To maintain the essential ecological processes and the life support
systems which have air, water, land, flora and fauna as the important
elements. Al these elements of life support system are interconnected,
inter-related and inter-dependent, Hence deterioration of one will affect
the rest of the elements of life support system.
(2) To preserve biological diversity: Both genetic as well as ecological
diversity are included in biological diversity. The genetic diversity means
genetic variability among individuals of a single species and between the
species (i.e., enter specific genetic variability) Ecological diversity
indicates the specie's richness. For example, India is gifted by nature with
about 45,000 species of plants and more than 65,000 species.
(3) To ensure a sustainable utilization of species and eco-system: sustainable
utilization means proper and planned utilization of species and eco-
system: sustainable utilization means proper and planned utilization of
species and eco-system: sustainable utilization means proper and
planned utilization of natural resources so that a continuous yield of useful
plants, animals and minerals may be obtained.

Forest resources:

Forests play a very significant role in the Socio-economic development by

improving the quality of life by supplying pole, wood, fuel, fodder, medicine, timber,
pulped papers, plywood, oil, resin, rubber etc. Clearance for timber and overazing
now pose serious threats to some seasonal forest areas such as those in northern
India. Intensive management for wood productions is destroying the ecological
balance in other areas. Where forest has been removed, the remaining vegetation is
exposed to scorching drought during the dry season and most of the remaining
vegetation dies; rains erode the bare soils and flood the valleys, often with
devastating effects on local human and animal populations.


One-quarter of the medical drugs prescribed in the United States today are
derived from natural compounds, many of which are found only in tropical rain
forests. Two fifth of the world's original rain forest cover has been decimated, mostly
in the last fifty years. Half of all plant and animal species in the world live in the rain
forests. If deforestation continues unabated, the ecological riches of this unique
ecosystem will soon be lost forever.

The rain forest is also home to more kinds of plants and animals than any
other ecosystem on earth. Deforestation is taking a heavy toll on these life forms.
Within fifteen years, we may have killed off up to one-quarter of the entire world's
wildlife by destroying their habitats as well as through illegal wildlife trade.

The rain forests are disappearing because people are poor and greedy, not
because they are ignorant or stupid. Most attempts, to grow plants and animals in
the tropics have been geared to producing food for subsistence and commodities for
cash. Trees have been cut for foreign exchange.

In the world's drier tropical regions, deforestation can spur deserts to expand.
In fact, desertification commonly follows deforestation, because water runs off the
bare hills too quickly, carrying much of the topsoil with it. Thirty five million people in
Africa alone have been threatened by drought.

Conservation of Forests

It clearly indicates that Conservation is very important for the social and
economic development of a country. A well managed and properly stocked forest
reduces soil erosion and also mitigates floods which can otherwise do cause a great
damage to agriculture land in lower regions.

The important measures that can be taken for the conservation of forests are given

1. The trees, if cut down for timber other uses, should be matched with planting
of more trees, so that, there is no scarcity.
2. The use of fuel wood and wood charcoal should be discouraged. The
consumption of fuel wood, e.g., can be minimized by using conventional
sources of energy such as biogas plants and Chulhas for cooking purposes.
3. Since forests are very important for social and economic development of any
country, modern methods of forest management should be employed
4. The annual deforestation must be followed by annual reforestation of the
deforested areas. The rate of reforestation should be much greater than the
rate of deforestation, so that there is no scarcity.
5. The social forestry programme (1976) should be undertaken on a large scale.
Under this programme the waste lands are utilized to produce fire wood,
fodder and small timber for the use of agricultural implements. The
programme is very significant for rural people and consists in raisin, planting
and protecting trees for various purposes.
6. A forestation programme with emphasis on social and environmental forestry
also need to be undertaken on a big scale, with active participation of people,
who n view of their traditional respect for trees should be willing to co-operate.
7. The agro forestry programme should be encouraged. The agro-forestry
forestry is a programme in which land is utilized for farming, forestry and
animal husbandry.
8. The urban forestry programme, in which small gardens and house
compounds are well maintained by planting fruit trees and flowers, should be
9. Trees of aesthetic value should be plated along the roads.
10. Ornamental trees should be planted in the parks and other wastelands. These
will give a beautiful look to the town and mitigate the foul environment.
11. Regeneration, i.e., renewal of forest crop an tending i.e., carrying on
operations from time to time for the benefit of the growing forest crop should
also be adopted.

Mining and construction of multipurpose dams are two important activities

which should be mentioned in the context of deforestation. Most of the ore deposits
in out country are located in forests which are largely inhibited by tribal population.
Mining projects, therefore, cause deforestation on large scale and also the
displacement of tribal. In order two meet the social, economical and development
needs of the country, the extraction of industrially important metals can not be
stopped. It is, however, absolutely essential to make up the loss caused by
deforestation as a result of mining activity. It should simultaneously be accompanied
by action plans for biological restrictions.

In the construction of dams, the loss of fauna and flora and is location of
people is on a large scale, and damage to ecology more serious. If the expenditure
on deforestation and rehabilitation of uprooted people, apart from social, cultural and
environmental cost I the process, are taken into consideration, the construction of big
dams are perhaps not cost effective. It has been observed that large number of
smaller dams involving far less damage to the ecology and environment could even
better meet the requirements of development.

Taking these views in consideration two major hydro electric projects on
Narmada River and the Tehri Dam project in Garhwal Himalayas have been subject
to fierce controversy. Chipko movement of Tehri-Garhwal region, and the public
agitation against the construction of the hydroelectric project in silent valley are the
current examples of public awareness regarding deforestation. The ecologist and
environmentalist, backed by strong local sentiment, have been able to stall the
building of silent Valley Project in Kerala, the only tropical rain forest in our country
with a rich variety of rare plant life.

It should be noted that once the land is cleared and replanted, it is not the
original forest that grows again and may well destroy the original gene pool. It is
difficult to reclaim land for forest again. Clearing and burning is likely to release most
of the nutrients into poor tropical soils which are then leached out by warm tropical

The process of forest regeneration is very complex. Seedlings of hard woods

fond in forests often tolerate a narrow range of humidity and light conditions. Hence
they are difficult to grow in open areas. Under natural conditions a succession of
different species, starting with the colonize, provides this environment.

Seeds are most often spread by animals, sometimes by relatively few

species. Thus seed source has to be near the clearing. The dispense populations
are expected to withstand by animals breeding systems where male and female
flowers are on different plants. These plants require cross pollination between
individuals. Thus they are expected to grow in proximity, with the proper pollinators in
the area.

If tropical forest species are rare, then pollination and dispersal become more
difficult. This rarity is a natural consequence of diversity, since tropical forests are not
usually dominated by small number of species.

Trees may require specific symbiotic relationship with fungi (mycorrhizae).

There is a collection of ingeminated seeds in tropical soil, but it is not known how
long the seeds remain viable. The degree to which seeds can remain viable in
tropical soils varies room species to species. Further, conditions found in large
human generated clearings are often too stressful for soil to survive.

Fire resistant grasses and shrubs take hold after long periods of burning and
grazing such plants are capable of blocking forest regrowth.

Even when forests are managed, it has been observed that the original
composition of the forest is not maintained. This also complicates the problem of
reforestation. For example, in Nilgiris, grass lads are covered by Eucalyptus or silver
oak (wattle) and this is unfavourable for the animals of the area. In this context,
scared groves of Kerala are a boon because the biosphere is preserved in tact and
this is heartening to nature lovers.

Thus preservation of forests is even more important than conservation.

Protecting the Forests:

In most villages, the people are largely dependent on forests for their needs of
energy, fodder for animals and wood for industries and homes. They now have to
walk miles to forests to collect wood. Their relationship with the forests operates at
two levels-one through the maintenance by ecological balance and the second
through traditional practices. Specific trees or vegetation should be grown so that
appropriate needs for fertilizer, soil, water and energy can be met. Areas affected by
land slides and erosion or where forest areas are crucial for conservation of water
resources, should be identified and preserved.

The contractor system should be completely stopped in forest conservation,

development and exploitation, and instead people living in forest areas should be
organized to undertake al these activities. Trees which are of use to villagers should
be planted near the village so that village people do not need to go into the reserved
forest areas. Village industries should be setup, based on minor forest produce so
that the local population can get jobs and migration from villages to town can be

Rational management of forest is possible only through participation of local

population in protecting the forests and developing forest resources. There is an
urgent need to build a strong public opinion in favour of conservation of forests. An
education programme must be launched including all the factors necessary for
successful implementation of forest management plan

National Forest Policy:

In view of the importance of forests and with a view to protect them, a

National Forest Policy was announced by the Government of India in 1952. The
policy has recommended that the forests be steadily increased to 33% of the total
area i.e., 60% in the hills and 20% in the plains. Actually, good forest cover is only
11% and this too, is under heavy stress.

Aims of the Government forest Policy -- The basic aims of the policy are --
(i) Conservation of existing resources for safeguarding.
(ii) Development and enlargement of the tree cover and resource-base to
meet the basic needs of the people and the country.
(iii) To develop minor forest produce for providing sustenance for certain
communities living near forests.
To maintain the ecological balance, the Government of India sponsored the
Forest conservation Act of 1980, which embodies a decision of the National
Development Council. The Act lays down the no state government or any other
authority shall issue any order without the centre's approval to permit forest land or
reserve forest to be directed for non-forest purposes.

The Government's forest development programme lay emphasis on

productive forest forestation and social forestry. Productive forestry seeks to raise
man-made forest to meet the long term requirements of forest product and material
for wood-based industries in particular.

Conservation of water resources

Properly constructed water conservation programs provide an alternative to

increasing resource yields. In the following sections conservation possibilities for
urban household and commercial; system use, industrial and agriculture use and
effect of pricing possibilities in conservation are discussed.

Urban water conservation

Approximately 50% of urban water is for interior use the below table shows some
structural opportunities for water savings and their percentage reduction. This means
for reducing residential waste of water are also appropriate for the commercial and
government sector. Other potential areas of saving are optimal lawn water programs
and leak detection programs.

Potential residential interior water savings

Feature water savings % of interior use

New construction

Low –flush toilets 18

Low-flow water sheds 12
Low-flow kitchen and lavatory faucets 2
Pressure reducing valves 5
Insulated hot water lines 4
Low water using clothes washers 5
Low water using dish washers 4

Existing housing

Plastic bottles 18
Replace showerheads with low flow 12
Place low flow aerators on kitchen and lavatory 2
Pressure reducing valves 5
Insulated hot water lines 1

Industrial water savings

In the industrial sector, savings are most possible through recycling of water
.this already has received a great amount of attention by some industries in their
effort to control waste discharges to avoid penalties for contributing to water
pollution .industry, particularly, has benefited from water pricing systems which favor
large water users .Reservoirs of these systems would encourage additional efforts to
reduce freshwater intake.

Agricultural water conservation

Depending on the circumstances in each case .agriculture irrigation efficiency

may be increased by changing to sprinkler or drip systems, improving operation of
existing systems (including better irrigation schedule) and improving other aspects of
farm management .irrigation water use may be reduced by selecting low water using
crops and in some cases ,by action to reduce plant consumptive use .water districts
can save water by lining ditches and canals and assisting farmers in becoming more
efficient by following more effective water delivery schedules. The opportunity for
water savings in an area depends on how much outflow is needed to maintain salt
balance and the disposition of the excess applied water .i.e., whether it is reused or
disposed of into bodies of saline surface or ground water.

Energy Resources


The environmental impacts of energy conservation and consumption are far-

reaching, affecting air and water as well as land quality and public health.
Combustion of coal, oil, and natural gas is responsible foe air pollution in urban
areas, acid rain that is damaging lakes and forest, and some of the nitrogen pollution
that is harming estuaries.

Energy consumption also appears to be the primary man made contribution to

global warming ,often referred to as the greenhouse effect .the environmental
protection agency has concluded that energy use –through the formation of carbon
dioxide during combustion process –has contributed approximately 50% to the
global warming that has occurred in the last 10 years .although the scientific
community is not unanimous in regard to the causes of global warming ,most
individuals and groups have indicted that a reasonable chance of climate change
exists and have already begun to define the potential implications of such
changes ,many of which are catastrophic .in light of this situation ,the alliance to
save energy has challenged congress to pass meaningful legislation to promote and
achieve energy efficiency. Environmental conservation in this area can best be
achieved through energy conservation and increased energy efficiency. (In
combustion, transmission, distribution).

At present, most of the energy consumed by humans is produced from fossil

fuels. Estimates of the amounts of fossil fuels available differ. Estimates of the
quantities of recoverable fossil fuels in the world before 1800 are given in figure. By
far the greatest recoverable fossil fuel is in the form of coal and lignite. Furthermore,
only a small percentage of this energy source has been utilized to date, whereas
much of the recoverable petroleum and natural gas has already been consumed.
Projected use of these latter resources indicates rapid depletion.

Although world coal resources are enormous and potentially can fill energy
needs for a century or two, their utilization is limited by environmental disruption from
mining and emissions of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide. These would become
intolerable long before coal resources were exhausted. Assuming only uranium-225
as a fission fuel source, total recoverable reserves of nuclear fuel are roughly about
the same as fossil fuel reserves. These are many orders of magnitude higher if the
use of breeder reactors is assumed. Extraction of only 2% of the deuterium present
in the Earth's oceans would yield about a billion times as much energy by controlled
nuclear fusion as was originally present in fossil fuels! This prospect is tempered by
the lack of success in developing a controlled nuclear fusion reactor. Geothermal
power, currently utilized in northern California, Italy, and New Zealand, has the
potential for providing a high percentage of energy worldwide. The same limited
potential is characteristic of several renewable energy resources, including
hydroelectric is characteristic of several renewable energy resources, including
hydroelectric energy, tidal energy, and wind power. All of these will continue to
contribute significant, but relatively small, amounts of energy. Renewable,
nonpolluting solar energy comes as close to being as ideal energy resource as any
available. It almost certainly has bright future.


Any consideration of energy needs and production must take energy

conservation into consideration. This does not have to mean cold classrooms with
thermostats set at 60 degree Fin mid winter, nor swelteringly hot homes with no air-
conditioning, nor total reliance on the bicycle for transportation, although these, and
even more severe, conditions are routine in many countries. The fact remains that
the United States has wasted energy at a deplorable rate. For example, U.S. energy
consumption is higher per capita than that of some other countries that have equal,
or significantly better, living standards. Obviously, a great deal of potential exists for
energy conservation that will ease the energy problem.

Transportation is the economic sector with the greatest potential for increased
efficiencies. The private auto and airplane are only about one-third as efficient as
buses or trains for transportation. Transportation of freight by truck requires about
3800 Btu/ton-mile for a train. It is terribly inefficient compared to rail transport(s well
as dangerous, labor-intensive, and environmentally disruptive). Major shifts in
current modes of transportation in the U.S. will not come with out anguish, but
energy conservation dictates that they be made.

Household and commercial uses of energy are relatively efficient. Here again,
appreciable savings can be made. The all-electric home requires much more energy
than a home heated with fossil fuels. The sprawling ranch-house style home uses
much more energy per person than does an apartment unit or row house. Improved
insulation, sealing around the windows and other measures can conserve a great
deal of energy. Electric generating plants centrally located in cities can provide waste
heat for commercial and residential heating and cooling and, with proper pollution
control equipment, can use refuse for a significant fraction of fuel.

As scientists and engineers undertake the crucial task of developing
alternative energy sources to replace dwindling petroleum and natural gas supplies,
energy conservation must receive proper emphasis. Infact, zero energy-use growth,
at least On a per capita basis, is a worthwhile and achievable goal. Such a policy
would go a long way toward solving many environmental problems. With ingenuity,
planning, and proper management, it could be achieved while increasing the
standard of living and quality of life.

There is a significant movement to change patterns of energy consumption

through the measures such as conservation, increased efficiency and cogeneration.

Conservation of energy refers to a moderation of energy use, simply getting

by with less demand for energy .in pragmatic sense this has to do with adjusting our
energy needs and uses to minimize the amount of high quality energy necessary to
accomplish a given task. Efficiency improvements involve designing equipment to
yield more energy output from a given amount of input energy. Cogeneration refers
to a number of processes designed to capture and use waste heat rather than simply
release it into the atmosphere or water as thermal pollution. Energy conservation is
particularly attractive because it provides more than a one to one savings.
Remember that it take 3 units of fuel such as coal to produce 1 unit of power such as
electricity (two-thirds is waste heat) therefore, not using 1 unit of power saves 3 units
of fuel.

It is not as if energy conservation is needed only in the use of oil. The

cheapest form of alternative energy is energy saved. More attention will therefore
have to be paid to the efficiency of energy generation and energy utilisation. It is well
known that the proportion or energy consumed in the production and distribution of
electricity is abnormally high in our power system. While the transmission distribution
losses in a country like India with a low load density are bound to be higher than in
the highly industrialised countries where the loads are more concentrated, it should
be possible to bring down the tosses well below the current level of twenty per cent.
There can also be no question that improvement in the capacity utilisation of existing
generation equipment can be more cost effective than addition of new capacity.
While it is true that power system load factors in India are already quite high, there is
still some scope for increasing them through demand management.
The industrial sector, which consumes the largest proportion of commercial
energy, must pay special, attention to energy conservation. In many industries in
India, the energy consumption per unit of output is distinctly higher than in other
countries. it is possible that uneconomic unit size and obsolete technology contribute
to higher energy consumption in some industries. Besides, low price of power and
sheltered markets have fostered a climate in which the need for energy economy is
not sufficiently appreciated. Measures have to be initiated for drawing up energy
consumption norms for various kinds of fuel using equipment. Training programmes
would have to be launched on a wide scale for the operating personnel in order to
inculcate procedures and methods of achieving energy economy. For the small scale

sector, assistance would have to be rendered to improve their designs and by
providing test facilities. In evaluating new technologies, energy efficiency would

hereafter have to be treated as one of the criteria. Simultaneously with offer of

incentives for capital investment needed for achieving higher energy efficiency and
the desired inter-fuel substitution, one should begin to move towards a package of
regulatory measures for energy audit with a view to penalise wasteful energy use.
Combined generation of electricity and process heat or `co- generation' has to
be encouraged in Al industries where it is technically feasible as this optimises
energy utilisation, This is already being practiced for instance, in the sugar industry,
but there is scope in several other industries such as fertilizer, paper, etc. While in
new industries facilities for co-generation should be insisted upon wherever it is
appropriate, the grant of incentives for the capital investment which may be needed
for installing such facilities in existing industries needs to be examined.
The scope for energy conservation is not confined only to the industrial sector.
Earlier, we have seen how savings in the use of oil could be achieved in the
transport and domestic sectors. Such possibilities exist even in the agricultural
sector; studies of electric pump sets indicate that even though the design efficiencies
of the pumps and the motor are not unsatisfactory, mis-match between their capacity
(i.e. of the pump and the motor) and wrong choice of suction and delivery pipes
among others, result in low overall efficiency of the pump set installations on the
ground. Here again, mechanisms would have to be developed to provide technical
guidance to farmers and to ensure proper choice of equipment

Mineral Resources


Resource can be defined as anything that is necessary or useful for human

needs the form of matter and energy, tending to improve people's life. Natural
resources which furnish materials, constitute the base of our material wealth .natural
resources can be broadly classified into biological and non-biological .resources may
be renewable or non renewable.

The renewable resources include plant and animals and these are often
referred to as the bio-resources or living resources; for example, plant resources,
wild resources, fishery resources, agricultural and forestry resources, medicinal
plants etc. renewable resources are crucial to an enduring human civilization. The
nonrenewable resources of the earth's crust include elements like copper,
aluminium, iron, and deposits of nonmetallic minerals out of phosphate rock from
which fertilizers are extracted the nonrenewable resources also include the fossil
fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas. Nonrenewable resources consist of geochemical
concentrations of naturally occurring elements and compounds that may be exploited

Mining and processing of minerals /ores involve major environmental
concerns, including disturbance of land, air pollution from dust and smelter emission,
and water pollution from disturbed aquifers.

The rate of depletion of resources is measured by two parameters --per

capita mining and per capita consumption. Per capita mining is calculated by
dividing the amount of resource mined by the population .per capita consumption is
obtained by dividing the amount of resource actually processed by the population. It
is a better index of the standard of living of the population. per capita mining
indicates that five minerals are mined to the maximum extent --coal,petroleum,iron
ore, aluminium and phosphate rock, however the demand for these resources is not
equitably used over the entire population .the major non-metal resource includes
asbestos ,carbonates,C12,granite,O2,phosphate,potash,sand and gravel, Na
compounds and H2O.the fertilizers, phosphate and potash have low depletion rates.
this is because large deposits ,both of phosphate rock ,occurring as Ca 3(Po4)2 and
KCL are widely available through out the world.C 12,NaCL and Mg are the major
representatives of the group of resources with a bulk reserve -the oceans .asbestos,
the carbonates, sand and gravel together with granite ,constitute the common and
the most widely used building materials.

Most mining processes cause significant pollution of land, water, and air. for
example ,sulphur is found in large quantities in many ore deposits .the sulphur
bound farms such as metallic sulphides,react with water in the presence of air to
produce sulphuric acid(H2SO4)which runs off into the streams below the mines. This
pollution, known as acid mine drainage, kills fish and disrupts normal aquatic life
cycles. When sulphur accompanies other chemicals through manufacturing process,
it is often converted to gaseous air pollutants such as hydrogen sulphide and sulphur
dioxide. the pollution can be controlled with highly specialized pollution abatement

Mineral resource conservation:


India is a leading producer of iron ore, bauxite, coal, lignite, aluminum,
chromite, manganese ore, barites, titanium and soap stone in the world. The country
is also an emerging world player in industrial minerals. It is the largest producer of
sheet mica in the world and accounts for 60% of the global mica trade. Mica deposits
are mainly found in Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan. Coal is India’s largest
mineral resource and it is the third largest producer of coal. Total estimated reserves
are 211.59 billion tonnes. Lignite is mainly found in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and
Rajasthan and total reserves are about 27.45 billion tonnes. Total recoverable
reserves of hematite are about 10052 million tonnes and magnetite 3408 million
tonnes. The country also has resources of copper, chromite, lead-zinc, mange nese,
nickel and many other minerals.

Ore Deposits and Minerals

Metals exist all around us throughout the environment. An ore is considered to

be a rock mixture that contains enough valuable minerals to be mined profitably with
currently available technology. Table gives a comparison of specific minerals in
earth's crust. The mineral reserves of a region are defined as the estimated supply of
ore in the ground. Reserves are depleted when tey are dug up.
Various kinds of ores are required to supply human beings' needs for new minerals
and raw materials.

Elements Natural Concentration in Concentration Required

Crust (0% by weight) to operate a commercial
Mine (%by weight)
Aluminium 8 24 - 32
Iron 5.8 40
Copper 0.0058 0.46 - 0.58
Nickel 0.0072 1.08
Zinck 0.0082 0.19
Uranium 0.0016 0.19
Lead 0.00010 0.2
Gold 0.0000002 0.0008
Mercury 0.000002 0.2

What is so special about metals? Could our technological society operate

without them? Metals have three properties that make them valuable: (1) they are
strong, (2) they can be melted and cast into any shape that a mold can provide, and
(3) they conduct electricity very well. In recent years, scientists have developed a
variety of new materials that can replace metals for variety of uses. However, many
of these exotic substances are quite expensive. Thus, in the near future, any way the
society needs metals. Table: gives the sources, uses and environmental problems of
some important metals.

How long will our mineral reserves last? Of curse some minerals are more
abundant than others. However, future availability depends, in part; on the geology of
the, mineral in question, as well as on is abundance. Once the richest deposits of
some ore bodies and the total quantity of ore available.

Table: Sources, Uses, and Environmental Problems of Some

Important Metals

Metal Properties and Uses Sources and Reserves Environmental
Iron (Fe) Major metal for all structures Hematite (Fe2O3) and A magnetite A ir water, and land
and machinery. Demand for (Fe2O4). The highest-grade pollution occur both
iron is several fold higher than hematite ores ae largely at the mine and in
that for all other metals exhausted. Magnetite is fond in the chemical
combined. Higher than that for taconite rock; reserves are still production of iron
all other metals combined. vast, and extraction technology from the ore.
has improved. Current sources Taconite deposits
are more than sufficient through also contain
the year 2100, and lowgrade ores asbestos.
should last centuries more.
Aluminium Aluminium is the second most Bauxite, is an impure form of Much electrical
(Al) widely used metal. It is only Al2O3. Reserves are inexhaustible energy is used in
one third as dense as iron, for centuries to come. production (about
resists corrosion, and is a 67,000 kWh/tonne of
good electrical conductor. It is Al). Also, some
used in aircraft, wires, fluorine-containing
automobiles, beverage cans, gases and dusts are
and many structural produced in
applications. manufacture.
Copper Excellent conductor of heat Elemental copper, mined since Acid mine drainage.
(Cu) and electricity. Used for ancient times, is largely Smetlers that
electric wire, water and steam exhausted. Major sources are process the
pipes, and cooking utensils. now copper sulphides (CuS and sulphides produce
Cu2S). Convensional resources large amounts of
are expected to be exhausted in SO2.
60 to 70 years, but lower grade
reserves are expected to last until
Lead (Pb) Soft, dense metal that is fairly Major source is galena (PbS). Acid mine drainage.
resistant to corrosion and has Reserves are concentrated but SO2 is produced in
a fairly low melting point not abundant. Low-grade ores will lead smelters. Lead
(3270C). It is used for pipes, extend lead reserves until the compounds are
solder, electrodes in batteries, year 2100. cumulative poisons.
and pigments in paint. Its use
as an antiknock agent in
gasoline is declining.
Gallium Used in solar cells to convert Found as an impurity in ores of No special problems
(Ga) solar energy to electricity. It the zinc and aluminium but in small
solar energy programme amounts. As long as Aluminium is
expands, Ga reserves will be mined in quanitity, Ga will be
critical. available.
Mercury The only metal that is liquid at Sometimes occurs as the native Mercury compounds
(Hg) ordinary terrestrial element in small amounts, but the are toxic.
temperatures. Used in electric important ore is cinnabar (HgS).
switches in thermometers, and Reserves are very limited. If
medical applications. current rates of use continue,
demand for Hg will be eight times
the available supply by the year
Platinum Unsurpassed as a catalyst for Occurs as the native element in No special problems
oxidation reactions for which it widely scattered ores. Current
is used in catalytic converters reserves are abundant but are
to reduce pollution from concentrated in areas such as
automobile exhaust. Pt is also Zimbawe and South Africa.
used as a catalyst in industry.

Land Resources

Soil conservation resources

Because of adverse effects of accelerated erosion a whole array of

techniques has now been widely adopted to conserve soil resources.

1. Vegetation
a. deliberate planting
b. suppression of fire, grazing, etc., to allow regeneration

2. Measures to stop stream bank erosion

3. Measures to stop gully enlargement

a. planting of trailing plants, etc
b.weirs, dams, gabions, etc.

4. Crop management
a. maintaining cover at critical times of year
c. cover crops.

5. Slope runoff control

a. terracing
b. deep tillage and application of humus
c. contour ploughing
d. preservation of vegetation strips

6. Preservation of erosion from point sources like roads, feedlots

a. Intelligent geomorphic location
b. Channeling of drainage water to non-susceptible areas
c. Covering of banks, cuttings, etc., with vegetation.

7. Suppression of wind erosion

a. Soil moist preservation
b. Increase in surface roughness through ploughing up clods or by planting


Ecology is a branch of biological science that is concerned with the

relationships and interactions between living organisms and their physical
surroundings or environment. With which they exchange materials and energy
together make up an ecosystem, which is the basic unit of ecology. An ecosystem
includes biotic components- the living plants and animals --and abiotic component of
most natural ecosystems in energy, usually in the form of sunlight.

Familiar examples of land-based or terrestrial ecosystems include forest,

desert, jungles, and meadows. Water-based or aquatic ecosystems include streams,
rivers, lakes, masses, and estuaries. There is no specific limitation on the size or
boundaries of an ecosystem. A small and can be studied as a separate ecosystem,
as can a desert comprising hundreds of square kilometers. Even the entire surface
of Earth can be viewed as an ecosystem; the term biosphere is often used in this
context Subtraction.

If Earth is imagine to be about the size of an apple, then the layer of air
surrounding it would not be envelope of air and the shallow crust of land and water
just beneath it provide the abiotic components that support life in the biosphere. It is
a closed ecosystem because there is essentially no transfer of material into or out of
it. Only the constant flow of energy from the sun provides power to sustain the life
cycles within the biosphere. Nutrients are continually recycled and reused.

The biosphere seems so big that it is sometimes difficult to believe that

humans can affect or disrupt its natural balances. But global problems related to
environmental pollution, such as acid rain, the ozone hole, and the greenhouse
effect, are significant and must be controlled before irreversible environmental
changes occur. These and other pollution problems discussed later in this course.

In addition to natural ecosystems, such as lakes or forests, several types of

artificial ecosystems are of particular importance in environmental technology. For
example, one of the most common methods of wastewater treatment is based on a
biological system called the activated sludge process. This is an engineered
ecosystem comprising a steel or concrete tank, a suspended population of
microorganisms in wastewater, and a constant input of air. The microbes are the
biotic component; the tank, wastewater, and air are the abiotic components. The
system removes organic pollutants from the wastewater. This method discussed in
more detail in your future courses.

Eco System and Energy Flow

Over the past several years, scientists' understanding of the complexities of

the earth system has evolved to the point where they now recognize that the
compounds of the system- the atmosphere, oceans, land and associated living
beings including humans are inextricably intertwined. A change in one part of the
earth system has repercussions for other parts- often in ways that are neither
obvious nor immediately apparent. An understanding of the structure and function of
environment will make this clear.

Structure and function of eco system:

i). Structure refers to the various components of the environment and their
arrangement, organization, distribution in space and time.

ii). the amount and distribution of no-living materials, such as essential minerals,
water sediment, soil .

iii). the variety or range of conditions or factors that the ecosystem is exposed to
such as light, temperature, humidity, wind, rainfall etc.

Function of an ecosystem denotes:

I, the pattern of energy flow and its rate i.e., the production and respiration rates of
the community,

ii, rate of cycling of nutrient .

iii, internal regulation mechanism of the system by the organisms.

The structure of an ecosystem can be divided into two basic components such as
abiotic and biotic.

The essential abiotic components are

I, energy
ii, materials
iii, inorganic elements
iv, organic compounds
v, climate
vi, soil

The essential biotic components are

I, producers,
ii, consumers
iii, decomposers.

Function refers to the rate of biological energy flow, the rate of materials or
nutrient cycles and other regulatory features.

Our environment consists of both living and non-living systems. The two
systems are not only interconnected but are interrelated and interact with one
another. Due to this interaction, there is a flow of energy ad exchange of materials
between the two systems, thus establishing a relationship and tropic levels.

Both living and non-living members influence each other in form, function and
property which is necessary to maintain life. The composition of the living and the
non-living systems are the building blocks of an ecosystem. Each has its own
properties that determine its role in an ecosystem. The interactions among the
components of ecosystems are often quite delicate and subtle so tat it is never
possible to predict how a single event or change will affect the entire system. There
are varieties of systems that constitute our environment. These systems doffer in
structure and function, yet all of them share some similarities.

Any unit in which there is interaction between organisms and their physic-
chemical environment is called an ecosystem. Ecosystem is a dynamic system
where the biotic and abiotic components are constantly acting and reacting upon
each other bringing forth structural and functional changes.

In ecosystems, we study living beings and their relationship with their

environment rather than just looking at individual types. We also look at the
processes involved in maintaining these relationships. It is important to note that no
single environmental system acts independently because each uses energy from
outside its own system and each exchanges some raw materials with other systems.
There are some inputs, some outputs and some storage in every ecosystem.

Ecosystems often have geographically defined areas with unique

characteristics. Ecosystems are not only functional units of nature but are dynamic
entities also, where the dynamics of flow of energy and materials within a given
geological environment is profoundly fundamental to the stability of an ecosystem.
Let us take an example from a freshwater system. Fish in a river or lake produces
organic waste that settles down to the bottom. The waste acts as food for bacteria.
The bacteria act as decomposers of dead organic matter and release inorganic
products. These inorganic products are used as food y algae. The algae are eaten
by fish. This is an example on an interrelationship within an ecosystem in the course
of which flow of energy and exchange of materials take place. Ecosystems may
differ from one another, in size, location, climatic pattern and the types of plants and
animal that live.

A.G. Tansley (1891-1955), a renowned British ecologist, first proposed the

term ecosystem in the year 1935 and defined I as the system resulting from the
integration of all the organisms, in a given area, interacting with its physical

environment and initiating a flow of energy leading to a trophic structure and material
exchange within the system.

Clark (1959) defined ecology as the 'totality of reciprocal interaction between

living organisms and their physical surroundings' Curtis (1975) defined it as the
'interaction of organisms with their physical environment and with each other'.
Southwick (1976) defined it as the 'scientific study of the relationship of living
organisms with each other and with their environment'.

Interaction within the living organisms and among the living and the non-living
components has been regarded as an extremely valuable facet of relationship
making the ecosystem a basic unit of ecological studies.

Abiotic component includes the amount of inorganic substances such as P, S,

C, N, and H etc., which are involved in material (nutrient) cycles. They contribute to
the building up on inorganic chemicals and also organic materials. Biotic component
includes all the living organisms from the smallest and simple virus to advanced
human beings. From the nutritional point of view biotic component can be divided
into autotrophic component and heterotrophic component.

In autotrophic component there is fixation of light energy, also there is use of

simple inorganic substances and build up of complex substances, Green plants and
bacteria belong to this. Members of autotrophic component are known as producers.

In the heterotrophic component there is utilization, rearrangement and

decomposition of complex materials. The organisms involved are known as
consumers and they consume the mater built up by the producers. Depending on
what is consumed the heterotrophy are divided into decomposers, herbivores and

For example, autotrophic plants obtain a number of inorganic nutrients from

the environment, e.g., carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, iron, Zinc, magnesium
etc. These nutrient become part and parcel of the organic matter of the plant. From
plants, these nutrients are passed on to other living organisms of the ecosystem.
When the living organisms die, the nutrients and ultimately released to the
environment again with the help of decomposers. Thus nutrient cycling occurs in the

Principles of Ecosystem

Ecology is a vast and encyclopedic subject. It can be confusing and

discouraging at the outset because it seems so diffuse. After all, it includes the life
habits of over a million different kinds of animals and plants, and it considers all
manner of influences and interactions among them. Thus ecology must include not
only the life sciences, but chemistry, geology, geography, meteorology, climatology,
hydrology, paleontology, archaeology, anthropology and sociology as well. In fact, so
extensive is the scope of ecology that it seems to have no limits at al, and ecologists
could possibly claim dominion over al of the natural and social sciences.

Definitions of Essential Terms

Fortunately, the innumerable facts of ecology can be distilled into some

remarkably basic and simple principles. The logical starting place is the ecosystem.
An ecosystem is any spatial or organizational unit which includes living organization
and nonliving substances interacting to produce an exchange of materials between
the living and nonliving parts.

The term ecosystem is more inclusive than the terms population and
community, and is somewhat more similar in scope to the terms environment and
habitat. For the benefit of understanding and clarity, definitions of these terms
should be dept in mind.

A population is a group of interacting individuals, usually of the same species

in a definable space. Thus we can speak of the population of deer on a island, the
population of rats in Baltimore, the population of starlings in New York City, the
population of Coho salmon in Lake Michigan, etc.

A community, in the biologic sense, consists of the populations of plants and

animals living together in a given place. Thus, we refer to the community of an oak
forest, a marsh, a grassland, a coral reef, or a desert. The terms environment and
habitat refer to a definable place where an organism lives, including both the
physical and biologic features of the place. Environment literally means "to surround"
(from the French verb environner), and it therefore means surroundings or
something that surrounds. It includes "all the conditions, circumstances, and
influences surrounding, and affecting…….an organism or group of organism."
(Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary, 1966.

A habitat is the natural abode or locality of an animal, plant or person (from
the Latin, habitare, to dwell) Thus it also includes all features of the environment in a
given locality. Frequently, the terms habitat and environment are used primarily for
physical features such as topography, water supplies and climate, but the terms are
not confined to physical features, for vegetation and other animals also form major
components of any given habitat or environment.

An ecosystem includes populations, communities, habitats and environment,

focusing particularly on the exchange of materials between the living and nonliving

Components of the Ecosystem

It is helpful to visualize ecosystems as consisting of four basic components:

abiotic substances, producer organisms.

Abiotic Substances

Abiotic substances are the inorganic and organic substances not momentarily
present in living organisms. These include water, carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen
minerals salts, acids, bases and the entire range of elements and compounds
outside living organisms at any given point in time. Many elements may be tightly
bound in inorganic compounds, such as silicon in sandstone or aluminum in feldspar,
and are unavailable to living organism. Elements which are normally very active in
biological processes, such as oxygen, may be in a form readily available to living
organisms such as free O2 or CO2, or they may be in an inaccessible form such as
silicon dioxide (SiO2) in quartz, a major component of granite.

Similarly potassium may be readily available to plants in the form of KCL in

soil, nit relatively unavailable in the form of KAISi 3 in orthoclase or monoclinic
feldspar, one of the commonest of all minerals.

An important property of an ecosystem which determines its productivity is the

form and composition in which bioactive elements and compounds occur. For
example, an ecosystem may have a substantial abundance of vital nutrients, such as
nitrates and phosphates, but if they are present in relatively insoluble particulate form
as they would be if linked to ferric ions, they would not be so readily available o
plants as if they wee in the soluble form of potassium or calcium nitrate and
phosphate. One of the most important qualities of an ecosystem is the rate of
release of nutrients from solids, for this regulates the rate of function of the entire


Producer Organism

Producer organisms are bacteria and plants which synthesize organic

compounds. They are said to be autotrophic or self-productive, in that they take
inorganic compounds and manufacture organic materials and living protoplasm from
them. All green plants, including microscopic algae, are producer organisms since
they exhibit photosynthesis. Obviously, all life depends upon the basic productive
capacity of green plants and bacteria.

Consumer Organisms

Consumer organisms are animals which utilize the organic materials directly
or indirectly manufactured by plants. Consumers are unable to produce their own
organic compounds for basic nutritive purposes. They are said to be heterotrophic,
which means different or varied in nutritional which means different or varied in
nutritional source. Primary consumers or herbivores directly consume the organic
compounds of plants. Secondary consumers may be omnivores or carnivores which
depend partially or entirely on other animals for food. Tertiary and quartenary
consumers may be the second or third-stage predator, for example, a hawk feeding
on a weasel which in turn consumed a mouse.

Decomposer Organisms

Decomposer organisms are bacteria and fungi which degrade organic

compounds. Their nutrition is said to be saprophytic, that is, associated with rotten
and decaying organic material. In a sense they are the digestive organisms of an
ecosystem- they reduce the complex organic molecules of dead plants and animals
to simpler organic compounds which can be absorbed by green plants as vital
nutrients. They provide the final essential link in the cycle of life. They are
necessary for the renewal of life, for if decomposers were not active, organic
compounds would become locked into complex insoluble molecules which could not
be utilized as nutrients by plants.
Ecosystems involve, of course, a wide variety of life forms not specifically mentioned
in the preceding paragraphs, but virtually all components of an ecosystem can be
classified into producers, consumers, or decomposers. For example, parasites are
merely specialized consumers. Plant parasites feed directly on plants and are thus
herbivores; animal parasites derive their nutrition from other animals, and are thus
carnivores differing from predators only in the fact that they normally do not kill the
host. Scavengers such as vultures are also carnivores, differing from predators by
the fact that they feed on an animal after it has died from some other cause.

Incomplete Ecosystems

Almost all ecosystems have all four basic components discussed above,
though in some cases it is possible for incomplete ecosystems to exist. These are
ecosystems lacking one or more basic components.

An example of an incomplete ecosystem lacking producers is the abyssal

depth of the sea where only consumers and decomposers exist. In the realm of
complete darkness green plants cannot survive. Scavengers and decomposers live
on the fall-out of animals, plants and organic matter from the upper layers of the
ocean. Predators might also be present to feed upon the scavengers. Hence, the
ecosystem depends on extrinsic production, namely, the fall-out from upper levels. It
might be possible, of course, for a few chemosynthetic bacteria to be present, but
they would not produce a significant volume of organic material.

The same situation exists in caves where complete darkness prevents the
growth of green plants. Again, a few chemosynthetic bacteria might be present, but
they would not produce a significant amount of organic material. Practically all cave-
dwelling-animals must depart from the cave, as do bats, or depend on extrinsically
produced nutrients which enter the cave by flowing water or seepage.

The central core of the city might also be considered an incomplete

ecosystem without producers, at least from the human standpoint. Some green
plants obviously exist, but they would not supply meaningful production for humans

and vertebrate animals living within the inner city, such as rats pigeons, starlings,
sparrows, dogs, cats, etc. For all of these, the inner city requires extrinsic production
and imported food. The only other alternative is for the inhabitants to leave the inner
city and feed in peripheral areas. This undoubtedly occurs with starlings and
pigeons, creating an ecological situation analogous to bats in a cave. The lack of
production in an inner city is not due to a lack of light, but to a lack of soil and
suitable substrate.
In other ways, cities may be considered incomplete ecosystems, ecologically
parasite upon the surrounding landscape. Not only do they import food, but they
must also import fresh air and water. At the same time, they must export waste
products sewage, solid waste, carbon dioxide sulfur dioxide, etc. If cities were
encapsulated from their surrounding environments they would soon perish from
thirst, starvation, asphyxiation, or the accumulation of waste products. In exchange
for this life support, cities of course, provide a great many economic and cultural
benefits jobs, housing transportation, manufacturing, education, etc. So the
relationship between city and landscape is vital in both directions, but it is particularly
important to remember, as cities expand, that they cannot sustain themselves.

Incomplete ecosystems also exist in specialized cases where producers and

decomposers are present without consumers. A theoretical example would be a
massive bloom of some toxic algae in an aquatic ecosystem, where the algae would
create toxic conditions for zooplankton and fish and all other possible consumers.
Then a process of excessive production and massive decomposition would go hand
in hand. This would be a highly unstable and undesirable circumstance, but it has
been known to occur, as, for example, in the red tides of Florida.

A third type of incomplete ecosystem might even be called an abiotic

ecosystem, that is, one without living organisms, a self-contradiction in terms. They
should more properly be called abiotic environments. Apollo space flights have
shown so far that the moon is abiotic. Local areas on earth may be abiotic, for
example, the high altitude ice plateau of Antarctica is probably devoid of living
organisms over rather extensive areas. Closer home for most of us, the Copperhill
basin of Tennessee is an area devoid of life, were fumes from copper few bacteria
exist in very limited places, but for all practical purposes no plants or animals can




The most important chemical formulation in the world can be shown in

simplified form as follows:

6 CO2 + 6H2O + light energy + enzymes of chlorophyII → C6H12O6+ 6O2

This is the photosynthetic equation which indicates that green plants can
combine carbon dioxide with water and, using the energy of sunlight and the enzyme
systems of chlorophyII, can ultimately produce sugar (C 6H12O6) and oxygen. This is
the mainspring of life; it represents the basic productive capability of all ecosystems
containing green plants; it is the means by which light energy is converted into the
chemical energy of organic compounds.

This organic synthesis is not accomplished simply and in one step. It involves
an elaborate series of chemical reactions, with innumerable enzymatic activities and
many complex intermediate compounds. These reactions have been the subject of
great amounts of research and numerous scientific papers. The fundamental
pathways of carbon were worked out by Melvin calvin and his colleagues using
radioactively labeled C14 in carbon dioxide as a tracer. For this work Calvin received
the Nobel prize in chemistry in 1961.

It is beyond the scope of this book to discuss in detail the chemistry of

photosynthesis. Nonetheless, a brief consideration of its major steps will elucidate
certain ecologic principles.

Photosynthesis first involves the photolytic cleavage of water in which light

energy absorbed by chlorophyll provides the energy for the initial separation of
water. This is named the light reaction, and it requires some oxidant such as ferric
ions. A brief representation of this stage is:

4Fe+++ + 2H2O → 4Fe++ + 4H+ + O2

This may also be portrayed by the following in which a represents any oxidation:

A + 2H2O → AH2 + O2
Thus, gaseous oxygen is produced early in the photosynthetic process in the
same stage that produces hydrogen.

The second major stage of photosynthesis is independent of light and is

called the dark reaction. In this, ATP (adenosine triphosphate) or
NADH(nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, formerly known as DPNH, or
diphosphopyridine nucleodioxide to produce the firs chemical union of carbon,

hydrogen and oxygen. This can be represented in simplified form as follows (where A
represents the oxidant ions):

2AH2 + CO2 → 2A + CH2O + H2O2

The carbon subsequently becomes involved in 3-pospoglyceric acid
(C6H6O3HPO4), and then in ribulose 1, 5 diphosphate (C 5H12O3.2PO4). This
compound becomes the primary acceptor of CO 2; then the reactions proceed
through several stages involving glycerate, glyceraldehydes, fructose, and finally
glucose, 6-phosphate.

Ecologically, the most important aspects of this process are that

photosynthesis requires all of the following: (1)green plants containing chlophyll; (2)
visible light energy in the wavelength of 400 to 700 millimicra (4,000 to 7,000
Angstrom units) or infrared in the wavelength of 800 - 850 millimicra; (3) carbon
dioxide; (4) water; (5) some oxidant ion such as iron or magnesium; and finally (6)
phosphorus in the form of phosphates.

Green plants have the additional capacity to synthesize higher order organic
compounds, including disaccharide sugars, starches, lipids (including fats) proteins
and vitamins. This of course, is the advanced subject of biochemistry.

One type of lipids, the phospholipids require nitrogen, primarily in the form of
nitrates (NO3). Protein synthesis also requires nitrogen and, with few exceptions
sulfer. Thus proteins contain carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen and usually sulfur,
as their basic elemental ingredients. The nucleic acids, DNA and RNA, which form
the vital and most unique organic constituents of all living cells, also contain these
fundamental elements of carbon oxygen hydrogen, nitrogen and phosphorus. The
importance of these five elements in ecology, therefore, is due to their presence in
lipids, proteins and nucleic acids; hence, they form the most fundamental chemical
elements of protoplasm.


Chemosynthesis should also be mentioned as another mechanism by which

organic compounds can be synthesized from inorganic materials through bacterial
action, but in most ecosystems bacteria play only a very minor role in production.
They are primarily decomposers. The chemosynthetic bacteria do not require
energy from sunlight; rather they are able to obtain energy by chemical oxidation of
inorganic compounds. For example the oxidation of ammonia to nitrites, nitrites to
nitrites, sulfides to sulfur, and ferrous to ferric ions are all oxidative processes
yielding energy which can then be used in organic synthesis.

There are also a few photosynthetic bacteria which utilize sunlight energy, but
differ fundamentally from green plants in that they do not produce oxygen as a by-
product. The purple bacterium Rhodospirillum can grow anaerobically, and is an
example of this latter group.


It is interesting to compare the relative productivities of different ecosystems.

Gross productivity is a measure of the total production of a=organic matter perunit
area per unit time. Typical ecosystem productivities vary from 0.5 grams of dry
organic matter per square meter per day to nearly 20 grams per square meter per
day. For esample Lake Erie in winter has shown a productivity of 1.0 g/m 2/day,
whereas in summer it has shown a productivity of 9.0g/m 2/day (Table 1). Coral reef in
the Pacific have produced 18.2 g/m 2/day. Most terrestrial ecosystems can produce 2
to 8 g/m2/day, though a Hawaiian cane field has been measured as high as 23.9
g/m2/day (Table 2)

These figures of gross productivity do not mean actual or net productivity, nor
do they mean that man can utilize all of the production. Net productivity is that
amount remaining after the needs for plant respiration and metabolism have been
met. Respiration is the process in all living organisms by which organic compounds
are oxidized to yield energy with carbon dioxide and water as by-products. It is
discussed in the following pages under the section on decomposition. Net
productivities are usually only 20 to 30 percent of gross productivities. Even total net
productivities are not necessarily available to man since much of the productivity
may be in forms not usable by man. Whereas coral reefs are among the most
productive of all ecosystems, most of the productivity is in the form of algae,
plankton, coelenterates and other marine forms of little or no direct use to man. We
will return to the subject of ecosystem productivity since it involves may topics of
both theoretical and applied interest.

After primary production, the organic compounds of plants enter the dynamic
pathways of the ecosystem and may have three general fates: (1) they may be
metabolize within the plant itself to provide energy or growth and reproduction; (2)
they may be stored within plant tissues and then consumed and assimilated by a
herbivore; or (3) they may enter a cycle of decomposition in a dying plant, and return
again to inorganic form.

Table 1 Gross Primary Productivity of Various Ecosystems as Determined by

Gas Exchange Measurements of Infact systems in Nature

Sl. Ecosystem Rate of Production

No. g/m2/day
Averages for long periods - 6 months to 1 year
1. Infertile open ocean, Sargasso Seaa 0.5
2. Shallow, inshore waters, Long Island sound 3.2
3. Texas estuaries, Laguna Madree 4.4
4. Clear, deep (oligotrophic) lake, wisconsind 0.7
5. Shallow (eutrophic) lake, Japane 2.1
6. Bog lake, Cedar Bog Lake, Minnesota (phytoplankton 0.3
7. Lake Erie, winterg 1.0
8. Silver Springs, Floridah 9.0

Values obtained for short favorable periods
1. Fertilized pond, North Carolina, MayJ 5.0
2. Pond with treated seage wastes, Demark, Julyk 9.0
3. Pond with untreated wastes, Soith Dakota, summer 1 27
4. Silver springs, Florida, Mayh 35
5. Turbid river, suspended clau, North Carolina, summer 1.7
6. Polluted stream, Indiana, summerm 57
7. Estuariesw, Texasc 23
8. Marine turtle-grass flats, Florida, Augustm 34
9. Mass algae culture, extra CO2 addedn 43
Riley (1957); b Riley (1956); c H.T. Odum (unpublished); d Juday (1940); e Hogestu and
lchimura (1954); f Lindeman (1942); g Verduin (1956), h H.T. Odum (1957); I Kohn and Helfrich
(1957); J Hoskin, 1957 (unpunlished); k Steeman-Nielsen (1955); l Bartsch and Allum (1957);
H.T. Odum (1957a) n Tamiya (1957).

A Based on the harvest method of measuring net productivity and converted

to approximate gross productivity by the addition of 30 percent representing the
average plant respiration in terrestrial ecosystems. Based on growing season only
often less than one year. (data calculated from Odum, 1959.)


Consumers of primary production may be conveniently classified into three

categories: primary consumers or herbivores, secondary consumers or carnivores,
and multilevel consumers or omnivores.

Primary Consumers

Primary consumers are those animals which feed directly upon primary
producers: examples are meadow mice, deer, seed-eating birds and leaf-eating
insects. In aquatic ecosystems, microscopic crustacea such as Daphnia which feed
upon phytoplankton are primary consumers, as are some fish, such as menhaden
which feed upon phytoplankton. Such fish are sometimes called "pasture" fish since
they graze upon phytoplankton and thus gave the same relative position in the
aquatic ecosystem as do meadow mice or cattle in the terrestrial ecosystem.

Secondary Consumers

Secondary consumers are predators or carnivores which feed upon

herbivores. Thus, the hawk which eats the meadow mouse is a secondary
consumer, and the bird which consumes the leaf-eating insect is also a secondary
consumer. In aquatic systems, many aquatic insects and small fish which feed upon
minute crustacean are secondary consumers. There are often several levels of
carnivores; that is, predators. For example, the water scorpion which feeds upon
curstacea may be fed upon in turn by a frog, which is then eaten by a small fish,
which is ten eaten by a large fish, and the latter is finally taken by an osprey or an
eagle. Thus, one could possibly speak of tertiary and quaternary consumers and so
on, but the terminology becomes awkward. This brings us to the topic of "food
chains" which will be discussed in a subsequent chapter.

Multilevel Consumers

Multilevel consumers or omnivores refer to those animals which feed as both

herbivores and carnivores. Man is an herbivore in consuming vegetables, fruits,
berries and grains but he is a carnivore in eating meat. Bears and raccoons are also
omnivores in that they feed readily upon berries and fruits, bit also may prey upon
fish, clams, crustacean, and other animals. Many animals are, in fact, omnivorous to
a limited extent. Baboons normally consume plant material, but will occasionally eat
other small animals. Shrews, which we consider carnivorous, will readily eat
vegetable material and often do quite well on it in the laboratory.
A special type of consumption is that of scavengers which feed upon dead
and decaying plant and animal material. Thus vultures, sea gulls and even eagles
fed extensively on animals which died of other causes. They differ from true
predators only in the postmortem nature of the consumption. They are similar to
regular consumers in that they reconstitute the organic matter in their food, utilizing
some of it for energy, some for growth and development, and excreting the metabolic
by-products. Scavengers of dead plant material such as insects, millipedes and
earthworks play the same role as animal scavengers, and their function becomes
closely related to that of the decomposers.


Decomposition is the process by which complex organic material are broken

into simpler compounds that can again be utilized by plants for new growth, and it is
also the process by which bacterial and fungi obtain energy and nutrients. It is, of
course an essential function, for without it, all nutrients would become tied up in dead
organisms. It should also be remembered, of course, that all producers and
consumers also accomplish some decomposition through their normal life
processes. Thus, all organisms respire and catabolize materials releasing carbon
dioxide and other waste products. It cannot be said, however, that decomposition is
their primary or typical function, as it can be said of bacteria and fungi.

Some organic materials, such as sugars, lipids and proteins, are decomposed
rapidly in a series of stages, whereas others, such as cellulose, lignin, hair and
bones, are decomposed slowly. These latter materials may have considerable
resistance to bacterial decomposition. The decomposition of cellulose may, in fact,
be limiting factor in some ecosystems. Decomposition in its most basic form may be
represented by the formula for respiration. Aerobic respiration is essentially an
oxidative process represented as follows:

C6H12O6+ 6O2 → 6CO2 + 6H2O + caloric energy

This is not so simple as show, of course, since it requires a complex set of

enzymatic reactions of the cytochrome oxidase system, but the value of portraying it
in its most basic form is to show that it is essentially the reverse creation of
photosynthesis in terms of raw materials and end products. This process occurs in
living cells without bacterial action, just as it occurs in living cells without bacterial
action, just as it occurs in ecosystems as a result of bacterial action. Thus the
metabolic process of "ecosystem respiration" may be considered analogous to
cellular respiration.


Anaerobic respiration also occurs in some cells and ecosystems. It involves

the decomposition of simple sugars into triosephosphates, pyruvic, ethyl alcohol and
finally acetic acid and water with the release of energy. Oxygen is not directly
involved. This sequence of biochemical reactions follows the Embden Meyerhof
scheme, and it again can occur in living organisms without bacterial action or in dead
organic material with bacterial involvement. Some organisms are capable of either
aerobic or anaerobic respiration. This is true of the soil bacterium Aerobacter, and
also of some parasitic worms which are aerobic in the free-living larval stage and
anaerobic in the adult parasitic stage (Schistosome parasites are an example).

Decomposer organisms are incredibly abundant in natural ecosystems.

Tepper (1969) has pointed out that a gram of soil about 1 teaspoonful may contain
one billion bacterial cells, 5 million actionomycete fungi, 500,000 protozoa, and
200,000 molds of various kinds. The specific numbers depend upon the soil type,
moisture, temperature, nutrient levels, and other environmental factors.

Although decomposers are very numerous, most of them are microscopic in
size, and their total biomass is substantially less than that of producers and
consumers in most ecosystems. Only some of the fungi, such as bracket fungi
puffball and toadstools grow to large size.

No single type of bacterium or fungus performs the complete range of

decomposition. A high degree of specialization occurs, with specific bacteria and
fungi performing specific chemical functions through various enzymatic reactions. In
the decomposition of milk, for example, Streptococcus lactis acts upon milk sugar,
lactose, to produce lactic acid. As the pH falls, the s. lactis can no longer grow
adequately, but the process is continued by Lactobacilli which can tolerate more acid
conditions. Finally, as very acid conditions are approached, various species of
yeasts and molds begin growth to continue the decomposition of lactic acid to carbon
dioxide and water. As this occurring, other types of bacteria, such as pseudomonas
begin the decomposition of proteins into ammonia and simpler nitrogen compounds.

Although many decomposers have very specific chemical functions, quite a

few of them can exist in a wide range of conditions. The soil bacterium, aerobacter,
already mentioned, is a good example of this. Their ubiquitous nature permits similar
functions in diverse habitats.

Another important function of decomposer organisms is the production of

metabolic products which have a regulator function on other organisms. Perhaps the
best known example, releases a substance into the environment which inhibits
bacterial growth. Many of the most important antibiotics in medicine wee first
discovered as natural products of molds. Chemical substances produced by one
group of organisms which have a regulatory influence on other organisms in the
environment have been named "electronics" or "environmental hormones." They are
not necessarily the product of decomposers alone, for it is known that higher plants
and animals produce and release substances which have a regulatory influence on
other organisms, but the decomposers are very important sources of ectocrines. An
example of an ectocrine produced by a higher plant is a factor in wheat, corn, rice
and rye, known to bestow resistance to certain diseases in experimental animals. It
has been named SRF (salmonellosis resistance factor) by Schneider (1967),
because it gives experimental mice resistance to intestinal pathogens of the genus
Salmonella, and Schneider points out that it is quite distinct from antibiotics and

An example of ectocrines in aquatic systems has been studied in rotifers. The

larger rotifer Asplanchna is a predator of the small rotifer, Brachionus. Brachionus
living in the presence of Asplanchan develop spines in subsequent generations.
Detailed analysis of this system showed that Asplanchna releases a metabolic factor
which causes the eggs fo Brachiounus to develop theses spines. The
parentgeneration of Brachionus remains unchanged. Thus Brachiounus as evolved a
mechanism by which it detects the presence of its predator and then adaptively
modifies itself in one generation for protection. Without the presence of the ectocrine
from Asplanchna, Brachions develop without spines.


The biochemical and ecologic cycle of life in its simplest form involves three
major processes: production, n which the basic organic compounds of production are
utilized and reorganized; and decomposition, in which organic compounds are
broken down to simpler substances which can again be utilized in production.

Photosynthesis is the basic productive force in the biosphere, and it is

dependent upon green plants, sunlight, water, carbon dioxide and certain inorganic
ions. Various carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids are all formed in
higher-order syntheses from the sugars and starches manufactured in

Consumption involves various stages of herbivore, carnivore and amnivore

feeding activity. Decomposer organisms play three vital roles in ecosystems: the
breakdown of complex organic materials into sampler forms, the production of
ectocina subs stances which serve regulatory functions in ecosystems.

Food Chains and Metabolism

There are two basic principles or laws of ecology one way flow of energy and
circulation of materials.

Energy is the capacity to do work. It can be transformed from one form to

another, such as from mechanical to electrical energy or from energy in the form of
sunlight to potential energy stored in food molecules. But it cannot be created or
destroyed. No energy transformation is 100 percent efficient; some is always lost to
the environment. No because of this, energy cannot be recycled in an ecosystem; it
can only flow one way.

On the other hand, nutrient materials needed to sustain life can be reused
over and over again. They are constantly recycled or circulated through the
ecosystem. The one-way flow of energy and the circulation of nutrients is illustrated
in Figure 2. This is a very simplified diagram of a food chain, showing three broad
groups or types of organisms: the producers, the consumers, and the decomposers.

The biological and chemical process by which an organism sustains its life is
called metabolism. Two fundamental metabolic processes of living organisms are
photosynthesis and respiration. Living organisms require energy and, as shown in
Figure 2 the original or primary source of energy for all natural ecosystems is the

In addition to energy, living organisms need certain chemicals from the

environment, called nutrients in sufficient quantities. All organisms need water and
most require gaseous oxygen. In addition, plants and animals require carbon,
phosphorus, potassium, iodine, sulfur, calcium, iron, and magnesium, as well as
other elements in smaller amounts. For animals, some of these elements must be in
the form of organic molecules such as carbohydrates or proteins.


The transfer of food energy from the sources in plants through a series of
organisms repeated eating and being eaten is referred as the “food chain”. At each
transfer a large proportion, 80 to 90 % of potential energy is lost as heat. Therefore,
the number of steps or “links” in sequence is limited usually four five. The shorter the
food chains for the nearer the organisms to the beginning of the chain, the greater
the available energy.
Food chains are two basic types:

1. Grazing food chains:

It starts from a green plant base, goes to grazing herbivores (i.e. organisms
living plants and on to carnivores, i.e. animal eaters)
2. Detritus food chains:

It goes from dead organic matter in to MO and then detritus for adding
organisms (detritivores) and their foredators.

Food chains are not isolated sequences, but are interconnected with one
another. The interlocking pattern is known as “food web”.
In complex natural communities, organisms whose food is obtained from plants by
the same number of steps are said to belong to the same “trophic level”.
Thus, green plants (the producer level) occupy the first trophic level, plant eaters the
second level (the primary consumer level), carnivores which eat the herbivores, the
third level (the secondary consumer level), and secondary carnivores the fourth level
(the tertiary consumer level).

The energy flow through atrophic level equal the total assimilation (A) at that level,
which in turn, equals the production (P) of biomass+respiration(R).


Food chains are more or less familiar to everyone in a vague sort of way at
least, because man himself occupies at or near the end of a chain of a food items.
For ex. man may eat the big fish that eats the little fish that eats the zooplankton that
eats phytoplankton that fixes the sun energy; or
He may eat the beet that eats the grass that fixes the light energy; or
He may utilize a much shorter food chain by eating the grain that fixes the sun
energy; or
As usually the case, man may occupy an intermediate trophic position
between primary and secondary consumers when his diet is composed of mixtures
of plant and animal food.

What is not usually recognized by the lawman, however, is that potential energy is
lost at each food transfer, and only a very small percentage of the available sun
energy was fixed by the plant in the first place.
Fig. Is a very simplified energy flow model of three trophic levels.

Total flow (I & A).

Components (P & R).

“Double metabolism” of producers (i.e. PA & PN) approx 50 % absorption 1 %

conversion of light at first level.

Secondary productivity tends to be 10 % (P 3 & P3), although effect may be higher,

say 20 % at the carnivores level.

Consequently, the no. Of consumers, such as people, that can be supported by a

given primary production output very much depends on the length in the chain
decreases the available energy by about one order on magnitude (order of 10),
which mean that fewer people can be supported when large amounts of meat are
part of the diet.

Fig.1 is very simplified energy flow model of three trophic levels. The approximately
50 % absorption –1% conversion of light at the first trophic level.

Secondary productivity (P2 & P 3) tends to be about 10% at successive consumer

trophic levels, although efficiency may be higher, say 20% at the carnivores levels a

Fig2 (energy flow model). In this method a community boundary is shown and in
addition to light and heat flows, the import, export and storage of organic matter are
also included. Decomposer organisms are placed in a separate box as a means of
particularly separating the grazing and detritus food chains.

Fig.1 (Principle of food chain). A simplified energy flow diagram depicting three
trophic levels (boxes 1,2,3) in a linear food chain.

er NU NA Carnivore
Tot s
Green Plants A
al I & LA
PG or A PN I A


ht R R R
t 1500 15 1.5
PN (Kcal/M /day)

Fig.1. Simplified energy flow diagram.

Boxes represent tropic levels.

Pipes represent energy flow.
I total energy input.
LA light absorbed by plant cover.
PG gross primary production (total photosynthesis).
A total assimilation.
PN net primary production.
P secondary (consumer) production.
R respiration.
NU energy not used (stored or exported).
NA energy not assimilated by consumers. (Ingested but not
assimilated). With a solar input of 3000 Kcal/m 2/day.

Bottom line in the diagram the order of magnitude of energy losses expected at
major transfer points.
Energy inflows balance as required by the First law of thermodynamics and each
energy transfer is accompanied by the dispersion of energy into available heat (i.e.
respiration) as required by the Second law.

Fig.2 energy –flow diagram of a community with a large import of organic matter,
showing successive fixation and transfer by components and a large respiratory
losses at each transfer.
P = gross primary production.
PN = net primary production.
P2, P3, P4, P5 = secondary production.

Fig.3 presents ‘Universal’ model, one that is applicable to any living component
whether it will be plant, animal, M.O, or individual population or trophic group.
In fig. ‘3’—represents the living structure or ‘biomass’ of the component. Although
biomass is usually measured some kind of weight (living, wet weight, dry weight or
ash free weight), it is desirable to express biomass in terms of calories so that
relationship between the rates of energy flow and the instantaneous or average
standing state biomass can be established. The total input or intake is indicated by
‘I’. For strict autotrops this is light, and for strict heterotrops it is organic food.

Not all of the input into the biomass is transformed; some it may simply pass through
the biological structure as occurs when egested from digestive tract without being
metabolised or when light passes through the vegetation without being fixed. This
energy component is “NU”. (Not utilized).
That portion which is utilized or assimilated is indicated by “A”.
The ratio between these two components, i.e. the efficiency of assimilation, varies
widely. It may be very low, as in light fixation by plants or food assimilation in detritus
feeding animals or bacteria feeding in high-energy food such as sugar amino acids.

In autotrophs the assimilated energy “A” is gross production or gross

In heterotrophs “A” represents food already produced somewhere else. Therefore
the terms “gross productivity” should be restricted to primary or autotrophic
production. In higher animals the term ‘metabolised energy ‘ is often is for ‘A’.

A key feature of the model is the separation of assimilated energy into the “P” and
“R” components that part of the energy (“A”) which is burned and that portion which
is transformed to new or different organic matter is designated as production (“P”).
This is “net production” in plants or “secondary production” in animals. It is important
to point out that the “P” component is energy available to next trophic level.

The ratio between “P” and “R” and between “B” and “R” varies widely .In general, the
proportion of going into respiration, that is, maintenance, is large in population of
large organisms, man and tree and in mature (i.e. ‘climax’) communities.

Production may take a no. of forms. Three subdivisions are shown in fig. “G” refers
to growth or addition to the biomass. “E” refers to assimilated organic matter that is
excreted or secreted (e.g. simple sugars amino acids, urea, etc.). This “leakage” of
organic matter often in dissolved or gaseous form, may be appreciable, its too often
ignored because difficult to measure.

Finally “S” refers to “storage” as in the accumulation of fat, which may be

reassimilated at some later time. The reverse “S” shown in fig. May also be
considered a “workshop”. Since it depicts that portion of production that is necessary
to insure a future input of the new energy.

Fig. components for “Universal” model of ecological energy flow.




Where B = biomass.
I = Input or ingested energy.
G = growth.
NU =Not Used.
A = assimilated energy. S= stored energy.
P = production.
R = respiration. E = exerted energy.

Fig.2 Energy–flow diagram of a community


Elton was also one of the first ecologists to emphasize the value of analyzing
trophic structures in terms of ecologic pyramids. Ecologic pyramids are diagrams of
data representing the standing crops at each trophic level. They may be expressed
in terms of numbers of organisms, total biomass, or total biomass, or total energy
flow at each trophic level.

Figure -1 represents a numbers pyramid for one acre of grassland. It is

obviously not drawn to scale, but it helps portray the relative numbers organisms at
each of 4 trophic levels- levels - producers, herbivores and two levels of predators.

Figure -2 illustrates two biomass pyramids for Weber Lake, Wisconsin, before and
after artificial fertilization of the lake. The numbers represent grams of living
organisms per square meter. The data show that fertilization of the lake resulted in a
doubling of producers and herbivores, and five fold increase in C-2 consumers.
C-3 3

C-2 354,904

C-1 708,624

PRODUCERS 5,842,424

Figure -1 A pyramid of numbers for one acre of grassland. The number of organisms in each trophic
level are arranged with producers as a base and ascending levels of consumers (C-1, herbivorous
invertebrates; C-2, first order carnivores including birds, moles, etc.)

C-2 4 23

C1- 22

P- 96 170

Before fertilization After fertilization

Figure -2 Biomass pyramids for an aquatic ecosystem in weber Lake, Wisconsin. Figures represent
grams of dry biomass per square meter.

Figure 3 shows all three types of pyramids for a hypothetical alfalfa - calf - boy food
chain based on 10 acres over the course of year. These help us to visualize both the
numerical and energetic relationships within the system If data like these wee
available for agricultural crops it would assist greatly in agricultural management. We
could compare the efficiencies of various crops; we could precisely analyze the loss
of energy to desirable herbivores such as insects; we could evaluate the
effectiveness of fertilizers, cultivation and watershed management on energy flow
and productivity

Since modern agriculture actually makes many of these evaluations, at least in terms
of net productivity and profit yield, there is an even greater need for in terms of net
productivity and profit yield; there is an even greater need for such data on natural
ecosystems. With ecologic pyramids like these on estuaries, wetlands, forests and
natural grasslands, we would be in a much better position to estimate their value in
economic terms. When the developer wants to drain and fill an estuary, such as San
Francisco bay, the ecologist is hard pressed to express the value of the estuary
except in terms o esthetics and recreational value. It would be helpful to know the

energy budget and total ecologic function of the estuary. What is its potential
production in terms of shellfish? \



2 X 107

1 10 102

105 LBS
2,250 LBS
17,850 LBS
1 10 10 2



8.3 X 103 CAL


106 CAL
1.49 x 107 CAL
x 1010 CAL
1 10 102


What role does it play in ecosystem balance in regard to adjacent land forms? Does
it provide essential habitat for the natural predators of mosquito larvae? Do its
patterns of energy utilization offer productive opportunities for sea farming?
Numerous questions like these should be asked before any natural ecosystem falls
heir to modern development. Ecologic pyramids offer one important way of
organizing data to answer some of these questions.

Photosynthesis and Respiration

The food chain shown schematically in Figure1 begins with what ecologists
call the first trophic level of organisms-the producers. These are the green plants.
Green plants are autotrophic, which simply means that they are self-nourishing.
They have the unique ability to convert carbon dioxide, water, and some basic
nutrients in to organic compounds tat store the sun's energy.

This natural process called photosynthesis, is illustrated in figure 1.4. The

plants utilize solar energy to form carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water. The
carbohydrates can also combine with nitrogen, phosphorous, sulfur, and other
elements, forming other organic compounds that are the building blocks of living
organisms. Chlorophyll, the pigment that gives plants their characteristic green
color, plays a key role in trapping their solar energy and converting it into chemical
energy. The plants manufacture more organic material than they need for their solar
energy and converting it into chemical energy. The plants manufacture more organic
material than they need for their own sustenance. The excess energy-rich organic
compounds stored in the plant tissue are then available for use by other organisms
that consume the plants at the next trophic level.

During the process of photsynthesis, gaseous oxygen is released into the

atmosphere. Oxygen is essential for the metabolism of the next trophic level in the
food chain-the consumers. Actually the consumer organisms include several
intermediate trophic levels, including the herbivores, the carnivores and the
omnivores. Herbivores are plant-eating animals. Carnivores are meat eaters, and
omnivores eat both plants and animals.

The consumer organisms are heterotrophic. Unlike the autotrophic plants,

which manufacture their own food from simple inorganic chemicals, the herbivores
must utilize the energy-rich compounds synthesized by the plants. In turn, the
carnivores obtain energy for their metabolism when they consume the herbivores.
The process by which the consumers obtain energy from the organic material stored
in plants and animals they eat is called respiration.

Respiration, illustrated in Figure 3, may be viewed as a process f slow

combustion or oxidation of organic material, in which energy is released. Essentially,
respiration is the opposite of potosynthesis. Photosynthesis builds energy-rich
organic substances and gives off oxygen; respiration breaks down the organics and
gives of carbon dioxide. Photosynthesis equerries carbon dioxide, and respiration
requires oxygen. This is one of the most fundamental balances in nature.

The simplified food chain shown in figure 1 is completed or closed by the

decomposers, or decay organisms. These are primarily microscopic organisms
such as bacteria and fungi. During their own metabolism, microorganisms break
down the waste products and the remains of dead organism into simpler inorganic
substances that are then readily usable by the autotrophs. For example, nitrogen in
ammonia is not available in plants as a nutrient until it is broken down and converted
to inorganic nitrates by certain bacteria. The nitrates can be absorbed by the plants.

Decomposers are essential not only for all natural ecosystems; they are the
workhouses of engineered water pollution control systems.

Biogeochemical Cycles and Ecosystem Homeostasis

Several ecosystem principles can be understood by reference to the cyclic

passage of key elements, such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus
and sulfur, between the living and nonliving components of the ecosystem. Outlining
these cyclic patterns in simplified terms is certainly not adequate for a full
understanding of ecosystem function, for what we ultimately need is some
knowledge of the volved. Nevertheless, a brief consideration of these cyclic patterns
is a logical starting point toward achieving this understanding

Carbon Cycle

Carbon, a key element in all living material, cycles relatively simply between
plants, animals and the inorganic world. Carbon exists in the atmosphere primarily
as carbon dioxide, in which form it is incorporated directly into plant protoplasm in
the process of photosynthesis. For example, a tropical rain forest may incorporate
between one and two kilograms of carbon per square meter per year into organic
compounds (Bolin, 1970). From plants, organic carbon may go into animals, where
it goes through various stages of digestion and assimilation, and from either plants or
animals it may re-enter the atmosphere as CO 2 by oxidation or decomposition. In
some animals, carbon may become tied up in hard parts, such as shells, and thus
remain in the form of inorganic carbonates for a long time. Limestone can result from
marine deposits of animal carbonates as well as from inorganic precipitation of
carbonates in water. These carbonates in limestone can then return to the living
carbon cycle only very slowly through a process of erosion and dissolution.
Dissolved carbonates in water may be absorbed by plants- some aquatic plants, for
example Eurasian milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum), can use the carbon in dissolved
carbonates as a direct carbon source in photosynthesis. Most aquatic plants,
however, are more efficient when using free CO 2 in water as a carbon source.

Carbon may also become "locked" into organic deposits of coal and
petroleum, remaining in this form for millions of years until released in combustion. A
more detailed discussion of the carbon cycle has been presented by Bolin (1970) in
an issue of Scientific American devoted to the ecology of the biosphere. This issue
also contained review articles on the nitrogen cycle (Delwiche1970), oxygen cycle
(Cloud, 1970), and various mineral cycles (Deevey, 1970), Some of the highlights of
these cycles are considered below.

Nitrogen Cycle

Nitrogen, another essential element of all protoplasm, has a more complicated

series of cyclic pathways through the ecosystem. The atmospheric form of free
nitrogen must be "fixed" or incorporated into chemical compounds such as ammonia
(NH3) which can be utilized by plants. Nitrogen fixation is accomplished by bacterial
action of both free-living soil bacterial such as Azotobacter and Clostridium, and
symbiotic bacteria such as Rhizobium living in root nodules of leguminous plants.
Several other bacteria can perform nitrogen fixation, and some blue-green algae
such as Anabaena and Nostoc can also perform this reaction. Nitrogen fixation is
also achieved as a physical process in the atmosphere by the ionizing effect of
lightning and cosmic radiation, and it can be achieved industrially through the Haber
and Bosch method. The greatest single source of fixed nitrogen, however, is
probably terrestrial bacteria.

From the forms of ammonia and soluble nitrates, plant incorporate fixed
nitrogen into protoplasm by amino acid and protein synthesis. Then the organic
nitrogen compounds may follow any one of three general pathways:
(1) Storage or modification as proteins or nucleic acids within the plant;
(2) In corporation into animal protein through consumption and assimilation by
animals; or

(3) Decomposition to NH3 through death and bacterial action. In animals, essentially
the same three major pathways may be followed plus metabolic into urea and
other excretory products.

In the decomposition cycle though death and decay, ammonia (NH 3) is

produced from amino acids by the action of ammonifying bacteria such as
Pseudomonas, Proteus, etc. Under normal circumstances it is quickly converted into
nitrite form (NO2) by nitrite bacteria such as Nitro somas, and into nitrate form (NO 3)
by nitrate bacteria such as Nintrobacter. Nitrates are then absorbed directly by plants
as primary nutrients and incorporated once again into amino acids and proteins by
organic synthesis within the plant.

The presence of ammonia nitrogen in ecosystems is a good measure of the

balance between protein decomposition, bacterial action and plant production. High
ammonia nitrogen in water is generally indicative of enrichment from fertilizer, animal
wastes, or domestic sewage. Thus, field measurements of ammonia nitrogen above
the levels of 1 ppm usually indicate some major source of decomposition within the
system, in excess of that being utilized by bacterial action and plant growth. Field
measurements of nitrites and nitrates are also good guides to the nutrient condition
of lames, streams and estuaries. The same is true of dissolved phosphates, as we
shall see in subsequent paragraphs.

Nitrogen is returned is returned to its atmospheric form by the action of

denitrifying bacteria such as Pseudomonas, Thiobacillus and Micrococcus
denitrificans. Obviously, the cyclic flow of nitrogen throughout the ecosystem
requires balances of bacterial action involving many species, so that appropriate
levels of plant nutrients are maintained without excessive accumulation of
decomposition products like ammonia. A 1969 report on environmental problems by
a committee of the American Chemical society pointed out that all life could be
extinguished on earth by the extinction of perhaps just a dozen species of bacteria
involved in the nitrogen cycle.

Phosphorus Cycle

Phosphorus is also a key element in all living organisms, and it plays an

essential role in almost every step of organic synthesis. It is much less abundant in
the abiotic ecosystem than nitrogen, existing in natural levels at a ratio of 1 to 23 in
relation to nitrogen (Hutchinson, 1944), but it is relatively more abundant in plants
and animals. It is more likely than almost any other element to limit productivity in
many of earth's ecosystems. Phosphorus in the form of adenosine triphosphate
(ATP) is a " universal fuel of living organisms" (Deevey, 1970).
Phosphorus in the protoplasm of plants and animals is broken down by cellular
metabolism or the action of phosphatizing bacteria to dissolved phosphates (e.g.,
CaHPO4). These dissolved phosphates may be utilized directly in protein synthesis
in plants as primary nutrients, or they may enter marine deposits and become fixed
in relatively insoluble forms of phosphate rocks, Ca 3(PO4)2. Bone and guano
deposits may also lock up phosphates for considerable periods of time until
artificially recovered. In general, the loss of phosphorus to the ocean has been

greater than the gain to land, and this has become a practical problem in many
countries such as India where there is a shortage of artificial fertilizers. Fifty years of
cultivation in temperate zones can readily reduce phosphate levels of the soil by
more than one-third (Odum, 1959). A much greater loss in less time can occur in
tropical regions India has also mistreated and defeated natural ecosystem principles
by burning animal wastes instead of using then as natural fertilizer. Cow dung is
dried and used as a major fuel source- a process which has short-circuited natural
nitrogen and phosphorus cycles and thus robbed the soil of basic nutrients. This is
now being corrected by an expensive crash program of artificial fertilizer production.

The greatest reservoir of phosphates in the world lies in the relatively

insoluble ferric and calcium phosphates in rock. In this form, phosphorus may be
released slowly to soluble forms by the action of dilute nitric acid formed during

A modern source of phosphorus is in the common household detergents

which now enter waste water systems and are then released into streams, lakes
and estuaries. Waste detergents are often sufficiently abundant in streams to cause
foaming and sudsing at waterfalls. The high phosphate content of these detergents
can also stimulate undesirable plankton blooms, and hence these detergents are
sometimes a major component of pollution and eutrophication.

Sulfur Cycle

Sulfur is an essential element in protein synthesis, since it provides a linkage

between polypeptide chains in protein molecules, Life, as known on earth, could not
exist without sulfur. It is less likely, however, to be limiting of ecosystem productivity
than phosphorus. In nature, sulfur exists in the elemental form and in several
oxidation states, including hydrogen sulfide (H 2S), sulfites (SO2) and sulfates (SO4).
Organic sulfur in plants and animals is decomposed to H 2S by bacterial action, and
the H2S by bacterial action, and the H2S is further oxidized to sulfates such as
NH3SO4 by sulfur-oxidizing bacteria. These sulfates are then taken up by plants as
primary nutrients. Hydrogen sulfide can occasionally accumulate by rapid protein
breakdown. IN the Black Sea, below 150 meters, the concentrations of H 2SO4 are
so great as to exclude all forms of life concentrations of H 2S and H2SO4 are so great
as to exclude all forms of life other than sulfur bacteria (Brock, 1966). In polluted
estuaries, large accumulations of algal sea lettuce may undergo primary
decomposition to produce obnoxious quantities of H 2S. In some coastal areas, this
has been known to be sufficiently severe to cause paint blistering on nearby houses.

Sulfur is also locked into coal and petroleum and is released as sulfur dioxide when
these products are burned.

The foregoing examples of biogeochemical cycles have been greatly over

simplified, and more substantial accounts of these cycles are given by Brock (1966),
Bolin (1970), Delwiche (1970) and Deevey (1970). These discussions illustrate the
cyclic flow of essential elements between the living and nonliving components of the
ecosystems. Similar flow-charts could be constructed for all the other elements
which play a vital role in living systems, such as iron, magnesium, sodium,
potassium, manganese, cobalt, and many others. Our knowledge of all of these
cycles serves to emphasize the interrelations of the living and nonliving world, and
to show us that the biosphere is a very complex biochemical system which depends
on the proper functioning of many organisms.

Aerobic and Anaerobic Decomposition

Decomposition that occurs in the presence of free oxygen is called aerobic

decomposition, and the microorganisms that thrive in oxygen are called aerobes.
Aerobic decomposition results in the oxidation of the carbon, hydrogen, sulfur,
nitrogen, and phosphorus that are tied up in complex organic molecules. These

elements become combined with oxygen, forming carbon dioxide, water, sulfates,
nitrates, and other simple substances that can be taken up by green plants for
photosynthesis. The energy released from the organic molecules in this process is
used by the microbes for growth and reproduction. Aerobic decompositions an
efficient and "clean" biochemical process that does not produce the offensive odors
often associated with decay.

Certain species of microorganisms are able to decompose organic material in

the absence of freely available oxygen. These organisms are called anaerobes, and
the process is called anaerobic decomposition. As illustrated in Figure 1.6, the end
products of anaerobic decomposition include methane, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide,
and volatile organic acids, many of which are responsible for the unpleasant odors
associated with putrefaction (the anaerobic decay of proteins). Hydrogen sulfide,
with the chemical formula H2S4 causes the familiar rotten-egg odor.

Anaerobic decomposition is an inefficient bio-chemical process. Although the

anaerobes get energy from it for their growth and reproduction, the end products are
still relatively unstable and can decompose further. In effect, anaerobic decay is
similar to incomplete combustion. But it plays a key role in some wastewater
treatment processes. Methane, CH 4 one of the few odorless products of anaerobic
decomposition, has a high enough energy value to be useful as a fuel; it is collected
for that purpose at some sewage treatment plants or sanitary landfills used for
garbage disposal.

Stability, Diversity and Succession

Each species of living organism occupies a particular habitat and serves a

particular function in an ecosystem. The function and habitat comprise the
organism’s ecological niche. A basic characteristic of a healthy or well-balanced
ecosystem is an overlapping of niches occupied by different species. The more
complex the ecosystem is in terms of the numbers and interrelationships among
different species, the more stable it will be. A stable ecosystem can withstand some
external stress, lime pollution, construction, or hunting, without being completely
disrupted or damaged.

In a stable ecosystem, if any one species disappears because of natural or

artificial causes, other species are available to occupy its niche and take over its role
in the food chain. Actually, the term food web is more appropriate for a healthy
ecosystem because of the overlapping nature and complexity of the eat-and-eaten-
by relationships. A jungle is a good example of a stable ecosystem because of the
tremendous number of plant and animal species thriving in it. The loss of one
species of tree or one species of animal is not likely to have a significant impact on
the whole ecosystem.

In an ecosystem with little diversity that is, only a few different species of
organisms, the situation is more unstable and susceptible o the effects of stress.
The disappearance of a group of organisms from the food web is more likely to break
the chain of trophic levels and severely disrupt the ecosystem. Diversity of species
then, provides a factor of safety or buffer against ecological disruptions by increasing

the likelihood of adaptation to changing environmental conditions. The greater the
diversity of species, the healthier is the ecosystem.

Although aquatic ecosystems such as streams and lakes are generally stable,
they are sensitive to disruption from human activity. One effect of water pollution is
the reduction of the dissolved oxygen level in the water. This type of pollution
changes the ecological balance, favoring a smaller number of species of organisms
that are tolerant of low oxygen levels. In heavily polluted water, only maggots and
sludge worms may survive.

In studying the health or quality of a stream or lake, ecologists may use a

formula to compute a diversity index for the ecosystem. In a field survey the number
of different species is counted and the population of each species is estimated from
sampling limited areas. These data are used in the diversity index is determined to
characterize the condition of the ecosystem.

Generally, a low diversity index is indicative of a polluted ecosystem, and the

pollution-tolerant species are readily identified. In a clean stream, for example, many
different species of fish may be found.

It is important to realize that even healthy or well-balanced ecosystems

change over time in a process called natural succession. For example, a lake will
eventually become shallower as silt and organic material accumulate in bottom
sediments. As time goes on, the lake will eventually turn into a marsh and finally a
meadow. These natural changes in a lake called cutrophication, we shall discuss in
more detail. As we shall see, this natural process can be affected by human activity
and pollution.

Although the lake, marsh, and meadow may be stable and healthy
ecosystems during their individual lifetimes, natural geological and biological
processes will cause the succession from one stage to another. If geologic and
weather conditions are suitable, the process of natural succession will continue until
a climax stage is reached. For example, the meadow, once a lake, will eventually
become a hardwood forest. Natural succession, though, takes place over very long
periods of time, and the changes are not ordinarily visible during a human life-span.

Ecosystem Homeostasis

Ecosystem homeostasis is a technical term for the balance of nature. It

involves a good deal more than the average person may envisage in that popular
term, however. In its broadest sense it refers not only to a balance of species, as for
example, a balance between predator and prey or host and parasite but also a
balance of basic nutrient cycles and energetic pathways within an ecosystem. A
homeostatic condition within an ecosystem implies that all aspects of ecosystem
function are in balance. Thus, there would be a balance between production,
consumption and decomposition, as well as between all species within the system.

The concept of homeostasis within an individual has been valuable in

physiology. As developed by the eminent French scientist, Claude Bernard, in the

nineteenth century, and late expanded by the American physiologist, Walter
Cannon, in the twentieth century, it has led to vastly increased understanding of the
regulation of body processes through nervous and endocrine control. It has also
shown the interplay of nervous and hormonal regulation in growth, reproduction and
behavior, and has contributed much to our understanding of health and disease.

In many ways, a comparable concept of homeostasis at the ecosystem level

helps us to understand processes of regulation within plant and animal
communities. It can pinpoint areas where more research is needed to clarify control
mechanisms and routes of interaction between components of ecosystems.

The concept of intrinsic regulation or feedback is essential to out

understanding of homeostasis. In physiology, for example, we know that muscular
activity increases carbon dioxide concentration and decreases oxygen levels in the
blood. This stimulates faster heart rate and breathing rates which serve to expel
carbon dioxide and bring in more oxygen. When the carbon dioxide and oxygen
levels return to normal, heart rate and breathing rate also return to normal. Thus the
system remains in balance to meet the metabolic needs of the individual.

In a balanced aquatic ecosystem, there is an analogous, though less

accurately controlled, homeostasis involving carbon dioxide and oxygen. For
example, an increase in water temperature in the springtime which increases
metabolic rate and respiration in aquatic plants and animals, results in an increase
in carbon dioxide and a decrease o oxygen. The higher level of free CO 2 and
increasing water temperature stimulate more rapid photosynthesis and plant growth
which utilizesthe CO2 and produces oxygen. Thus both O 2 and CO2 tend to return to
normal limits. If the temperature and metabolic rate declines, and all available free
CO2 is utilized in the water, then plant growth is limited until decomposition adds
more CO2 to the water. One can readily envisage the complexity of the system when
one considers hundreds of species of plants and animals interacting over the
common interface of oxygen, carbon dioxide, light, nutrients and many other

Ecosystems have the ability to perform a certain amount of self-regulation

within limits, but if these limits are exceeded, they may no longer be able to function
and may experience various patterns of change, injury, or break down. Thus, if
temperature levels exceed certain natural limits, the metabolic homeostasis of the
system may be thrown out of balance so far that its natural regulatory capacities are
impaired. It should be a major task of modern science to study ecosystems with the
object of understanding natural homeostatic mechanisms and limitations. It is
particularly important that we recognize the tolerance levels of different systems to
disturbance. It is obvious in some areas such as Lake Erie, Delaware Bay, and
many parts o the Middle East and Asia, far, either through direct damage or
negligence- and the result was irreparable damage.

It must be pointed out that man does not always desire a homeostatic
ecosystem. In fact, all agriculture is based on systems in which production exceeds
consumption so that surpluses of organic products result for human consumption.
This can be considered either a non homeostatic system or an artificial homeostasis
if ma successfully utilizes the surplus.

In ecologic theory, any non-homeostatic or artificial ecosystem has intrinsic
instabilities that must be controlled by direct action. Thus in agriculture, weeds and
pests most be controlled by cultivation, pesticides, or some other form of control.
Only by constant attention can the agricultural ecosystem be maintained in a
productive state.

Many of the world's ecologic difficulties arise from upsets in natural

homeostatic mechanisms in ecosystems. In polluted waters, for example, excessive
nutrients from sewage may cause excessive production of algae. If this production
grossly exceeds consumption by herbivores, it leads to nightly and obnoxious
plankton blooms in which excessive decomposition suddenly becomes prevalent.
This ma produce toxic products, or it may deplete the oxygen supply so that fish and
other aquatic animals die. Thus a simple imbalance of production may cause far-
reaching damage to the entire system.

Imbalances often occur initially in only a few components of the system, but
they may have the result of affecting the entire system. Locust plagues may result
from an unusually favorable combination of factors which stimulate locust
reproduction, but these plagues may ten devastate the entire system which
spawned them.

Ecosystem Management

Practical ecosystem management usually involves maintaining a natural or

artificial homeostasis in which the end product is of benefit to man, and in which
violent or pathologic imbalances can be controlled. An example of a natural
ecosystem which man might wish to maintain for esthetic or recreational value
would be a wilderness area or National Park. Here the most important consideration
is to insure that natural processes are permitted to continue. In a forest this would
mean, for example, that fire, it already a natural part of the ecosystem, be permitted
to occur at natural frequency and intensity. Several recent studies have shown that
certain forests depend upon intermittent burning to recycle nutrients and minerals
(Oberle, 1969). In the lowland conifer forests of Alaska, if fire is excluded a thick
carpet of moss may accumulate and raise the permafrost level. This encourages the
growth of black spruce, a species with little food or timber value. Browsing animals
such as deer, moose and bear cannot survive on black spruce. They depend on
natural fires to maintain a suitable cycle of vegetation. Many foresters now feel that
the underbrush and leaf litter in the Ponderosa pine forests of western United States
should be removed by light ground fires every few years to maintain soil fertility, to
prevent excessive accumulation of organic matter in the form of cellulose and also
to prevent more devastating fires that destroy the entire forest. In the pine forests of
the South, very efficient fire suppression techniques allowed dangerous
accumulation of combustible materials, and a pine fungus disease was favored in
the accumulated litter. In all of these forests, proper management should not
exclude all fires, but should prevent totally devastating fires. These examples
illustrate the need for understanding natural processes in ecosystems in order to
maintain then properly.

The Everglades of Florida provide another example of the importance of
understanding natural ecosystem processes before the system can be properly
managed or maintained. The unique flora and fauna of the Everglades depends
upon the proper balance of fresh an saline water flowing through its channels. If a
significant decline in fresh water input occurs, as has been taking place due to the
diversion of fresh water to the growing megalopolis of Miami, numerous important
species of plants and animals may die and the characteristic features of the system
may be destroyed. In times of drought, many animals depend upont alligator
wallows as source of water. These are pools hollowed out by alligators, and they
tend to retain water longer than other parts of the swamp. If alligators decline
through shooting or any other mortality force, many other animals also decline. Now
that some of the key factors necessary for the maintenance of the Everglades are
known, its survival becomes, in simplest terms, a competitive contest between the
natural ecosystem and the expanding human population pressures.

We must recognize that most of the world's ecosystems are already

significantly altered by man, and we can no longer apply a simple 'hands off'
conservation policy to insure their preservation. Thus, programs of active
management become necessary as in agriculture, and we can often apply
agricultural principles of cropping and harvest to natural populations of fish, wild
game and forests to the mutual advantage of man and the ecosystem. This
approach was brilliantly elucidated by Aldo Leopold in his classic book, Game
management (1933), and it was more recently expressed in modern mathematical
terms by Watt in, Ecology and Resource Management (1968). We shall return to
these concepts in future chapters.

It is equally important to recognize that ecosystems have a certain level of

"insult tolerance," but if we continue to assault them with bad management or
noxious influences, they will most certainly become irreversibly injured. If we
continue to restrict fresh water from the Everglades, or surround its watershed with
suburbia, it will undoubtedly suffer. If we continue to build concrete jungles around
our lakes, rivers and estuaries, and fill their waters with waste materials, we can no
longer expect they to produce clams, oysters, gamefish, or support recreational
pleasure. It has been estimated that if we could instantly stop all pollution entering
Lake Erie, and supply an unpolluted input, it would still take over a hundred years to
cleanout the lake and restore it to anything approaching its former value and

In upsetting the homeostatic conditions of ecological systems, we are inflicting

changes that may persist for centuries. Once the scientific facts are known, proper
ecosystem magement becomes a matter of ethics and value judgments. As pointed
out by Odum (1959), Leopold (1949), and Hutchinson (1948), the understanding
and proper management of ecosystems must be recognized by mankind as a moral
responsibility, and the old concept of unlimited exploitation must be replaced by one
of restoration and enlightened conservation.

Species Diversity

In 1958 the eminent ecologist of Yale University, G.E. Hutchinson, delivered

an address at the annual meting of the American Society of Naturalists and used the
title, "Homage to Santa Rosalia or Why Are There So Many Kinds of Animals?" He
took the title from the Sicily, Hutchinson had fond a small pond, rich with the bones
of Pleistocene animals. The setting gave Hutchinson additional inspiration to reflect
on the ecology of evolution. Why has natural selection produced such a great
variety of living organisms- over a million known species of animals alone, three-
quarters of which are insects?

This topic has been a major question in ecologic and evolutionary theory for
many years. In discussing the evolution of species diversity, Hutchinson
emphasized the mosaic nature of the environment. When the environment is viewed
in very small units of space, it may be considered an infinitely variable mosaic of
different conditions. Hutchinson pointed out that the small physical size of many
animals, such as insects, has permitted them "to become specialized to the
conditions offered by small diversified elements of the environmental mosaic, and
this clearly makes possible a degree of diversity quite unknown among groups of
larger animals. " furthermore, the addition of each new plant or animal to the
community increases its diversity, thus creating new conditions on which natural
selection can operate. Diversity, then becomes a self- stimulating phenomenon.

The limiting factors on diversity are the severity of the physical circumstances
to which life forms can adjust. All life, having a common biochemical basis, has
certain central tendencies in the conditions around which life processes operate with
the greatest efficiency. This does not infer that all species of plants and animals
have the same environmental requirements, but it does mean that more plant and
animal species are going to survive and thrive at environmental condition
approaching the normal requirements for protoplasmic processes. In other words
the biochemical unity of life insures that more plant and animal species are going to
do well at 80 to 900 Fahrenheit (27 to 320 Centigrade) than at 320 F (00 C). Plants
and animals can, of course, adapt to the latter, but the selection for this will be
substantially more rigorous, and the available riches much fewer.

Seen in this light, it becomes reasonable to theorize that those environments

whose physical circumstances are harshest and most inimical to life will have the
least diversity. Thus we would expect desert, ocean depth (below the light zone),
polar regions and snow-capped mountains to have the least diversity in their biotic
communities. This is, indeed, exactly true. These are biotic communities
characterized by the lowest numbers of different kinds of plants and animals, though
there may be very large populations of these few species.

On the other hand, we would expect those environments with conditions most
nearly approaching the ideal for life processes- that is, warm temperatures, ample
light and plenty of moisture- to have the greatest diversity of plant and animal life.
This also is true. The tropical forests are far richer in number of species of plants
and animals than any other biotic community on earth.

Thus, an important ecologic principle is that species diversity of biotic
communities generally increases in proceeding from polar regions to the equatorial
tropics, with the exception of deserts, mountaintops and ocean depths. Forests of
northern Canada often have less than 10 species of trees; temperate forests of the
United States often have 20 to 30 species, whereas the tropical forests of Panama
usually have over 100 species of trees in relatively small areas. In almost every
plant and animal taxa, similar relationships prevail. Canada has 22 species of
snakes, the United States has 126 and Mexico has 293. Table 16-3 shows the
number of species of breeding birds found in different parts of the western
hemisphere. In general, polar regions have less than 80 species of breeding birds,
temperate regions have 100 to 200 and tropical regions have 500 to 1300.

Another major factor which affects species diversity is pollution and

environmental quality. Pollution usually reduces species diversity. By creating
abnormal conditions which require new adaptations, both air and water pollution ma
reduce the number of species capable of tolerating these new conditions. The data
were collected in one day by an ecology class and do not present a thorough
survey. One of the streams, Herring Run, passes through a heavily populated area o
northern Baltimore, and it is polluted with urban run-off, pesticides from lawns, silt
from construction, slat, far and oil from streets and miscellaneous trash. Only 8
species of invertebrates were found, representing just 7 orders and 4 classes.
Beaver Run, 20 miles north of Baltimore, passes through a well-balanced
agricultural region, and does not carry the urban run-off and pesticides of Herring
Run. In a short period, the ecology class found 21 species of inertebrates of 15
Orders, and 8 Classes. Several organisms were abundant in Beaver Run that were
apparently entirely absent from Herring Run, including dragon fly(Odonata) and
stone fly larvae (Plecoptera). Furthermore, Beaver Run was rich in fish life. Whereas
Herring Run had no fish. This simple class field trip demonstrated an important
aspect of species diversity in relation to domestic pollution.

The relationships between species diversity and community stability have
been mentioned previously. In general, the greater the diversity, the greater the
stability. Communities with many species have a more complex web of food
relationships, and each species has greater diversity in its food and cover
resources, Thus each species has alternatives in meeting its life requirements. It
has various ways of meeting new environmental shortages and contingencies.
There is, in other word, a cushioning network of checks and balances. It must be
remembered that we are speaking in broad terms and there are undoubtedly valid
as overall principles of community ecology. As a result, any major change in a single
plant or animal population in a polar community is likely to have a far greater impact
on the total community than a similar change in a tropical community. It thus
becomes important to think of communities in terms of their vulnerability to ecologic
upset if change occurs in any one of member populations.

Table: Number of Species of Breeding Birds in Various Parts of the Western

Region Degrees Latitude Breeding Birds:

Number of Species
Antarctica 90 - 65 (S) 20
Greenland 80 - 60 (N) 56
Labrador 60 - 52 81
Newfoundland 47 - 52 118
New York 41 - 45 195
Florida 25 - 30 143
Guatemala 14 - 18 469
Panama 6-9 1,100
Venezuela 1 -10 1,148
Colombia 4 - 12 (S-N) 1,395


Biotic communities change with time as their plant and animal communities
change. This process is known as succession, and it involves a sequence of
community types from pioneer stages to mature or climax stages. Each community
in the series is known as a serial stage. One of the best ways to appreciate
succession is to consider the sequential growth and development of biotic
communities on a cleared forest.

If a forest is cut, and the land cleared to the soil, a succession of plants will
invade and grow on the exposed surface. The first plants which invade are typically
those capable of seeding in quickly on disturbed land or capable of germinating from
viable roots left within the soil. This depends not only upon the former vegetation,
but also upon seeds from surrounding plant communities, as well as the
characteristics of the soil and climate. Assuming soil and moisture are present,
typical invaders in the United States are herbaceous weeds such as ragweed
(Ambrosia sp.), lambs quarters (Chenopodium album), dock (Rumex sp.), horse
wed (erigeron Canadensis), plantain (Plantago sp.), crab grass (Digitaria sp. Et
al.)and woody vines such as honeysuckle (Lonicera sp.) and poison ivy (Rhus
toxicodendron). As soon as the first plants germinate and become established, the
community increase vastly in physical complexity. A surfaceof bare earth now has
shaded areas which differ in light, moisture and humidity. This enables other seeds
to grow, and new species become established. Woody plants appear, again those
capable of withstanding disturbed environments and harsh conditions, such as black
locust (Robinia sp.) sumac (Rhus sp.), and hawthorn (Crataegus sp.) Pioneer
animals also arrive, including ants, beetles and flying insects. Birds begin to forage
over the new community searching for seeds and insects. Small mammals may
venture forth from adjacent forests or grasslands. Each animal traversing the are
adds organic nutrients. Within a year or two a surprisingly complex community has
arisen, and is grow modify the light and moisture conditions on the surface of the
ground. Those initial pioneers which thrived on total sun exposure are now less

favored and more shade-tolerant seeds can germinate more successfully. Woody
shrubs emerge above the herbaceous layer and compete more successfully for the
ambient light.

The shade developing beneath the herbaceous and shrubby layers permits
the growth of other tree species such as maples, elms or oaks which could not
tolerate the initial exposure of sun and wind. This represents the firs beginnings of
the forest. Further succession continues to involve all the dynamic processes of plan
and animal competition. Over a period of years, the initial invaders and pioneers
begin to drop out. Trees mature, first the fast growing locust and sumac, bit as they
reach the limits of their growth and their relatively short life-spans, the slower
growing oaks (Quercus sp.), maples (Acer sp.) and elms (Ulmus sp.) begin to take
over. The forest ma now be 40 to 50 years old, reaching a height of 50 to 60 feet.

The ground cover intermediate layers have now matured to include those
shade- tolerant species capable of living in the forest under story. The insect and
bird populations have changed from open field forms to forest species. By 70 to 80
years, the forest may be approaching relative maturity, with tall trees in the 60 to 80
foot range, deep shade and cool, moist conditions on the forest floor capable of
supporting the rich array of life described earlier in this chapter. The climax first may
be approached in 80 to 100 years, when it becomes a stable and self-perpetuating
community. Processes of change still occur. Old forest trees die and crash to the
ground, creating a microcosm of renewed successional development, but the main
forest continues in equilibrium as a permanent community as long as environmental
conditions remain favorable. If it is cut, the process of succession beings again. If it
is defoliated, flooded, burned or dehydrated, it will change and attempt to seek a
new form of equilibrium with its environment. The tree species that finally emerge as
the dominant members of the climax community vary according to the climate,
topography and soil type. Beech-maple climax associations are common in the
Eastern United States in moist lowland areas, whereas oak-hickory associations are
more common on drier slopes and upland soils.

It would be incorrect to assert that the process of succession is always

consistent and predictable. It may take a variety of forms, and may become arrested
at any of several sages. Early in the shrub stage, the biotic community may become
overwhelmed by excessive growth of woody vines such as honeysuckle or poison
ivy, so that trees cannot develop adequately, or it may stay in the herb or shrub
stage if the land is subjected to continuing disturbance by fire, pollution, or land
scarring. Throughout the countryside, especially around cities, one can find many
examples of disturbed and unattractive vegetation that never gets out of the weed,
shrub or vine stage.

The above discussion has mainly concerned a deciduous forest community,

but a similar account could be given of coniferous forests, and, in fact, of all biotic
communities. Thus, a prairie grassland, a tropical savannah, a desert arroyo, an
estuarine marsh, a cedar bog, a pond, a lake, a delta, a mangrove swamp, or a
coral reef all have characteristic patterns of development and succession. In some
communities, successional development may involve hundreds or even thousands
of years before mature climax conditions are achieved. Primary tropical rain forests,

for example, are the culmination of thousands of years of successional
development. Once cut, thy are not recreated in a few decades or a hundred years.

It should be emphasized that succession is also a naturally occurring process

and is not confined to disturbed habitats. Theoretically, each biotic community tends
toward maturation and stable climax conditions, but there is sufficient natural
change in ecosystems so that succession is a continually recurring process in many
situations. The grassland and forest are subjected to natural fire as an ecologic
process, the desert arroyo to flash flooding, the marsh, bog, pond, lake, delta and
swamp to filling, and the coral reef to the continual processes of construction and
destruction. Human activities often increase and accelerate these processes far
beyond the natural rates of occurrences. In so dong, man impedes the development
of maturity and ecologic stability in biotic communities.

An example of natural succession is the filling of a small pond and its eventual
conversion into a terrestrial community. Accumulations of organic material and
sedimentary deposits fill in the water volume, soil is formed at the edge and
terrestrial grasses and hers become established. Eventually, shrubs and trees
complete the process. Man accelerates this process increasing the siltation process
and enriching the waters with nutrients so that more expensive plant growth occurs.
The process can be retarded by dredging the pond or manipulating the water level
to reduce aquatic vegetation. Lakes proceed through some of the same stages, but
if sufficiently deep, a point is reached in lakes where the scouring action of currents
slows or even balances the siltation and sedimentation rate.

It is important for man to understand successional processes so that he can
manage biotic communities for maximum productivity and esthetic concerns. In
agricultural lands and harvested forests, man has learned to maximize productivity
for his own economic gain. This is done by artificially maintaining communities in
early successional stages, where productivity is greatest, and by channeling all
possible production into the species to be harvested. That is, man maintains a
cornfield or a Wheatfield in an early productive stage by excluding all other pioneer
species. He maintains a forest in an early successional stage and directs all well and
good provided the cost of such management is not too high in terms of toxic
chemicals that must be applied to eliminate other species, or in terms of chemical
fertilizers that must be applied to support an artificial single species community.

Quite another principle prevails in the management of parks and sanctuaries

where man wishes to maintain balanced plant and animal communities for esthetic
and scientific values. Here it becomes essential to understand and promote natural
succession so that mature and stable communities are achieved.

In this day of economic pressures it is increasingly difficult for man to

appreciate the value of natural biotic communities. What good is a mature forest if it
is not harvested, what good is an estuarine marsh, what good is a relic prairie?
These are all questions being asked in greater frequency by citizens focusing on
economic progress. The challenge the ecologist to explain the message of ecology
in factual terms, and to emphasize the importance of balanced biotic communities to
the total life support capabilities of the world. The answers are not easy and are not
always available;. Much remains to be learned about the full range of functions of an
estuarine marsh, for example, in maintaining the productivity of the oceans. This
represent one of the greatest current challenges for ecology; namely, to understand
and explain in a meaningful way, without great fanfare and unreasonable emotion,
the importance and value of diverse biotic communities. Otherwise economic man
will see little reason why he cannot continue to convert the entire world to paved
streets grass lawns, grain fields, and greenhouses.


The word pollution is derived from the Latin word 'pollutionem', meaning
defilement (Haney, 1966). 'Today water resources have been the most exploited
natural system since man strode the earth. Pollution of water bodies is increasing
steadily due to rapid population growth, industrial proliferations, urbanizations,
increasing living standards and wide spheres of human activities. Time is, perhaps
not too far when pure and clean water, particularly in densely populated,
industrialized water scarce areas may be inadequate for maintaining the normal
living standards.

Ground water, rivers, seas, lakes, ponds and streams are founding it more
and more difficult to escape from pollution. Many rivers of the world receive heavy
flux of sewage, industrial effluents, domestic and agricultural wastes which consist
of substances varying from simple nutrient to highly toxic hazardous chemicals.

In India, all the major 14 rivers e.g. Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Gomti, Kosi,
Cauvery, Ravi, Sone, Chenab, Jhelum, Narmada, Mahi, Tapti and Krishna are facing
acute water pollution problems. In Varanasi alone about 35000 human bodies are
cremated on funeral pyres every year. Most of the large rivers of the world are
nothing but open sewers fit only to carry urban liquid wastes; half burnt bodies,
poisonous pesticides and several other waste products. Many of our lakes, including
Dal and Nagin lake of Kashmir have become severely JX}lluted with foul odour, silt
deJX>8its and get chocked due to excessive algal growths.

The deterioration of the aesthetic and life supporting qualities of natural lakes
and estuaries is caused by excessive fertilization due to effiuents rich in nitrogen,
phosphorus, potassium and organic growth substances. Various flora and fauna are
affected and men themselves encounter numerous serious problems in water
system. Several natural impurities which come from atmosphere, catchment areas
and the soil are directly added to water. 80 the water contains several dissolved
gases (N2, CO2, H2, C12, NlI3, 802, NOx and H2S etc.), dissolved mineral salts
(Ca, Na, Mg, K,Fe, Mn and Co), suspended matters (sand, clay, silt) and even
microbes. Also, some of the dumped cheinicals that were safely flushed away (e.g.
Hg, Cd, As, Pb, PCBs etc.) are now coming to haunt us.

Even the most unpolluted geographically clean areas, the rain water
consisting of dissolved oxygen, nitrogen, carbon-dioxide, dust and particulates
picked up from the atmosphere, adds to the ground water. Now pollution of water
bodies has become universal phenomenon in the present day world.

The problem is-what would happen when the water pollutants gathered in the
sea water reach the threshold levels of toxicity at which phytoplanktons (which
account for 60% of our photosynthetic oxygen) cease to function?

Also what would happen when dissolved oxygen would be depleted by biological
oxygen demand?

Then plant and animal life would disappear, because of death or migration. Bacterial
decomposition shifts from aerobic (02 -requiring) to anaerobic (not requiring 02)
conditions. The products of metabolism will change. Following reactions are
expected to occur.

(1) Under Aerobic Conditions---

C → CO2N N→ NH3 + HNO3
S → H2SO4 P→ H3PO4
The products so formed are not so toxic.

(2) Under Anaerobic Conditions---

C → CH4, C2H4, C2H2, etc.

S → H2S
N→ NH3, Amines
P→ PH3 +Lower valent phosphorus compounds

These decomposition products tend to be more odouriferous, turbid, and are likely to
be more toxic.

The main worry is- How is this situation to be faced?

What arguments should be proposed to the concerned pollution problems?

"Industrial societies" do indulge in a lot of water pollution making it foul smelling,

unpleasant, two -bid and unfit for drinking purposes.

However, some questions need to be posed. For example, is it right to think that the
so-called "advanced" societies obsessed by technological progress and industrial
development, are going to -be globally less and less pollutant in the near future ?

Techno-science has desacralised natural water. Does such a utilitarian technique

provide a cultural base adequate for the fight against water pollution? However, little
attention has been paid to these problems because water is a renewable resource,
globally abundant, and is constantly recycled through natural distillation via solar
evaporation, cloud condensation and rain fall etc. This water is being eminently and
intril1Sically respectable. Some scientists believe that" to solve the "problem of
water pollution", we must restore to this substance its sacred nature.

Definitions of Water Pollution

Water pollution may be defined in a number of ways:

(1) Alteration in physical, chemical and biological characteristics of water which may
be' cause harmful effects on human and aquatic biota.
(Restoring the Quality of our Environment, Report 1965, President's Science
Advisory Committee, Washington, USA)

(2) Addition of excess of undesirable substances to water that make it harmful to
man, ar1imal and aquatic life, or otherwise causes significant departures from the
normal activities of various living" communities in or around water.

(3) Any adverse change in conditions or composition of the water 80 that it becomes
less suitable for the purpose for which it would be suitable in its natural state.

(4) As the deterioration in physical, chemical and biological properties of water

brought about; mainly by human activities and natural resources.
(C.S. Southwick, 1976, Ecology and the Quality of our Environment,
New York)
(5) Water pollution altogether nullifies or decreases the suitability of water resources
for human consumption or for the support of man's natural life process. (Felfoldy
(6) Addition of foreign adverse materials which interfere with water's chemical
characteristics and its use for legitimate purposes.

(7) Foreign substances, either from natural or anthropogenic sources, contaminated

with water supplies, may be harmful to life because of their toxicity, reduction of
normal oxygen level of water, aesthetically unsuitable and spread epidemic
(World Health Organisation, 1966)
(8) As a natural or induced change in the quality of water which renders it unsuitable
and toxic as regards food, man and animal health, industry, agriculture, fishing or
leisure pursuits. (P. Vivier, 1968)

(9) Water is said to be polluted if it has not been of sufficiently high quality to be
useful for man in present or future. (National Water Commission, 1975)

(10) Water gets polluted when its normal functions and properties are altered. It
indicates the state of deviation from the quality and purity of water sample.

(11) The addition of any organic, inorganic, biological or radiological substances to

water which changes its natural qualities so that the riparian proprietor does not get
the natural water.

(12) Water pollution indicates the physical contamination of terrestrial aquatic

environment. (Oxford Dictionary)

(13) Pollution means the presence of any toxic substance in water that
degrades the quality to constitute a hazard or impair its usefulness. (United
States Public Health Service)

(14) Water pollution is caused due to harmful solids, liquids or gases which are
non-permissible, undesirable, unpleasant and objectionable. (Baumann, 1965)

(15) Pollution reduces the number of species and destroys the balance of life in
streams and is evidenced by the biological indices of community diversity. (Dr.
Ruth Patrick, 1955)

(16) Pollution is the entry of foreign material in water to render it unfit for a
specific use. (Dr.Bhargava,1977)

(17) Water pollution is a by-product of rapid and unplanned industrial

progress and over population.

18) Discharge of any sewage or trade effluent or any other liquid, gaseous and
solid substance into water. This contamination of water by foreign substances
may be direct or indirect and likely to cause nuisance and render such water
harmful or injurious to public health, safety, domestic, commercial, industrial,
agricultural and other uses or to life and health of animals, plants or aquatic

(19) Water pollution refers to any type of aquatic contamination between

two extremes.

(i) An over productive highly enriched biotic community with nutrients

from domestic sewage or fertilizers, and
(ii) A body of water poisoned by toxic chemicals which prevent living
organisms or even excludes all forms of life.

Thus water pollution disturbs the normal uses of water for irrigation, agriculture,
industries, public water supply and & aquatic life. It is now considered not only in
terms of public health, but also in terms of conservation, aesthetics and preservation
of natural beauty and resources. Actually it represents the state of deviation from the
pure condition, where- by its normal function and properties are affected. Any shift in
the naturally dynamic equilibrium existing: among environmental segments i.e
hydrosphere, atmosphere, lithosphere or sediments gives rise to the state of water

Water pollution in mainly caused by-

(1) Natural proce88 in which the decomposed vegetable, animal and weathered
products are brought into main water resources. All these processes are
interdependent on each other and lead to deterioration of natural environment. For
instance, if organic waste is added to water, it will not only influence the chemical
characteristics, but will also affect colour, odour and biological properties of water.
(2) Anthropogenic processes such as industrial, agricultural, urban, domestic,
radioactive, mining sources, use of pesticides and fertilizers by man etc. These
pollutants are constantly poured in water deteriorating it to such an extent that it
becomes unfit for living communities.
Types of Water Pollution

Water pollution can be classified mainly into four categories. These are :
(1) Physical Pollution of Water
(2) Chemical Pollution of Water
(3) Biological Pollution of Water
(4) Physiological Pollution of Water

(1) Physical Pollution of Water

The physical pollution of water brings about changes in water with regard to its
colour, odour, density, taste, turbidity and thermal properties etc.

Suspended Solids


Suspended material may be objectionable in water for several reasons. It is

aesthetically displeasing and provides adsorption sites for chemical and biological
agents. Suspended organic solids may be degraded biologically, resulting in
objectionable by-products. Biologically active (live) suspended solids may include
disease-causing organisms as well as organisms such as toxin-producing strains of



When turbid water in a small, transparent container, such as a drinking glass, is held
up to the light, an aesthetically displeasing opaqueness or "milky" coloration is
apparent. The colloidal material associated with turbidity provides adsorption sites
for chemicals that may be harmful or cause undesirable tastes and odors and for
biological organisms that may be harmful. Disinfection of turbid waters is difficult
because of the adsorptive characteristics of some colloids and because the solids
may partially shield organisms from the disinfectant.

In natural water bodies, turbidity may impart a brown or other color to water,
depending on the light-absorbing properties of the solids and may interfere with light
penetration and photosynthetic reactions in streams and lakes. Accumulation of
turbidity-causing particles in porous streambeds results in sediment deposits that
can adversely affect the flora and fauna of the stream.



Colored water is not aesthetically acceptable to the general public. In fact, given a
choice, consumers tend to choose clear, noncolored water of otherwise poorer
quality over treated potable water supplies with an objectionable color. Highly
colored water is unsuitable for laundering, dyeing, papermaking, beverage
manufacturing, dairy production and other food processing, and textile and plastic
production. Thus, the color of water affects its marketability for both domestic and
industrial use.

While true color is not usually considered unsanitary or unsafe, the organic
compounds causing true color may exert a chlorine demand and thereby seriously
reduce the effectiveness of chlorine as a disinfectant. Perhaps more important are
the products formed b the combination of chlorine with some color producing
organic. Phenolic compounds, common constituents of vegetative be decay
products, produce very objectionable taste and odor compounds wit chlorine.
Additionally, some compounds of naturally occurring organic acids and chlorine are
either known to be, or are suspected of being, carcinogens (cancer-causing agents).

Taste And Odor


Consumers find taste and odor aesthetically displeasing for obvious reasons.
Because water is thought of as tasteless and odorless, the consumer associates
taste and odor with contamination and may prefer to use tasteless, odorless water
that might actually pose more of a health threat. And odors produced by organic
substances may pose more than a problem of simple aesthetics, since some of
those substances may be carcinogenic



Cooler waters usually have a wider diversity of biological species. At lower

temperatures, the rate of biological activity, i.e., utilization of food supplies, growth,
reproduction, etc., is slower. If the temperature is increased, biological activity
increases. An increase of 10oC is usually sufficient to double the biological activity, if
essential nutrients are present. At elevated temperatures and increased metabolic
rates, organisms that are more efficient at food utilization and reproduction flourish,
while other species decline and are perhaps eliminated altogether. Accelerated
growth of algae often occurs in warm water and can become a problem when cells
cluster into algae mats. Natural secretion of oils by algae in the mats and the decay
products of dead algae cells can result in taste and odor problems. Higher-order
species, such as fish, are affected dramatically by temperature and by dissolved
oxygen levels, which are functions of temperature. Game fish generally require
cooler temperatures and higher dissolved-oxygen levels.

Temperature changes affect the reaction rates and solubility levels of chemicals, a
subject more fully explored in later sections of this chapter. Most chemical reactions
involving dissolution of solids are accelerated by increased temperatures. The
solubility of gases, on the other hand, decreases at elevated temperatures. Because
biological oxidation of organics in streams and impoundments is dependent on an
adequate supply of dissolved oxygen, decrease in oxygen solubility is undesirable.

Temperature also affects other physical properties of water. The viscosity of water
increases with decreasing temperature. The maximum density of water occurs at
4oC, and density decreases on either side of that temperature, a unique

phenomenon among liquids. Both temperature and density have a subtle effect on
planktonic microorganisms in natural water systems.

Total Dissolved Solids


Many dissolved substances are undesirable in water. Dissolved minerals, gases

and organic constituents may produce aesthetically displeasing color, tastes, and
odors. Some chemicals may be toxic, and some of the dissolved organic
constituents have been shown to be carcinogenic. Quite often, two or more
dissolved substances-especially organic substances and members of the halogen
group-will combine to form a compound whose characteristics are more
objectionable than those of either of the original materials.

Not all dissolved substances are undesirable in water. For example, essentially
pure, distilled water has a flat taste. Additional, water has an equilibrium state with
respect to dissolved constituents. An under saturated water will be "aggressive" and
will more readily dissolve materials with which it comes in contact. Readily
dissolvable material is sometimes added to a relatively pure water to reduce its
tendency to dissolve pipes and plumbing.



In large quantities, alkalinity imparts a bitter to water. The principal objection to

alkaline water, however, is the reactions that can occur between alkalinity and certain
cations in the water. The resultant precipitate can foul pipes and other water-system



Soap consumption by hard waters represents an economic loss to the water user.
Sodium soaps react with multivalent metallic cations to form a precipitate, thereby
losing their surfactant properties. A typical divalent cation reaction is:

2NaCO2C17H33 + cation2+ cation2+(CO2C17H33)2 + 2Na+

Soap Precipitate

Lathering does not occur until all of the hardness ions are precipitated, at which point
the water has been "softened" by the soap. The precipitate formed by hardness and
soap adheres to surfaces of tubs, sinks, and dishwashers and may stain clothing,
dishes, and other items. Residues of the hardness-shop precipitate may remain in
the pores, so that skin may feel rough and uncomfortable. In recent years these
problems have been largely alleviated by the development of soaps and detergents
that do not react with hardness.

Boiler scale the result of the carbonate hardness precipitate may considerable
economic loss through fouling of water heaters and hot-water pipes. Changes in pH
in the water distribution systems may also result in deposits of precipitates.
Becarbonates begin to convert to the less soluble carbonates at pH values above

Magnesium hardness, particularly associated with the sulfate ion, has a laxative
effect on persons unaccustomed to it. Magnesium concentrations of less than 50
mg/L are desirable in potable waters, although many public water supplies exceed
this amount. Calcium hardness presents no public health problem. In fact hard
water is apparently beneficial to the human cardiovascular system.


As noted earlier, toxic metals are harmful to humans and other organisms in small
quantities. Toxic metals that may be dissolved in water include arsenic, bariu
cadmium, chromium, lead and mercury are particularly hazardous. These metals
are concentrated by the food chain, thereby posing the greatest danger to organisms
near the top of the chain.

Fortunately, toxic metals are present in only minute quantities in most natural water
systems. Although natural sources of all the toxic metals exist, significant
concentration in water can usually be traced to mining, industrial, or agricultural


Many organic materials are soluble in water. Organics in natural water systems may
come from natural sources or may result from human activities. Most natural
organics consist of the decay products of organic solids, while synthetic organics are
usually the result of wastewater discharges or agricultural practices. Dissolved
organis in water are usually divided into two broad categories: biodegradable and
non-biodegradable (refractory).

Biodegradable Organics

Biodegradable material consists of organics that can be utilized for food by naturally
occurring microorganisms within a reasonable length of time. In dissolved form,
these materials usually consist of starches fats, proteins, alcohols, acids, aldehydes,
and esters. They may be the end product o the initial microbial decomposition of
plant or animal tissue, or they may result from domestic or industrial wastewater
discharges. Although some of these materials can cause color, taste, and odor
problems, the principal problem associated with biodegradable organics is a
secondary effect resulting from the action of microorganisms on these substances

Non-Biodegradable Organic Pollutants

These pollutants are those which persist in the aquatic system for a long time. For
Example, pesticides, fungicides, bactericides, herbicides, insecticides nematocides,
rodenticides and miticides etc. The use of these organic compounds in protecting
agricultural products also posses serious water pollution problems, because these
toxic chemicals ultimately find their way into the nearby water course.

Several gases, toxic metals and compound have been included in inorganic
pollutants, because they also degrade water quality seriously.

Physiological Pollution of Water

Physiological pollution of water is caused by several chemical agents such as

chlorine, sulphur dioxide, hydrogen sulphide, ketones, phenols, amines, mercaptans
and hydroxyl benzene. USPHS has laid down the limits only 0.002 ppm. Of these
substances. Chlorination of water usually coverts phenol to ortho or para choro
phenol which tastes lime medicine and produces offensive odor.

Types of Water Pollution

Water pollution may be divided into five categories on the basis of sources and
storages of water.

1. Ground Water Pollution

2. Surface Water Pollution
3. Lake Water Pollution
4. River Water Pollution
5. Sea Water Pollution

Sources of Water Pollution

Water, the most abundant and wonderful natural resource, is extremely essential for
survival of all living organisms. But today clean water has become a precious
commodity an its quality is threatened by numerous sources of pollution which are as

1. Sewage and Domestic Wastes

2. Industrial Effluents
3. Agricultural Discharges
4. Fertilizers
5. Detergents
6. Toxic Metals
7. Siltation
8. Thermal Pollutants, and Radioactive Materials

Classification of Water Pollutants

Water pollution is due to the following pollutants or contaminats-

1. Inorganic Pollutants and Toxic Metals
2. Organic Pollutants
3. Sediments
4. Synthetic Detergents
5. Oxygen-demanding Wastes
6. Disease Causing Agents
7. Radio Active Pollutants
8. Plant Nutrients
9. Thermal Pollutants
10. Biological Pollutants
11. Pesticide Pollutants
12. Gaseous Pollutants
13. Farm-wastes and Fertilizers
14. Suspended Matters
15. Auto-exhaust as Water Pollutant.

Basic Information on Noise Pollution

Noise can be defined as unwanted sound or sound in the wrong place at the wrong
time. Noise can also be defined as any sound that is undesirable because it
interferes with speech and hearing, is intense enough to damage hearing, or s
otherwise annoying. The definition of noise as unwanted sound implies that it has an
adverse effect on human beings and their environment, including land, structures,
and domestic animals. Noise can also disturb natural wildlife and ecological

Sound is mechanical energy from a vibrating surface, transmitted by cycling series of

compressions and rarefactions of molecules of the materials through which it
passes. Sound can be transmitted through gases, liquids, and solids. A vibrating
source producing sound has a total power output, and the sound results in sound
pressure hat alternately rises to a maximum pressure of compression and drops to a
minimum pressure of rarefaction. The number of compressions and rarefactions of
the air molecules in a unit of time is described as its frequency. Frequency is
expressed in Hertz (Hz), which is the same as the number of cycles per second.
Humans can identify sounds with frequencies from about 16 to 20,000 Hz.

Sound power or sound pressure do not provide practical units for sound or noise
measurement for two basic reasons. First, a tremendous range of sound power and
sound pressure can be produced. Expressed in microbars (one-millionth of 1 atm
pressure), the range is from 0.0002 to 10,000 μ bars for peak noises within 100 ft
from large jet and rocket propulsion devices. Second, the human ear does not
respond linearly to increases in sound pressure. The nonlinear response is
essentially logarithmic. Therefore noise measurements are expressed by the term
"sound pressure level" (SPL), which is the logarithmic ratio of the sound pressure to
a reference pressure and is expressed as a dimensionless unit of power, the decibel
(dB). The reference pressures and is expressed as a dimensionless unit of power,

the decibel (dB). The reference level is 0.0002 μbars, the threshold of human
hearing. The equation for sound pressure level is as follows.

SPL = 20 log10 (p/p0)

Where SPL = sound pressure level, dB

P = sound pressure, μbars
P0 = reference pressure, 0.0002 μbars

Table 1 contains a summary of various sound pressures and the corresponding

decibel levels, with examples of recognized noise sources cited. Conventional
speech has a sound pressure of 0.2 μbars and a SPL of 60 dB, while sound
pressure from light trucks at 20 ft is 2 μbars (10 times greater than conventional
speech), and the SPL is 80 dB. Since the SPL of 70 dB from one source
superimposed on a SPL of 72 dB does not result in 142 dB. A SPL of 74.1 dB
results. To determine the resultant dB level, it is necessary to convert decibel
readings to sound pressures, add these pressures, and then reconvert the resultant
ratio to the decibel value. Table 2 is provided as an aid for determining the
cumulative decibel level of two or more individual noise sources.

In most noise considerations, the A-weighted sound level is used. This scale is
appropriate because the human ear does not respond uniformly to sounds of al
frequencies, being less efficient in low and high frequencies than it is at medium or
speech frequencies. To obtain a single number representing a sound level
containing a wide range of frequencies and yet representative of the human
response, it is necessary to weight the low and high frequencies with respect to
medium frequencies. The resultant SPL is "A weighted," and the units are dBA. The
A-weighted sound level is also called the noise level. Sound-level meters have an A-
weighted network, thus yielding A-weighted dB readings.

Table 1. SPL, Sound Pressure, and Recognized sources of Noise in Our daily

Sound pressure, SPL dBA Example

0.0002 0
0.00063 10
0.002 20
0.0063 30
0.02 40
0.063 50
0.2 60
0.63 70
1.0 80
2.0 90
6.3 100
20 110
63 120



Oceans are the major source of water supply in the world. More than 70% of the
earth's surface is covered by water bodies. Within this vast liquid expanse lie
inexhaustible amount of food, mineral, energy, salinity gradients besides coal, oil and
gas. Completed by the impending depletion of land resources, man looks to the sea
in a frantic search for more and more resources to meet the increasing demand of
population. In this pursuit man is prone to destroy the aquatic environment either by
mismanaging or by over exploitation. Man's activities are largely responsible for
measurable and detrimental effects on the aquatic environment. Oil pollution in the
sea appears to be the main factor which poses serious threat to the marine
ecosystem and fisheries of the worlds. Now the oil pollution of harbours, bays, rivers,
beaches and open oceans has been increasing tremendously every day.

What is Marine Pollution

Marine pollution is defined as the discharge of waste substances into the sea
resulting in harm to living resources, hazards to human health, hindrance to fishery
and impairment of quality for use of sea water. Marine pollution is associated with the
changes in Physical, chemical and biological conditions of the sea water. This water
is also unfit for human consumption and industrial purposes because of high salt
content. Chemically it is solution of 0.5 m NaCl 2 and 0.005 m MgsO4 containing
traces of all conceivable matter in the universe.

Sources Oil Pollutants in Sea Water

Major sources of oil pollution in sea water are as follows:

1. Cargo Tanker Washings at Sea - A recent estimate indicates that about 3

million tones of oil are added annually to the sea by using sea water as ballast
for empty tankers. If is mixed into water when the ballast gets dumped and
caries residual oil from the tanker. It can coat 20 feet wide and half an inch
deep oil layer for 8700 miles in a beach.
2. Import Oil Losses- Collisions in port contribute one million tonne of oil in sea
water annually.
3. Bilge Pumping at Sea- The dumping of bilge contents by ships adds nearly
5,00,000 tonnes of oil per ear in sea water, wile total influx of oil into ocean
has been 5 to 10 million tones annually.
4. Recent oil based technology and vessel accidents near se shore add to
extensive marine oil pollution.
5. It is estimated that to million tones of used lubricating oil are added every year
in coastal waters. Maritime accidents due to collision, fire explosion or
grounding also result in oil release in water.
6. International discharge of oily wastes from tank washings and accidental
spillages pollute the sea water severely. From Indra dock basin alone, more

than 90,000 litres of waste oil was collected in 1984. A recent report shows
that about 20 billion tones of wastes per year from industries, homes, farms
and municipalities end up in sea.
7. Oil leakage from 20,000 miles of pope lines which cross water ways may
undergo corrosion cracks or punctures and would lead to oil pollution in sea
8. The blow out of wells, disposal of drilling muds, accidental damages to
offshore drilling rigs add to oil pollution in water.
9. Oily wastes from oil fields or refineries near the coast produce problems in
coastal water. Shipping operations at the coastal belt add light diesel oil and
crude petroleum to sea water.
10. Today refined petroleum products meet more than 60% of the world's energy
requirement. Annually about 25 billion barrels (800 billion gallons) of
petroleum are consumed on a global basis. Such large consumption results
in some losses, international or accidental, which severely pollute the marine
11. Oil spills mixed with urban sewage, silt, plastics, pesticides and insidious
toxic compounds are pervasive and complex the pollution problems sea. Toxic
substances abound oil spilling into the oceans at 10 times the rate of natural
seeps, while lead being deposited on soil and in waterways 100 times.
Cadmium being released 40 times, radio-nuclides many times and acidity of
precipitation over millions of square kilometers increasing 10-fold, are
ultimately added to oceans.

A recent study by the United Nations Group of experts on the "Scientific

Aspects of Marine Pollution" concluded that chemical contamination and litter
can be observed from the poles to the tropics and from beaches to abyssal
depths. We fear, especially in view of the continuing growth of population, that
the marine environment could deteriorate significantly in the coming decades
unless strong, effective and coordinated national and international actions are

Oil Tank Wrecks -A Major Pollution

In a paper on "Incidence and Control of Marine Pollution" presented at a seminar

on "Marine Pollution and Control" held in April 1992 in New Delhi, it was said that
marine pollution has become as serious, if not more, a problem, as fresh water
pollution. The wreckages of oil tankers in open seas forms a major oil pollutant in
marine environment with high tides washing tar lamps to the shores and damaging
recreational facilities n beaches.

In developing countries, the rapid pace of industrialization and population explosion,

coupled with the release of waste waters, both industrial and domestic, have
rendered the availability of desirable quality of water, both industrial and domestic,
have rendered the availability of desirable quality of water, a rare commodity.

Naval vessels, passenger liners, oil tankers, ore carriers etc. cause pollution,
especially in ports, docks and jetties with the main source of pollution being kitchens,
toilets, engines, rooms and bilge washings, solid wastes, and exhausts from
propeller engines, the paper said. The major part of the pollution in the marine

environment, however, flows from land, dumping of hazardous chemicals and
radioactive wastes in the open and deep seas.

Another cause of pollution of the marine environment is the extensive promotion of

beach tourism. Because of scenic beauty of the sea, big hotels are coming up on
beaches and shores and these discharge sanitary and kitchen waste waters into
coastal zone generating intense localized pollution.

Population Explosion Hits Coastal Ecosystems

According to a report by department of Ocean Development, there are 40 heavily

polluted areas along the Indian coast. Most of the metropolitan port cities and thickly
populated coastal towns are facing severe marine pollution problems. Untreated
domestic and industrial wastes are a serious problem off Porbandar, Bombay,
Thiruvananthapuram, Tuticorin, Madras, Kakinada, Calcutta and Visakhapattnam,
Pollutant get accumulated in marine sediments, as , e.g., in Kochi back waters and
Ennore (Madras estuary. It is feared that heavy pollution from the expanding
population ma severely affect the marine organisms. Important coastal pollution aeas
in India are-

Gujarat - High levels of BOD and of nitrites. Several seaweed species have been
wiped out possibly due to caustic soda industry.

Tamil Nadu- Low dissolved oxygen levels off Madras and high mercury and bacterial
levels of tuticorin.

Orissa - Low levels of dissolved oxygen (DO) off Gopalpur and high levels of lead
and mercury in sediment.

Maharastra- Low levels of dissolved oxygen (DO) which reduced almost to zero in
1991 in Thane and Mahim creeks. High concentration of cadmium an mercury off

West Bengal- High bacterial levels and low dissolved oxygen (DO) in the Ganga
delta and of Calcutta.

Andhra Pradesh - Heavy sewage pollution off Kakinada and Visakhapattnam.

Karnataka- Domestic sewage has reduced the dissolved oxygen (DO) levels off

Kerala- Petroleum hydrocarbons from fishing vessels off Kannur; timer and rayon
industrial wastes; mercury and copper off Kannur; timber and rayon industrial
wastes; mercury and coper off Kohikode; copper off Kochi and Kollam, and titanim
factor effluents off Thiruvananthpuram. Sea sediments off Vizhinjam and Kozhikode
are contaminated by sewage.

Transportation of Oil-Spill in Marine Environment

Oil is transported mainly by wind, currents, waves and tides in marine ecosystem.
The dispersal of oil and its persistence in sea water are effected by the kind of oil,
chemical composition, specific gravity, temperature and the state in which it is
discharged into the sea. The distributed oil is then subjected to natural processes,
like evaporation, dissolution, emulsification, oxidation, sedimentation and uptake by
marine organisms.

Due to these interactions, the volatile components of oil such as low boiling
aromatics (benzene, phenanthrene), paraffins (n-hexane, 2,3-dimethyl hexane),
cycloparaffins (cyclohexane,2,3-bicyclo octane) readily evaporate. Highly soluble
aromatics can be removed by dissolution. Less resistant paraffins get readily
degraded by bacteria. Heavy oil resides disintegrate as tar lumps or tar bills wasted
into the beaches.

Recent Oil Spills in Marine Water

1. Torry Canyon Accident - The world's first disastrous consequences of an oil

spill occurred on 18 March 1967 when a Liberian tanker, Torry Canyon ran
aground on the southwest coast of Great Britain, near the entrance to the
English Channel, spilling 60,000 tonnes of crude oil into the sea. Oil splattered
on to 160 km of coast line killing countless number of fishes birds and aquatic
2. In January 1969 occurred the second major oil spill off the coast of Santa
Barbara in the United s=States when an offshore oil blew out resulting in
discharge of oil over water surface. It caused extensive destruction of the
coastal marine fauna.
3. In July 18, 1973, M.V. cosmos Pioneer broke into two near Porbander due
to rough weather releasing 18,000 tonnes of light diesel oil. It caused
considerable deterioration to the pelagic fisheries of the Gujarat coast.
4. In September 1974, an American oil tanker Transhuron collided with one of
the atolls of the Kilton Island in the Laccadives sea spilling 5000tonnes of
navy special furnace oil on the beaches causing extensive damage to the
inter-tidal fauna.
5. In July 1976, a Greek tanker disappeared in rough sea off Vraual. Large
slicks of oil were observed for several days floating on the surface close to the
Indian coast.
6. The leakage of 100,000 tonnes of crude oil from the wreckage of tanker
vessel Urquiola near the Spanish coats Lacoruna on May 12,1976 revealed
the nature of oil spilling damaging the aquatic flora.
7. In 1978, in the much publicized Amoco Cadiz disaster 68 million gallons of oil
was dumped all along the French coast.
8. An American Navy super Tanker Sealift Mediterranean on April 1978 ran
aground at rondo island of northern tip of Sumatra spilling 1000 tonnes of
black oil. This oil moved for several days very close to the Island of Great
9. One such oil disaster also occurred in Bombay High on July 30,1982, when
ONGC suffered a loss of Rs. 900 million including damage or drilling rigns and
precious crude oils.

10. A major oil spilling occurred on July 30, 1987 when a large oil tanker of Union
Oil Company leaked 117,000 tonnes of crude oil into the sea.
11. On March 24, 1989 - The super tanker Exxon Valdez belonging to Ezzon
corporation, the larges petroleum company in the world, plied on to reef off
the coasts of Alaska. The 30,000tonnes supertanker spilled over 11 million
gallons of oil into the clean waters of Alaska's Prince William Sound. As the
oil hit 1930 km. of shoreline, 100,000 seabirds including 150 rare species of
bald eagles died. Numerous dead seals sank to the bottom or ocean. About
1000 sea otters perished. Even a few deer and a couple of bears that fed on
the shoreline were found dead.
12. Collision in Maltese Tanker - On June 1989, an oil spill threatened the
Indian coast when a Maltese tanker M.T. Puppy collided with British vessel. It
spilled over 5500 tonnes of furnace oil into the open seas off Bombay. The
fear of oil contamination in fish brought the fish industry to a virtual halt as
people feared that fish eating might cause cancer.

Recently an assessment of petroleum pollution of the world's oceans by the

National Academy of sciences, Washington indicates that between 1.7 to 8.8
million metric tones of oil enter the oceans every year

Effects of Oil Pollution in Marine Water

Oil pollution in water has been an inevitable consequence of the dependence of

rapidly growing population on oil based technology. The overall detrimental effects of
oil pollution in sea water are as follows-

1. Physical effects of Oil in Water

The adverse effects caused by oil coating and asphyxiation are as under-
(i) Reduction in Dissolved Oxygen- Oil films are able to retard significantly
the rate of oxygen uptake by water.
(ii) Reduction in Light Penetration- Oil slick decrease the light intensity
upto 90% only 2 metres below the surface of water than in clean water.
Such diffused light may hamper the photosynthesis in aquatic life.
(iii) Smothering -Smothering coats of oil have killed lichens and algae along
the shore lines.

2. Effect of Oil Pollution on Marine Ecosystem

(i) Extensive spreading of oil effects the floating plantation and marine life
severely. In areas of oil exploration, fishing ear and craft operation get
critically affected by crude oil and lumps of oily tar.
(ii) Waste from oil refineries and discharged petroleum from ships cause
heavy damage to fishery. Recently heaps of dead fish were washed
ashore between Dabolim and Velcao coast in Goa It created a big scare
especially among fisherman. Fish catches have to be dangerous effluent
discharge from the Zuari-Agro CDhemical Fertilizer factory.
(iii) Oil spilling causes lethal toxicity on aquatic flora. B.F. Chapgar (1981)
reported large scale fish kill near the Bombay coast.

(iv) Adult marine organisms can not survive on exposure to 1 to 100 ppm. Of
soluble aromatics contained in oil, while even 0.1 ppm acts as a lethal
dose for fish larvae.
(v) Oil pollutants may block the taste receptors of organism and may mimic
the natural stimulation which gives rise to false responses to organisms.
(vi) Emulsified oil may reach the bottom of sea damaging aquatic animals and
plans. Oil may serve as a concentration medium for fat soluble poisons
lime pesticides. These poisons may seriously accumulate in aquatic biota
posing deleterious effects.

Effects of Oil Pollution on Man

Oil pollution in marine water also affects man critically in the following ways-

(i) Paraffins, lime methane and ethane are asphyxiants i.e., they cause acute
suffocation. Some paraffins are central nervous system depressants.
Liquid paraffins can remove oil from exposed skin causing dermatitis and
pneumonia in lung tissues.
(ii) Breathing higher concentrations of unsaturated cycloparaffins can result in
irritation and anaesthesia.
(iii) Aromatic thiophenes, benzothiophenes and mercaptans are lethal as they
damage liver and kidneys.

Effects of Oil Pollution on Birds

The tragic images of deadly oil spills threaten to set into motion an unprecedented
ecological disaster. Ironically the oil that drives millions of vehicles around the world,
sometimes drives countless birds and animals to a most cruel death.

(i) Birds are specially vulnerable to damage from oil coating. The spilled oil
break down their natural insulating oils and waxes which shield the birds
from water. Ultimately they lose insulation, start shivering and may freeze
to death in winter. About 25,000 birds died in Torry Canyon incident.
(ii) Oil spilling in sea water causes abnormally low body temperature in birds
resulting in hypothermia. Nearly 150 rare species of bald eagles also
became victim when they ingested oil during Exxon Valdez accident,
scavenging an oily sea bird carcasses.
(iii) About 1000 sea otters died when their fur became saturated with oil by
losing insulation. Several birds developed respiratory ailments because
volatile components of oil weakened membranes in their lungs. Others
suffered liver and kidney damage caused by ingesting oil while cleaning their
In addition to these severe effects, oil and tar coated beaches are anaesthetic.

Control of Oil Pollution In Sea Water

The National Institute of Oceanography in India and Central Marine Fisheries

Research Institute have carried extensive studies in investigating the aspects of
marine pollution and its effects on living beings. However, a knowledge of the
distribution of oil and the location of its concentration is necessary before effective
measures can be taken to confine, control and clean up of the oil slicks. Reliable

information on the thickness of the oil film is required to estimate the volume of slick
essential for an assessment of its impact on marine environment.

Experiments conducted in the East coast of USA by Dr. J..P. Hollinger and R.A.
Mannella (1974) have shown distribution of oil on sea surfaces and of measuring
their volumes in all weathers.

Accidental discharge of oil can be cleaned up by several methods. But the best
effective method of controlling oil contamination from the aquatic environment is the
prevention of avoidable oil spills and their releases. Mechanical containment and
removal of oil appear ideal from the point of view of avoiding long term biological
damage protecting sea water from pollution hazard.

Recently, scientists at NID have initiated the testing of petroleum hydrocarbons in

Indian oceans. The Indian coast guard organization will also tackle accidental oil
spill. ONGC will take aid from United Nations Development Programme to control
accidental oil spills and blowouts at their offshore installations.

Cleaning Oil from Birds

Although cleaning away the oil from birds causes a severe strain on them yet the
birds can be saved from dying. Recently the British Wild Life Rescue Association has
designed wool sweaters which can absorb oil form the stricken birds. Sweaters have
also been used to clean birds in the North Sea and were found more effective than
cleaning with detergents.
Counter Measures Against Oil Spills

Several methods have been devised to deal with oil floating on the sea. These
methods are as follows-
Physical Methods-1. Skimming the oil off the surface with a suction device
appears to be the simplest method.
2. The floating oil can be absorbed using a suitable absorbing material like
polyurethane foam. Chopped straw and saw dust can also be used to absorb oil from
the sea water.
3. Chemicals can be used to coagulate the oil.
4. By spreading a powder of high density over the oil patch by which oil can be sunk
to the bottom.
5. Chalk treated with stearate and 10% sand in water slurry removes the oil
Chemical methods-
1. Dispersion-
2. Evaporation-
3. Emulsification-
4. Absorbents-
5. Burning the Oil Slick
6. Using Chemical Additives
7. Floating Booms
8. Improved Navigation Aids

Role of Micro-Organism in Oil Clean up Operation
Recently oil eating bacteria are being increasingly used to combat oil pollution
problems in water. Accelerated bacterial seeding and fertilization of oil slicks account
as the best effective measure against marine oil pollution.
Operation Clean Up
In the clean up operations either genetically engineered organisms or
biotechnological approaches have been adopted to solve vexed pollution problems.
Certain bacteria like "Pseudomonas" are also being employed in the recovery of oil.
Micro-organisms that utilize hydrocarbons are found universally on soil, water and oil
rich areas where they consume free available hydrocarbon as a source of energy
and as building material i.e. as a source of carbon.
Today the spectre of destruction looms larger on the horizon as a massive oil spill in
the Gulf. So biotechnology can be applied to tackle the hazard created by oil spills.
It includes toxic biocides, chemical effluents and heavy metals like mercury, iron and
lead. Two ways adopted are-
(i) Microbes can be deployed as voracious scavengers removing all kind of
oil pollutants. Various varieties of Pseudomonas can consume esteric
compounds and hydrocarbons from the oil. The gene secreting enzymes
are found on plasmids, small and semi-autonomous rings of DNA. Some
microbes can ingest dispersed oil droplets and subsequently deposit
them as faecal pellets.
(ii) The root cause can be attacked by using biotechnological production
methods that/are less' polluting. For instance, microbes can be fed on
innocuous raw materials like sugar to produce biopolymers while
conventional meU1ods Use oil based pollution creating raw materials.

Owing to some limitations with genetically engineered microbes, scienists have
shifted their research to use microbial products in the oil clean up operations.
Table: The Oceans
Ocean Area in sq. km. Area in miles Depth in metres
Pacific 166,240,000 64,186,300 10915
Atlantic 82,217,000 31,744,400 9200
Indian 73,481,000 28,371,000 8047
Arctic 14,056,000 5,427,000 5450

Using Microbial Products In Clean Up Operation

Chakraborty has developed strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa that produces
microbial surfactants. It helps in reducing the viscosity and surface tension at the oil
water interface, thus helping in dispersion of oil in an oil slick.
These microbial surfactants are highly biodegradable and nontoxic. They can be
used to clean oil spill in ecologically sensitive zones where chemical surfactants
could do a lot damage than good.

USA, Japan and other countries are producing biosurfactants, biopolymers and
xanthan gum type of materials. In January 1991, Department of Bio-technology,
India has started "biotechnology consortium to combat oil crisis. The day is not far
when microbes would be routinely used for extraction, production and clean up of
accidental oil spills and will protect the water bodies.

Ocean As Sink

Oceans, which occupy 71% of the earth's surface, have a greater capacity to absorb
atmospheric CO2, about eight times than the distilled water. Heat absorbing
capacity of sea is 1000 times more than that of atmosphere. This stored heat plays
an important rote in maintaining the global temperature. Sweden scientist, Swante
Arrhenius reported that if oceans do not absorb CO2, the temperature would rise
from 4 to 6'C. Dr. Jahn Tindal of Britain said that seas also affect the weather.
Scientists observed the effect of CO2 in air upto 75 metre above the sea level by
using radio-carbon (C-14). Thus oceans act as "major polluter CO2 sink" and are
responsible for weather variabilities.

Tapping Ocean Heat By Nitric Acid Cycle

Enormous amount of solar energy is stored in tropical oceans. It can be harnessed

for power generation. A small power plant based on Rankine Cycle was set up in
the sea off the Cuban coast. It uses low boiling working fluid such as ammonia or
propane. The warm surface water could vapourize the working fluid to drive a
turbine and the spent vapours condensed using cold deep sea water.

Now two Japanese scientists, N. Wakao and K. Nojo of Yokohama National

University have developed a new technique of up grading the low-level heat of
ocean's water to generate power. Here the temperature of water is actually raised
to much above the surface temperature by utilizing the heat of dilution of nitric acid
(Nature, 273, 25, 1978). The process is based on the heat liberated when
concentrated nitric acid in mixed with water. The liberated heat can be recovered
for use in a heat exchanger.

Wakao and Nojo believed that the process of extracting pollution-free thermal
energy at a higher temperature from the sea will become a promising technique as
a new energy source.


Classification and Effect of Air Pollutants:-


Pollutants are the main creators of pollution which causes damage to the target or
receptor. Target is always adversely affected by pollutant. It may be man, animal,
plant tree, building or material etc.

Pollutants are generally classified into the following categories.

1. Gaseous Pollutants 2. Particulate Matter Pollutants

3. Aerosol Pollutants 4. Pesticides

5.Metallic Contaminants 6. Carcinogens
7. Radioactive Pollutants 8. Biological Contaminants

1. Gaseous Pollutants

These pollutants are gaseous in nature at normal temperature and pressure. These
also include vapours of compounds whose boiling points are below 200 0C. These
pollutants include a variety of inorganic and organic gaseous materials.
(a) Inorganic Gases
(b) Organic Gases

2. Particulate Matter

Small solid particles and liquid droplets are collectively known as particulates. These
are present in atmosphere in fairly large numbers and pose a serious air pollution
problem Particulates pollutants are classified according to their particle and size and
nature into fumes, dust, ash carbon smoke, lead, asbestos, mist spray, oil grease

3. Aerosol Pollutants

These air pollutants remain suspended in air and consist of fine particles of different
organic and inorganic compounds having diameter less than 100µ.

4. Pesticides

Today damage from pesticides is increasing enormously and newer hazards are still
created. Insecticides, fungicides and pesticides etc. cause considerable
environmental deterioration. These pollutants are released into the atmosphere
mainly by man made agricultural practices and industrial waste disposal. Run-off
from agricultural land contributes these pollutants to water.

A number of biocides such as DDT, BHC, aldrin, dialdrin, chlordance and

endosulphan etc. cause health hazards to man animal and equally case ecological
damage. All these pesticides are biodegradable compound and found in all parts of

5. Metallic Contaminants

A number of toxic and non-toxic metals occur in the atmosphere. Wind and rain
release metals from the soils and rocks of earth's crust to rivers seas. Industrial
activities discharge many of the metals into air, water and soil. Various metals.
Creating environmental hazard are essential dietary trace elements required for
growth and development of plants, animals and human beings. These elements are
Ca, al, Na, Co, Pb, Ag, Ti, Zn, W and Mo etc. most of the metals are indestructible
poisons to living organism and are ubiquitous in the environment. Example are Cd,
Pb, Cr, Be, Ba, Mn etc. these are most toxic.


A group of carcinogens, such as α- benzidine, β - naphythlamine, vinyl chloride,

-naphthylamine, ethylene dichloride etc. present in air cause cancer in man and
animal affecting DNA and cell growth.

7.Radioactive Pollutants

These include particulate and electromagnetic radiations which cause chronic

cellular damage in man and animals. Naturally occurring radiation like cosmic and
terrestrial radiation enter into the biosphere and affect the whole biota.
Atmospheric radiation originates from both natural as well as man made sources.

Natural Sources

(i) Cosmic rays which enter the atmosphere from outer apace. Their quantum
depends upon altitude, and latidue of a location.

(ii) The earth's crust also contains some radioactive nuclides which continuously
emit radiation. For example U-234, Ca - 226 are present in soil, rocks and
natural building materials.

(iii) Food crops grown in the earth crust and dinking water, percolating through
soil, also contain some radioactive nuclides such as K-40, C-14, and Rn
-222. These nuclides enter the body through food chain (e.g., food and

8. Biological Contaminants

Biological contaminants deteriorate the atmosphere and their effects on human

health are still worst. There exists numerous air borne micro-organisms, pathogens,
bacteria, viruses and parasites which are added as air pollutants in the atmosphere.
Their effects on living organisms are obviously undesirable.

Air borne micro-organisms are known to cause cerebrospinal meningitis,

histoplamosis, anthrax and coccidioi domycosis. This infection is caused by the
spores of coccidioides imitis.
Thesemicro-organisms are known to causeserious environmental problems. These
are the principal sources of morbidity and mortality in many developing countries.
The diseases caused by these bacteria include epidemic infections like cholera,
diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid and several other chronic diseases.

Gaseous Pollutants

Among the various gaseous pollutants, the major primary pollutants which are most
significant, are:

1. Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx)

2. Oxides of Sulphur (SOx)

3. Oxides of Carbon (CO and CO2)
4. Hydrocarbons (CxHy)

Now the problem is - Why are these pollutants harmful?

Table (2) Summary of Source and Levels of Air Pollutants

Gaseous Pollution Natural Annual Emission Atmospheric
Pollutants Sources Sources (Tonnes) Concentration
Pollution Natural
Source Sources
CO2 Combustion Release from 1.4x10 1012 320ppm
biological decay
CO Auto Exhaust Forest fires 2.75x108 7.5x107 0.1ppm
process and other
SO2 Combustion coal Volcanic 1.45x106 1.5x106 0.2ppb
and oil eruption
H2S Sewage Volcanoes 3x106 1.1x106 0.2ppb
treatment, biological action
chemical process in swamp areas
NO Combustion Lightning 5.3x107 4.3x108 0.1 to 2 ppb
NO2 Combustion Bacterial action 6.6x108 0.5 to 4 ppb
in soil
NH3 Sewage Biological decay 4x106 1.1x109 6 to 20 ppb
treatment decay
Hydrocarb Combustion Biological 8.8x107 4.80x107 CH4-1 to 2 ppm
ons Exhaust process
Source - Environmental Issues in Chemical Perspective, State University New York, Albany

Effect of Air Pollution on Weather, Climate and Atmospheric Processes

In general air pollution is responsible for two main world problems.

(1) Contamination of the upper atmosphere.

(2) Alteration of weather and climate.

In fact, pollution and population concentrations affect local weather conditions, as in

the well known phenomenon of head islands around cities. The distribution and
abundance of particulate matter is responsible for local rain fall pattern and hence
there is a significant increase in precipitation in and around cities and is due to air

Air pollution causes weather to change on a continental or global basis. Many

gaseous pollutants and fine aerosols reach the upper atmosphere, where they have
basic effects on the penetration and absorption of sunlight.

According to modern environmentalists, increasing particulate matter pollution may
reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the surface of the earth, thereby lowering
solar radiation energy at the earth's surface. It would produce a cooling effect on
world climates which cold ultimately trigger another ice age. Thomson (1975) has
actually reported a decrease in mean annual temperatures in the northern
hemispheres and an increase in the north polar ice caps.

Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) As Pollutants

The oxides of nitrogen involved in air pollution, denoted by No x are NO, NO2, N2O3,
N2O5. These Oxides occur in the atmosphere as follows:

NO It is the main product of combustion of nitrogen, and automobile exhaust

produced by the combustion of gasoline. It is oxidized to NO 2 by O2 slowly but
rapidly by ozone.

N2O Present in air at concentration level of 0.25 pm. Maximum level is 0.5 ppm.
Maximum level is 0.5ppm. It is not a product of combustion.

NO2 In atmosphere NO2 levels are about 0.001ppm. It is the strong absorber of UV
light and chief constituent of photochemical smog. It initiates photochemical
reactions in troposphere. It is the man pollutant of Los Angeles smog.

N2O3 It reacts with water vapour to form HNO3, which combines with ammonia to
form ammonium nitrate.

N2O5 Form HNO3 with water and thus reduces the pH of rain water.

Sources of NOx Pollution

Natural stratospheric NOx are also produced by the action of cosmic rays in the
upper atmosphere. The possible magnitude of this source has been studied by
Warneck, Ruderman and Chamberlain of Columbia University, while Crutzen has
speculated the protons ejected from the sun in the solar storms could produce NO x
levels comparable to cosmic ray contribution.

Man made sources of NOx varies depending upon global areas. NO x are 10 to 100
times greater in urban atmosphere as compared to rural areas. Major man made
activities include combustion of coal, oil, natural gas and gasoline etc, which produce
upto 50 ppm. of nitrogen.

NOx are also produced as byproduct of some chemical industries like nitric acid and
sulphuric acid industry. They are also formed during the manufacture of nylon

Natural bacterial action discharges about 5x10 8 tonnes of NOx, mainly in the form of
NO, every year throughout the world, whereas man made sources release annually
5x107 tonnes of NOx. The distribution of NOx, however, varies depending upon
urban/rural areas.

The average residence time of NO and NO 2 in the atmosphere are 4 days and 3
days respectively. This indicates that natural processes, including photochemical
reactions, take care of NO x, the product being HNO3. The latter is precipitated as
nitrate salts in either rain fall or as dust.

O3 + NO2 → NO3 + O2 NO3 + O2 → N2O5

N2O5+ H2O → 2HNO3

The end product of NOx, however, is HNO3. The latter reacts rapidly to form various
particulate nitrates.

Sulphur Compounds as Pollutants

Oxides of sulphur, i.e., sulphur dioxide (SO 2) and sulphur trioxide (SO3), represented
as SOx, hydrogen sulphide (H2S), carbonyl sulphide (COS), carbon disulphide (
(CS2), dimethyl sulphide (CH3)2S and sulphates (SO4) are themost serious air

There are two sources of SO2

(1) Natural (2) Anthropogenic or man made

Reaction of SO2 in the Atmosphere

SO2 undergoes several chemical reactions in air forming particulate matter and
aerosols etc. which are scavenged from the atmosphere. SO 2 and SO3 gases are
washed down from the atmosphere in the form of sulphuric acid (H 2SO4). The
presence of increasing concentrations of H 2SO4 in the troposphere is indicated by
the increasing and more widespread occurrence of acid rain. A number of factors,
such as temperature, light intensity, humidity, air traffic, suspended particulate matter
(SPM), may enter into these reactions

However, SO2 reacts through several ways in the atmosphere.

These are
(1) Photochemical Reactions.
(2) Chemical Reactions in Presence of NOx and Hydrocarbons.
(3) Chemical Reactions in Water Droplets and Solid Particles.

Table: Effect of SO2 at Different Concentration on Man

Concentration of SO2 (ppm) Effect

0.25 to 0.50 Causes significant broncho-constriction in asthmatics.

1.00 Constriction of air passage and psychological distress.
3.00 t0 5.00 Detectable by odour
10.00 Throat irritation
20.00 Eye irritation and cough
50.00 to 100.00 Maximum allowed exposure in 30 minutes
400.00 to 500.00 Dangerous even for short exposures

Control of SOx Pollution

SOx can be reduced and controlled y the following important methods:

(1) Removal of Sulphur from Fuel Before Burning.

(2) Use of Low Content Sulphur Fuels
(3) Removal of SOx From Fuel Gases.
(4) Using Other Energy sources For Fuel Combustion.
(5) Use of Natural Gas.
(6) Use of Nuclear Power to Generate Electricity From Power Plants.

Sources of CO Pollution

CO, a significant contaminant is produced in the atmosphere by natural processes,

i.e., forest fires, natural gas emission, marsh gas production and volcanic actions
contribute little to form CO. Human activities, mainly automobile exhausts contribute
significantly (about 80%) to CO emission. Its concentration vary depending upon the
density of vehicular traffic. Its level is much below the threshold concentration in
areas where traffic is less.

Co alone forms about 48% of all the gaseous pollutants. The annual emission of this
most abundant pollutant on a global scale from human activities accounts to 350
million tones and 75 million tones from natural sources. An estimate indicates that
USA alone releases nearly 100 million tones of CO in the atmosphere, were 66
million tones of CO are emitted from automobile exhausts.

Table: Main Sources of Co Emission

Contributor CO Emission Contributor CO Emission

(Percentage) (Percentage)
Automobiles: Miscellaneous Sources:
(a) Transportation 64 (a) Forest Fires 6.9
(b)Motor Vehicles 59.5 (b) Agricultural Burning 8.3
(Forest debris, Crop
residues, brush and
weeds etc.)
(c) Air Crafts 2.5
(d) Rail Roads 0.1
Industrial Process:
Iron, steel, paper and
petroleum industries etc. 9.6

Hydrocarbons as Pollutants

Among a variety of hydrocarbons involved in air pollution, 56 have been clearly

identified by making use of the technique of gas chromatography.

Natural sources, particularly trees emit huge quantities of hydrocarbons in air. Plants,
mostly emitting terpenes belong to the family coniferae and Mystaceace and genus
uterus. For example, eucalyptus, cottonwood, oak, sweegum and spruce trees emit
hemiterpene, i.e. isoprene. This isoprene, α- pinene and limonene etc. undergo
several chemical reactions in the air and form particulate matter.

Methane (CH4) is the major naturally occurring hydrocarbon emitted in the

atmosphere. It is produced by bacterial during anaerobic decomposition of organic
matter in soil, water and sediments.

2CH2O ———→ CH4 +CO2

Methane has mean residence time of 3 to 7 years in the atmosphere. Human

activities contribute nearly 20% of the hydrocarbons emitted to the atmosphere every
year and animals contribute about 80 - 85 million tonnes of methane in the
atmosphere every year.

Table: Concentration of Hydrocarbons

Hydrocarbon Concentration (Parts Hydrocarbon Concentration (Parts
per billions, ppb.) per billions, ppb.)
Methane 2400 Toluene 30
Ethylene 102 n-Pentane 21
Acetylene and 76 m- Xylene 12
Butane 46 Isobutene 12
Isopentane 35

Effects of Hydrocarbons

Effects on Human Beings - (1) Hydrocarbons at high concentration (500-1000 ppm)

have carcinogenic effects on lungs. Mainly they cause swelling when they enter

(2) Aromatic hydrocarbons like benzene, toluenes etc. are more dangerous than
acyclic and alicyclic hydrocarbons. The inhalation of their vapors causes much
irritation to the mucus membrane. However, their different levels create various
acute symptoms in the body.
(3) Secondary pollutant (PAN) produced by hydrocarbon and NO x results in the
formation of photochemical smog which causes irritation of eyes, nose, throat
and respiratory distress.
(4) Excess of hydrocarbon increases mucus secretion as a result of which
respiratory tracts are blocked and man coughs regularly. Because of

continuous cough much pressure is caused on the trachea of lungs due to
which the lining membrane of alveoli burst. So very less area is left for
exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
(5) Benzpyrene, which is present as trace amounts in tobacco charcoal, boiled
stacks and gasoline exhausts etc., Is a dangerous cancer inducing
hydrocarbon pollutant.
(6) Methane (marsh gas) is a sever gas pollutant and occurs in air by volume of
0.0002 percent. Its higher levels in absence of oxygen, create narcotic effects
on human beings.

Control of Hydrocarbons

Hydrocarbons and NOx produce PAN and O3 etc. which are chronic secondary
pollutants. So their control ultimately depends on the control of the primary
precursors i.e. hydrocarbons and NO x which are the main culprit of air pollution.
(Refer to NOx control). Hydrocarbons from auto exhaust emissions can be controlled
by applying the techniques lime incineration, absorption, adsorption and
condensation etc. By adopting these methods, all the three pollutants
(Hydrocarbons, NOx and CO) can be converted to less harmful end products i.e.
Hydrocarbons ———→ CO + H2O CO ———→ CO2

Organic Particulate Matter (OPM)

Organic particulate matter originates mainly from combustion of fuels, automobiles

and vegetation. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) like chrysene, benzo α -
pyrene, benzidine etc. are some organic particulate matter of carcinogenic nature.
PAH compounds mostly occur in urban atmosphere at levels of ~ 20 µg/m 3

Typical OPM obtained from 200 air samples in USA possess the molecular formula
C32.4 H48 O3.8 S0.083 Halogen0.065 Alkoxy0.12
PAH compounds remain absorbed in soot particles. Soot itself is a highly condensed
product of these compounds. A soot particle is composed of several thousand inter-
connected cystallites i.e. graphitic platelts, each having about 100 condensed
aromatic rings. It consists of 1 to 3% hydrogen and 5 to 10% oxygen due to partial

Effect of Particulate Pollutants on Humans

The effects of particulate pollutants are largely dependent on the particle size. Air
borne particles i.e. dust, soot, fumes and mists are potentially dangerous for human

(1) Particulate pollutants have a bearing on the penetration of particles beyond

the respiratory passages into the lungs. Nasal passage prevents coarser
particulates bigger than 5 microns from entering into the respiratory system.
Particles with size of about 1 micron enter into lungs easily and rapidly.
Actually aerosols less than 1 micron may reach the alveoli of lungs and
damage lung tissues.

(2) Soluble aerosols will be absorbed into the blood from the alveoli while the
insoluble aerosols are carried to the lymphatic stream; and get deposited in
pulmonary lymphatic depot points or in the lymph glands, where they create
toxicity on respiratory system.
(3) Workers exposed to pollutant asbestos mostly develop cancer called
mesothelioma, which occurs in the tissue lining the abdomen. They also have
a greatly elevated risk of lung cancer.
(4) Insoluble particulates which can not be phagocytized by white blood
corpuscles (WBCs) pass through the alveolar walls into lymph channels. They
also accumulate in various specific organs and their increased concentration
exerts actions on lungs.
(5) Lead, the most serious pollutant released from automobile exhaust is
reported to have detrimental effect on children's brain.
(6) Lead interferes with the development and maturation of red blood cells.
(7) Workers exposed to lead result in the excretion of porphyrins, the precursors
of hemoglobin, with the urine.
(8) The acid particulates and aldehydes cause eye, nose and throat irritation.
(9) Silcosis, a chronic disease of lungs, is caused by inhalation of dust containing
free silica, SiO2.
(10).Beryllium compounds like BeSO4 and BeCl2 cause acute inflammation of the

Control of Particulate Emissions

Many techniques for the control of particulate emission have been developed.
These devices include:
1. Gravity Setting Chamber
2. Cyclone Collector
3. Cyclonic Separators and Trajectory separators
4. Filters
5. Scrubbers
6. Electrostatic Precipitator

Effects of Agricultural Practices on Air

The effect of agricultural practices on public health are enormous. For Example-

1. The transmission of allergenic pollens adversely affects the air quality.

According to an estimate 8% to 15% of United States population is sensitive
to raw weed pollen, which can be blown for hundreds of kilometers hay fever.
2. The problem weed parthenium in India is responsible for spreading several
diseases. For instance, the pollens of Parthenium causes skin allergy,
diarrhea and headache among million of Indians living on or around farms and
3. The use of 2, 4 Dherbicide helps in reducing to some extent air pollution from
this noxious weed but it too affects vegetative production
4. Some harvesting and post-harvesting operations also influence air quality.
Crain Chaff Such as husk of rice or weed are wind blown and distributed over
the landscape, causing dust pollution.

5. The dust generates by milling and handling of grains in storage may be
explosive in high concentration and unsightly in the immediate vicinity.
6. Now agricultural waste products accumulate at a much faster rate than they
can b utilized or returned to the land. It is a main problem in India where there
is no proper management or treatment for disposal of such wastes. It causes
sol pollution affecting the air quality and food production.
7. Many plant wastes, such as crop residues or stubble, or the trash in
sugarcane fields, are burned. The smoke from such operations is irritating and
when sufficiently dense, may be a hazard to ground and aerial navigation.
However not all the agricultural practices have a detrimental influence on air


What is thermal pollution?

the heated effluents, either from natural or man made sources ,contaminated with
water supplies, may be harmful to life because of their toxicity ,reduction in normal
oxygen level of water ,aesthetically unsuitable and spread diseases.

Sources of thermal pollution

Following sources contribute to thermal pollution

1. Nuclear power plants
2. coal-fired power plants
3. industrial effluents
4. domestic sewage
5. Hydro-electric power.

Nuclear power plants:

Nuclear power palnts, including drainage from hospitals, research institutes, nuclear
experiments and explosions, discharge a lot of unutilized heat and traces of toxic
radionuclide into nearby water streams. Emissions from nuclear reactors and
processing installations are also responsible for increasing the temperature of water
bodies. The operation power reactors and nuclear fuel processing units constitute
the major contributor of heat in the aquatic environment. The liquid radioactive water
consists of H-3,C-14,Fe-59and Co-60,alongwith corrosion products. In addition
accidental leakage of radiation from nuclear reactors in water raises the
temperatures of surrounding aquatic system. Heated effluents from power plants are
discharged at 100c higher than the coolant receiving waters and severely affect the
flora and fauna.

Coal-fired power plants

Some thermal power plants utilize coal as fuel, while a few plants use nuclear fuel.
Coal fired power plants constitute the major sources of thermal pollutant. Their
condenser coils are cooled with water from nearby lake or river and discharge the
hot water back to the stream increasing the temperature o nearby water to about 15 0

C. The heated effluents decrease the dissolved oxygen (DO) content of water. It
results into killing of fish and other marine organisms.

Industrial Effluents

Industries generating electricity, like coal powered and nuclear powered plants,
require huge amounts of cooling water for heat removal. Other industries like textile,
paper and pulp as well as sugar also release heat in water but to a much lesser
extent. Normally the discharged water from steam-electric power industry using
turbo generators, will have a higher temperature ranging from 6 0 C to 90 C than the
receiving water. To cope with the tremendous demand for electricity, the generating
power of the installations will be raised which then need a larger proportion of
stream flow. To increase turbine efficiency, a partial vacuum is created at the turbine
exhaust by cooling and condensation of the turbine steam. This results in the
increase of stream temperature to a level at which natural dissipation of heat will be

In modern stations, producing 100 MW, nearly one million gallons are discharged in
an hour with increase in temperature of the cooling water passing by 8 to 10 0 C

Domestic Sewage

Domestic sewage is commonly discharged into rivers, lakes, canals or streams with
or without waste treatment. Te municipal sewage normally has a higher temperature
than the receiving water. This discharged sewage not only raises the stream
temperature to a measurable extent but also creates numerous deleterious effects
on aquatic biota. The organic matter present in the sewage and other oxidizable
matter utilize the dissolved oxygen present in the surface water for oxidation. With
the increase in temperature of the receiving water, the DO content decreases and
the demand of oxygen increases. Hence the anaerobic conditions will set up
resulting in the release of foul and offensive gases in water. This rise in temperature
has a profound effect on water quality and aquatic life. The marine organisms which
depend on the dissolved oxygen of the surface water will die out.

Hydro-electric Power

Generation of hydroelectric power, sometimes, results in negative thermal loading in

water systems. Apart from electric power industries, various factories with cooling
requirement contribute to thermal loading. It has been report that about 18% more
heat is given to cooling waters in nuclear power plants than any other plant of
equivalent size.

Effects of Thermal Pollution

Thermal pollutants pose numerous deleterious effects in the aquatic and terrestrial
environment. Heat energy released from industrial operations, power generation
stations, space heating and cooling in the atmosphere is expected to upset the
balance existing between solar energy input and absorption of solar energy at the
earth's surface. W.W. Kelogge (1977) reported that the total world energy production
through man made sources was about 10 4 GW (G = Giga, IG = 1 h8ilion, W = Watt),
while the solar energy absorbed at the earth's surface was nearly 8 x 10 7 GW.

Nuclear power plants release enormous heat and are responsible for the variation of
temperature in the global environment. According to S.R. Hanna and F.A. Gifford
heat emission from a 4 x 104 MW (M = Mega i.e. one million, W = Watt) nuclear
power plant may accelerate the formation of convective clouds, precipitation and
may introduce slight ground fog within 100 km. of cooling towers.

Harmful effects of thermal pollutants may be summarized as follows--

Reduction in Dissolved Oxygen

Concentration of dissolved oxygen decreases with increase in temperature of water.

For example, DO concentration is 14.6 ppm. in water at a temperature of 32 0 F and
6.6 ppm. at 640 F. Thus the cold water fish which requires about 6ppm. to survive
could not tolerate the high water temperatures. If they remained in the area they
would die from oxygen starvation. Since the aquatic biota live aerobically, so a
healthy stream should have an adequate supply of dissolved oxygen. In oxygen rich
water, bacteria, protozoan and micro-organisms multiply rapidly and then become
the food for more advanced aquatic creatures.

Change in Water Properties

A rise in temperature changes the physical and chemical properties of water. The
vapour pressure increases sharply, while the viscosity of water decreases. The
decrease in density, viscosity and solubility of gases increases the settling speed of
suspended particles which seriously affect the food supplies of aquatic organisms.

Increase in Toxicity
The rising temperature increases the toxicity of the poison present in water. A 10 0 C
rise in temperature doubles the toxic effect of potassium cyanide, while a 80 0 C rise
in temperature triples the toxic effects of o-xylene causing massive mortality of fish.

Interference with Biological Activities

Temperature is considered to be of vital significance to physiology, metabolism and

biochemical process in controlling respiratory rates, digestion, excretion and overall
development of aquatic organisms. The temperature changes digestion, excretion
and overall development of aquatic organisms. The temperature changes totally
disrupt the entire ecosystem. Sharp changes in temperature are often destructive.
Because, life process of aquatic animals involves several chemical reactions and
the rate of these reactions and the rate of these reactions vary according to the
change in temperature.

Interference with reproduction

In fishes, several activities like nest building, spawning, hatching, migration and
reproduction etc. depend on some optimum temperature. For instance, the
maximum temperature at which lake trout will spawn successfully is 8.9 0 C. The
warm water not only disturbs spawning but also destroys the laid eggs.

Variations in Reproductive Rate

The increase in temperature triggers deposition of eggs by female. The triggering is

particularly dramatic in estuarine shall fish, oysters and clams which spawn within
four hours of the water temperature reaching the critical level.

Change in Metabolic Rate

Fishes show a marked rise in basal rate of metabolism with temperature to the lethal
point. The respiratory rate, oxygen demand, food uptake and swimming sped in
fishes increase.

Increased Vulnerability to Disease

Activities of several pathogenic micro-organisms are accelerated by higher

temperature. Hot water causes bacterial disease in salmon fish.

Undesirable Changes in Algae Population

The life in an aquatic ecosystem is greatly influenced by the growth of algae. Excess
nutrients from the wash-out waters from farm lands, combined with thermal pollution
case an excessive algal growth with consequent acceleration of eutrophic and other
undesirable changes. All the major groups of algae like diatoms, green, blue-green
algae have distinct tolerance ranges for water temperature. High water
temperatures promote blue-green algal blooms which disrupt the aquatic food chain.

Growth of Blue-Green Algae

In an unpolluted stream diatoms grow best at 16 to 20 0 C, green algae, at 30 to 35 0

C and blue-green algae over green algae, resulting in a damage to ecosystem. Blue
green algae are reported to be the poorer food source for aquatic animals. It may
sometimes prove toxic to fish. Thus as the thermal pollution load in larger water
streams increase, the potential for increase of fish by disease also will be

However, if the water temperature is increased from 10 to 38 0 C, diatoms will change

to green algae or blue-green algae. As blue-green algae can convert a like into
marsh, it appears to be the indicator of extreme thermal pollution conditions. These
unicellular algae grow prolifically resulting in algal bloom inhibiting the growth of
other aquatic organisms and produce foul odour in the receiving stream.

Increasing the Demand of Oxygen

Since higher temperature increase the rates of physiological processes and favour
bacterial growth the oxidation of oxygen demand wastes will be speeded up, due to
high rate of oxygen depletion. Thus the demand of DO content is aggravated further.
However, a rise in temperature generally stimulates the proliferation of
photosynthetic organism, particularly the phytoplankton, which compensate for the
deficit of dissolved oxygen.

Biochemical Oxygen Demand

When the temperature of the steam containing biodegradable matter rises, the
intensified action of aquatic organisms causes the BOD to be accomplished at a
lower temperature. Taste and odour problems initiated by temperature accelerated
chemical or biochemical action or accentuated, when oxygen is depleted. Thus fish
death may occur due to synergistic action.

Affecting Distribution of Organisms

Distribution of aquatic organisms is also affected in hot water. They move towards
suitable temperature and their activities are influenced by the change in density,
surface tension and viscosity of water etc. For example, planktonic organisms
cannot compensate for pull of gravity in a less dense water and ultimately sink.

Food Shortage for Fish

Change in temperature alters the seasonal variation in the type and abundances of
lower organisms. The fish may lack the right food at the right time. It has been
reported that both cold-water and warm-water species are found in the same
latitude because of their adaptability to fluctuating temperatures. At higher
temperature both the because of their adaptability to fluctuating temperatures.

Thermal Effects on Marine Life

Temperature plays an important role in affecting the physiology, metabolism, growth

and development of marine animals.

Thermal Effects on Bacteria

Heated affluent from domestic, industrial and installation processes pose following
deleterious effects on bacterial growth --
(i) Coagulation of their body cell proteins
(ii) Accelerated enzymatic reaction leading to exhaustion
(iii) Melting of cell fats
(iv) Reduction in the permeability of cell membranes
(v) Increase in degradation rates, and
(vi) Toxic actions of metabolic products inhibiting cell division.

Thermal Effects on Water Quality

Purification of water streams is actually an aerobic oxidation process. During this
process complex organic matter is converted into innocuous substances by bacteria.

At higher temperature the rapid bacteria activity causes a burden on the dissolved
oxygen resources of the water. When the waste to be disposed in water has a higher
demand for oxygen than the supplies, then it may cause putrefaction in water bodies
developing noxious conditions.

It has been reported that water purification occurs more rapidly at high temperature.
Colder the water entering a purification plant, higher will be the treatment cost.
Moreover, warm water is best suited for laundering purposes. But warm water
promotes undesirable growth of organisms chocking the balance of entire aquatic

Control of Thermal Pollution

Control of thermal pollution is an extreme necessity, since in future its detrimental
effects on aquatic ecosystem may be worse. To reduce the magnitude of the
pollution, the outlet water can be made to give up some of its heat to the
environment and then may be discharged into the water course. The following
methods can be adopted to control the high temperature caused bythermal

1. Cooling Towers
(i) Natural towers, (ii) Mechanical draft cooling towers, (iii) Non evaporative cooling
2. Cooling Ponds 3. Artificial Lakes

1. Cooling Towers

The use of water from water systems for cooling purposes, with subsequent return
to the water way after passage through the condenser, is termed as cooling
process. To make it more effective, cooling towers are designed to control the
temperature of water. Cooling towers transfer some of the heat from cooling tower to
the surrounding atmosphere by the process of evaporation.

2. Cooling ponds

Cooling ponds or reservoirs constitute the simplest method of cooling thermal

discharges .heated effluents on the surface of water in cooling ponds maximize
dissipation of heat to the atmosphere and minimize the water area and volume.

By forming a warm water wedge over the cold receiving water, rapid heat loss to the
atmosphere is encouraged by increasing the energy transfer due to evaporation,
convection and back radiation .this warm water wedge acts like a cooling pond.

1. ponds serve as large setting basin
2. low construction cost

3. it cools the water to a considerable low temperature \
4. Beneficial for recreation purposes.

The technique is less desirable and inefficient in terms of air water contact .the
process cannot be applied on a stream inhabited by a cold water aquatic organisms
and fishery.

3. Artificial lakes:

Artificial lakes are manmade bodies of water which offer possible alternative to once
through cooling. the heated effluents can be discharged into the lake at one end
and the water for cooling purposes may be withdrawn from the other end .the heat is
eventually dissipated through evaporation.

Prevention of thermal pollution:

With the tremendous increase in population the requirements for more and more
electricity would also increase .it is this obvious that thermal discharge problems will
continue to grow alarmingly because of dramatic increase in the electric power
production.however, the problems associated with thermal pollution can be
alleviated by the following methods.

1. prevention of thermal pollution in natural streams can be done through plant

sitting, coupled with effective use of regulated river systems
2. channeling of thermal effluents
3. using adequate cooling towers or ponds
4. efficient designing of outfalls to prevent thermal block from occurring
5. Avoiding interferences of hot water mass with fish migration.
6. Heat transport mechanisms, like advection and dispersion or turbulent mixing
should be considered to prevent pollution. Advection losses are accomplished
through design stream flow to utilize discharge streams kinetic energy and
density gradients.

Dispersion of heat or turbulent mixing depends on fluid velocity, channel

characteristics and diffuser designs.

7. Temperature prediction models can be used to develop the safe engineered

8. By improving the efficiencies of electric power generation plants.



Radiation pollution of the environment is one of the most horrible ecological crisis to
which we are subjected severely. Today no one can escape from the pollution
hazard that has become a part of our daily life. Since pollution is the accumulation of
radio-substances which have been involuntarily escaped by accidents, it has
unforeseen effects on living organisms.

Radiation poses a wide range of symptoms and syndromes causing several adverse
effects which are classified as follows-

1. Effects of Ionizing Radiations on Man

Man is considered to be the final prey towards radiation effects and is at the end of
all reactions and interactions. According to a recent report (1988) on the "Effects of
Atomic Radiations" by the National Council on Radiation Protection and the United
Nations Scientific Committee-"Ionizing radiation poses deadly cellular damage in

Radiation exposure may damage the cell membrane by making it permeable, while
the large doses of ionizing radiations can kill quickly or influent severe damage.
Even the lower doses can initiate cancer throughout the body. Radiations also
results in abnormal interchange of materials through an imperfect cell membrane
causing temporary or permanent injury in the body.

2. Effects of Non-Ionizing Radiations

Modern life and radiations seem to increase the risk of radioactive pollution. Of all
the nonionizing radiations including infrared, radio waves, micro-waves, radar etc.,
the action of ultra violet (UV) radiations has been extensively studied. In body cells,
the protein and nucleic acid are mainly responsible for the absorption of radiation.

UV radiations are thought to trigger two distinct immunological effects. One is

confined to patches of skin that are actually irradiated wile the other damage is
caused to the immune system as a whole.

UV radiations cause the blood vessels near the skin's epidermis to carry more blood
causing the skin hot, swollen or sun burns.

Serious skin cancers including the basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma
and melanoma are rapidly climbing the list of human diseases caused by UV

It has been observed that closer a fair-skinned person lives to the equator, the more
likely he is to get non-melanoma cancer by UV rays.

Curiously enough, melanoma is caused by intermittently exposing the body to high

doses of UV radiations often associated with burning sensation and skin aging.

3. Effects of Microwave Radiation

Non-ionizing radiations i.e. microwaves shorter than 10cm. are usually absorbed by
the skin that can be felt by heating of the surface tissue.

Microwaves between 10 and 30 cm. can penetrate the epidermis and fat layer of the
skin, while the waves longer than 30 cm. can penetrate the epidermis and fat layer
of the skin, while the waves longer than 30 cm. can penetrate deep tissues of
dermis causing the skin hot.

The eyes and other organs that cannot dissipate heat are most vulnerable to
microwave radiations.

4. Effects of Radio Frequency Radio Frequency Radiations

Recently an investigative agency of US Congress reported that the current levels of

micro-wave and radio-frequency radiations in air pose severe hazards to human
earth. These radiations constitute a part of broader electromagnetic spectrum that
includes various wave motions through which energy can be transferred from one
place to another. Radiations of longer wave lengths are largely transmitted and a
small amount of it is absorbed or reflected. On the other hand, microwave
radiations get considerably absorbed by the body.

Non-ionizing radiations of longer wave length cause a common thermal effect.

These radiations induce thermal agitation in molecules of the matter to produce

5.Effects of Fall Out Radiation

The could obtained during nuclear explosion contains a mixture of gases, molten
nuclear fuel and some partially melted radio-isotopes. As the fireball cools, these
materials condense to form the debris which drops down to the earth in the form of
radio-active fall out. The radiation is emitted from radio-isotopes either in the form of
high energy particles (alpha, beta or neutron Particles) or electromagnetic waves of
very short wave length (gamma rays). Generally hazard from radio-nuclides
depends upon the following factors--

(i) The amount of radio-isotope produced in man.

(ii) The half-life period of isotope.
(iii) Efficiency of transfer to man through food chain, and
(iv) Metabolism of the nuclide in the body.

Contamination of Radionuclide in the Food Chain

Biological organisms including man are subjected to contamination either by

consumption or inhalation of radio-active contaminants. An indirect path of nuclide
contamination occurs through food chain. Radioactive isotopes deposit on soil,
ground and surface waters. The water consumed by plants acts as a medium for
radio-activity. This contamination passes on to plants, vegetation and animals
through the nourishment from soil and water. Such contaminated plants are eaten
by cattle, cows etc. and the isotope is excreted into the milk which is consumed by
man. Radio isotope may also enter in man by direct consumption of vegetables and

fruits which then accumulates in blood or body organs, causing damage to the

6. Biological Effects of Radiation

The ill effects due to various doses of radiations are numerous. Different doses of
radioactive materials act differently as follows--

Radiation Effects Below 10 Rem

Radiation risks are extrapolated all the way down to zero. Effects below 10 rem are
not so evident because thy are blurred by all other influences that affect man's

Radiation Effects Between 25 to 50 Rad (Mild Dose of Radiation)- At very low

doses below 25 rad (Rad is the basic unit of X-ray absorbed by the tissue. One rad
is equal to 100 ergs/gm.), biological injuries in the body cells are observed. Between
25 to 50 rad, radiation causes several changes in blood cells, that is, in red blood
corpuscles and lymphocytes etc. As the radiation dose increases, the harmful
effects too increase. At 50 rad transient blood changes are detectable.

Radiation dose at 100 rad causes nausea and fatigue while possible vomiting occur
above 125 rad. Radiation hazards at 200 rad cause nausea and vomiting within 24
hours. After a week, epilation, loss of appetite, general weakness and other
symptoms of sore throat and diarrhea are observed in man.

Comulative Effects of High Radiation Doses

1. When-ever any body part accumulates radiation dosage beyond a certain limit,
that is, about 6000 rem, that part of the body dies immediately. A dose of 10,000
rem will kill quickly, through damage to the central nervous system affecting
brain and spinal cord causing delirium convulsion and death within few hours.

2. Sometimes a person may accumulate sufficient radiation for several years

which may lead to his death without even showing any of the symptoms of
radiation sickness. In such cases there is some lingering effect on the body or
cumulative radiation damage from which the person can not recover.
3. High doses of radiation cause internal bleeding and blood vessels damage
which become evident as red spots on the skin
4. Cumulative radiation sickness is marked by vomiting, bleeding of the gum and
mouth ulcers in man.
5. Eye lens is vulnerable to high doses of radiation. It damages eye cells so that
the eye lens becomes opaque forming cataract which impairs sight.

Effects of Plutonium as a Carcinogen

Plutonium is an extremely toxic radio-element. The fact that the maximum

permissible air concentration standard for this element is one part per thousand

billion is an index of its acknowledged potential for injury. It has an enough lng half-
life period of 24,413 years. Unless it is consumed as fuel, it will persist for geological

Plutonium, a deadly poisonous substance, is bone-seeker. Once deposited in the

bone, it can cause serious bone cancer. Environmentalists and scientists claim that
insoluble particles of plutonium, if inhaled, can get preferentially lodged in the deep
lung, where they can deliver high doses of radiation to the surrounding tissues
inducing chronic lug cancer. The damage occurs because of the short rage of alpha
particles emitted by plutonium.

Radiation effects on Plants

Radiation effects are generally common to plants and animals. Small amounts of
radio nuclides may lead to an increase in the rate of mutation in plants also.
Radioactive elements accumulate in soil, sediments, air and water. Lethal doses of
radioactive fall out materials (Sr-90 and Cs-137) reach man via the food chain.

Intense radiations kill plants but differently. Trees and shrubs vary in their reactivity
and sensitivity towards radio active substances. This variation is mainly due to the
difference in chromosome number and size. Sparrow reported that plants with less
number of chromosomes offer larger 'target' of radiation hit than those with excess of
small chromosomes. The small chromosomes possess more duplicate genetic
information so that when one or to cells are damaged, a number of others can take
up their function. However, a chronic dose of 1 R per day continued for 10 years
causes so much growth reduction in pines as an acute dose of 60 R.

Dangers From Nuclear Power Plants

(i) Previously radiation pollution from activation products such as Fe-55, Ni-
63 and Co-60 was not well recognized. Cs-137 and I-131 appear in
abundance near power plants and accumulate severely in plants and
animal tissues.
(ii) The commissioning of boiling water power reactors (BWRS) in USA,
Dresden, Europe, India and other countries have created enormous radio-
pollutants in the environment.
(iii) Low level liquid radio waste contains several radio nuclides like Mn-54m
Sr-89, Co-59, Co-60 and Cs-137. The large volume of effluents requires
dilution factor of 10-3 to 10-5 of water, while discharging the wastes into the
sea water.
(iv) In USA, eight nuclear plants are located along the bank of Lake Michigan
and Hudson River. These are critically accumulated with a large number of
long lived radio nuclides making the water unfit for any purpose.

Dangers from Nuclear Reactors

Nuclear waste from reactors poses serious thermal pollution problems. The
dangerous radioactive waste cannot be dumped into the sea without poisoning

marine life and subsequently human life as well. Nor the waste can be buried in
earth without running the risk of fouling underground water and soil.

Environmentalists argue that the thermal effluents from nuclear reactors have
adversely affected the ecology of aquatic stem. Already 200,000 tonnes of discarded
uranium residue in the spent fuel had been stored in 20500 steel vessels at Oak
Ridge, USA and other sites by 1976. "As some wastes remain dangerously radio-
active for thousands of years - long after steel drums rust away". Apart from guarding
them, there is a constant danger to public health. A slight exposure of radiation from
these wastes can cause chronic diseases in man, wile accidental intake of its traces
may prove fatal.



With rapidly advancing technology, man's impact upon the world of natural
resources is beginning to prove overwhelming. Rapid urbanization, with the
consequent increase in population and building construction has resulted in the
reduction of lands for the wastes to be disposed. Every year solid wastes are
increasing tremendously allover the world, depending jupon the living standards of
the people. Several hazardous chemicals and the mountains of wastes are
ultimately dumped on the lands. Dumping of industrial and municipal wastes causes
toxic substances to be leached and seep into the soil and affects the ground water

The crux of the waste problems in land lies in the leachates and mounting amount of
wastes, Such leachates which ooze out of the garbage heap are known to move
slowly through the layers of the soil beneath and contaminate the water resources
deep down the land.

Soil pollution mainly results from the following sources--

(1) Industrial Wastes (2) Urban Wastes (3) Radioactive Pollutants (4) Agricultural
Practices (5) Chemical and Metallic Pollutants (6) Biological Agents

1. Soil Pollution by Industrial Wastes

Disposal of industrial waste is the major problem responsible for soil pollution.
These industrial pollutants are mainly discharged from pulp and paper mills,
chemical industries, drugs, glass, cement, petroleum and engineering industries etc
It has been estimated about 50%if of the raw materials ultimately become waste
products in industry and about 20% of these waste are extremely deleterious.

2. Soil Pollution by Urban Wastes -

Urban wastes comprises both commercial and domestic wastes consisting of dried
sludge of sewage, All the urban solid wastes are commonly referred to as 'refuse'.

Solid wastes and refuse, particularly in urban areas contribute to soil pollution. This
refuse contains garbage and rubbish materials like plastics, glasses, metallic cans,
fibers, paper, rubbles, street sweepings, fuel residues, leaves, containers,
abandoned vehicles and other discarded manufactured products.

3. Radioactive Pollutants

Radioactive substances resulting from explosions of nuclear devices, atmospheric

fall out from nuclear dust and radioactive wastes (produced by nucl3ar testing
laboratories and industries) penetrate the soil and accumulate there creating land
pollution. Radio nuclides of radium, thorium, uranium, isotopes of potassium (K-40)
and carbon (C-14) are very common in soil, rock, water and air. Explosion of
hydrogen weapons and cosmic radiations induce neutron-proton reactions by which
nitrogen (N-15) produces C-14. This C 14 participates in the carbon metabolism of
plants which is then introduced into animals and man.

4. Agricultural Practices

Modern agricultural practices pollute the sol to a large extent. Today with the
advancing agro-technology, huge quantities of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides,
weedicides and soil conditioning agents are employed to increase the crop yield.
Many agricultural lands have now excessive amounts of plants and animals wastes
which are posing soil pollution problems. Apart from these farm wastes, manure
slurry, debris, soil erosion containing mostly inorganic chemicals are reported to
cause soil pollution.

5. Chemical and Metallic Pollutants

A number of industries including textiles, pesticides, paints, dyes, soap and

synthetic detergents, tanneries, drugs, batteries, cement, asbestos, rubber,
petroleum, paper and pulp, sugar, steel, glass, electroplating and metal industries
pour their hazardous effluents in soil and water aerating disastrous effects on living

Biological Agents

Soil gets large quantities of human, animals and birds excreta which constitute the
major source of land pollution by biological agents. Digested sewage sludge as well
as heavy application of manures to soils without periodic leaching could cause
chronic slat hazard to plants within a few years. In addition to these excreta, faulty
sanitation, municipal garbage, waste water and wrong methods of agricultural
practices also induce heavy soil pollution. Sludge's do have faults as they contain
enough live viruses and viable intestinal worms. In developing western countries
intestinal parasites constitute the most serious soil pollution problems.

Effects of Industrial Pollutants

1. Industrial wastes consist of a variety of chemicals which are extremely toxic to

living beings. Industries manufacturing paper, textile, steel, fertilizers, pesticides

etc. release metallic wastes, oils, greases, solvents, plastics, heavy metals,
plasticizers, suspended slides inorganic and organic pollutants and non--
biodegradable material in the soil. Consequently these toxicants are transferred
to different organism in their food chain causing a number of undesirable effects.

2. Industrial effluents when discharged through sewage system will poison the
biological purification mechanism of sewage treatment causing several soil and
water borne diseases. Most of these pathogens are insusceptible to degradation
and are injurious to health.

3. Amino acids, albumins and gelatins, which undergo putrefaction by bacterial

action, release sulphur and phosphorus compounds. These compounds produce
sulphuretted gases like H2S and SO2 as well as oxides of phosphorus which
cause musty and putrid smell in soil.

4. Soluble salts, needed by the industries, are responsible for cost damage. They
cause crop loss, soil loss, metallic corrosion and lead to costly cleansing
activities. Salt accumulation in the soil has been a perpetual problem. Food and
agriculture organization states that 50% of the irrigated farms in the world are
damaged by soluble salts.

5. Severe agricultural crop damage is caused by high acidity and alkalinity of the
soil coming from chemical industries. About 30% of the irrigated land of the world
is now affected by salinity of soil and water logging. An estimate shows that soil
fertility between 30 to 80% of world's irrigated land has been degraded due to
increased salinity.
6. Products of industries such as synthetic fires, plastics and waste paper when
consigned to incineration, their emissions may contaminate with toxic vapors and
particulates causing air pollution. When discarded plastic materials, textiles,
packaging and toys of polyvinyl chloride are burnt in soil, they emit highly toxic
gases like hydrochloric acid fumes, SO2, and NOx etc.

Effects of Urban Waste Products

2. In India several million tones of waste is dumped along highways and other
places in Critically polluted cities like Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Jaipur
and Ahmedabad etc. This urban waste is amounted to be over 2 million tones
per year generated in class one cities and 0.25 million tones per year in class II
cities and spread several chronic diseases posing a serious threat to human
3. The waste including building materials (during construction and demolition),
sludge, dead animal skeletons and thrown away garbage pile up at public places
and cause obstruction in daily life.
4. Solid wastes result in offensive odour and cause clogging of ground water filters.
Suspended matter in sewage can blanket the soil, thereby interfering with the sol
5. The use of polluted groundwater containing human excreta, sewage sludge i.e.
solids from cess pools, detergents and trace metals for irrigating the agricultural
fields damages crops.

Effect s of Radioactive Pollutants

2. The volatile materials when released into the atmosphere become potential
contaminant of the environment, since they can settle on land or can be washed
into surface waters by rain. When rain containing radio-nuclides falls on the soil,
its activity is transferred to the soil by adsorption of soil particles. As the
radioactivity in the soil is available to plants, it enters the food chain resulting in
the possibility of eventual ingestion by humans.
3. When a stream receives radioactive contaminants from the soil through rain, the
aquatic flora and fauna absorb and concentrate these hazardous products. Once
again these aquatic flora and fauna absorb and concentrate these hazardous
products. Once again these aquatic flora and fauna used as food by man could
accumulate dangerous amounts of radio-isotopes causing disruption of
metabolic changes and physiological process.
4. Radioactive pollutants can produce great human misery. When food containing
radio-nuclides is taken by man, some of tem concentrate in specific body organs
where they cause a number of undesirable diseases of digestive track. Even the
thyroid gland is damaged due to accumulation of iodine. Cs-137 is taken by body
in place of potassium.
5. It is reported that a high altitude burst, enters the biological cycle and gets
distributed according to the biota present while a burst close to the ground
makes all the elements of the soil as potential sources of induced radio-activity. A
sub surface explosion also converts elements such as sodium in water to be
6. A recent report indicates that a large number of induced radio-nuclides as
carbon-14, iron-55, manganese-54, cobalt-57, iron-59 and zink-65 etc get
concentrated in biological systems and this is proved by their presence in fish.
7. Radiation acutely affects the soil and soil fertility. These intense radiations kill
plant species but differentially. Variations in radio sensitivity among the trees and
shrubs are due to differences in their chromosome number and size.

Some adverse effects of pesticides are given below

1. Pesticides retained in soil concentrates in crops, vegetables, cereals and
fruits which taint then to such an extent that they are not useable.
2. American scientist has reported that carrots and radish grown on a loamy soil
treated with aldrin at 1 lb/acre contain .03 to .05 ppm of it. Pesticides may
adhere to soil particles causing harm to vegetation.
3. Various vegetables, fruits, rice, grain, wheat, gram, barley and maize are
known to contain significant amount of DDT, BHC and other organ chlorine
pesticides. They persist in the soil producing long term effects on vegetative
cover. Poly chlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are most dangerous having half life
period of 25 years in soil. They accumulate in the soil and plants which
ultimately enter into human nobodies. PCBs cause deformities in fetus,
nervous disorders, liver and stomach cancer in animals.
4. Persons who used vegetables contaminated with 0.05 gm. Or more PCBs
developed darkened skin, eye damage and sever acne.

5. The most threatening DDT concentrates accumulates in the food chain. It is
continuously recycled in living systems. It is reported that DDT concentration
in man's body fat varies from 3.3 g/m3 in UK and 25 g/m3 in India. It is also
reported to cause impotency in man.
6. Pesticides like DDT, endrin, dieldrin, heplachlor etc. are known to seep
gradually through soil into ground water and eventually contaminate public
drinking water supplies.

Remedial measures for soil pollution:

With the rapid pace of industrialization and increasing population density,

numerous pollutants have posed a serious threat to living organisms on this planet.
Extensive solid wastes and the use of biocides etc .have put the interest of
agriculture and aqua culture at cross purposes. Some measures have been
suggested to meet the challenges of soil pollution.

Proper dumping of unwanted materials:

Excessive waste products by man and animals cause chronic disposal problems
.crude dumping or open dumping is the most widely used method in Indian cities.
sanitary land fill can also be used but the process is not free from demerits .recently
controlled tipping is used in metropolitan cities like Delhi and Bombay etc.for solid
waste disposal .the surface so obtained then can be used for housing or sport fields.

Production of natural fertilizers:

Organic wastes contained in animals dung can be use for preparing compost
manure and biogas rather than throwing them wastefully polluting the soil.

Use of biological weapons:

Recently a committee of US national academy of science have suggested that

natural soil microorganisms should be used to increase crop fertility rather than that
the use of pesticides or insecticides .the committee have also recommended the
information of new generation of biological agents that can destroy the target

Proper hygienic conditions:

People should be trained regarding the sanitary habits .lavatories should be

equipped with quick and effective disposal machinery.

Recycling and reusing of waste:

To minimize soil pollution, the wastes such as paper, plastics, glass, metal, organics,
petroleum products and industrial effluents etc.should be recycled and reuse

Ban on toxic chemicals:

Ban should be in imposed on chemical which are otherwise fatal to plants and
animals' .nuclear explosions and disposal of radio active wastes should be banned.\

Methods to minimize soil pollution:

1.seperate garbage bins can be used to collect different varieties of wastes as in

USA,UK,JAPAN ,where the importance of recycling is realised well .there citizens
have to dump paper ,plastics and food trash into Colour coded bins.
2. Paper should not be mixed with glass or plastic which are difficult to recycle.
3. Encouraging the people by ways of subsiding the wastes.
4. tax-exemption is also beneficial to enhance recycling of wastes.
5. Making use of recycled paper instead of fresh ones
6. By reducing the creation of wastes, recovering, recyclig and reusing potential
wastes, the amount of waste can be reduced effectively.
7. Recently industrial toxicological centre (ITRI) Lucknow has established central
facility for safety evaluation of pesticides to prevent their adverse effects on soil and
8. Analityical laboratories can be equipped with the latest sophisticated instruments
for detecting the micro quantities of pesticides in soil.
9. Plantation of trees--extension plantation is extremely essential to prevent soil
erosion. These remedial measures in terms of effective and integrated ecological
management of soil system are necessary to restore normal conditions.

Rain water harvesting

Rain water harvesting is a means of taking out water of the hydrological cycle for
either human or agricultural use. The rainfall is intercepted and collected on
prepared watershed.
Agricultural use
Two types schemes
Human use
Rain water catchments schemes for agricultural use – require large catchment area
and hence use of ground surface.

But water for human use – should be more convenient and cleaner than the former.
Roof – obvious choice for a catchment surface as their elevation protects them from
contamination and damage which are common to ground surface catchments.
Tanks located close to home highlights the convenience of this system.

Historical sources mention the use of rainwater for domestic water supply some
4000 years ago in the Mediterranean region.
Roman villages and cities were planned to take advantage of rainwater for drinking
water supply. In the hills near Bombay in India, the early Buddhist monastic cells
had an intricate series of gutters and eastern cut into the rock to provide domestic
water on 9 year round basis. In many European and Asian countries are harvesting
rainwater for drinking water, particularly in rural areas.

On some tropical islands rainwater continues to be the only source of domestic water
supply. In arid and semi-arid areas where people mostly live in scattered or nomadic

settlements, rainwater harvesting can be a necessary means of providing water for
domestic purposes.

Rainwater harvesting should be considered is countries where rainfalls heavy in

storms of considerable intensity, with intervals during which there is practically no or
very title rainfall.
It requires adequate provision for the interception, Collection and storage of the
It requires adequate provision for the interception, collection and storage of the
water. Rainwater roof catchment systems (RRCS) are widely used throughout the

Areas where rainwater roof collectors are installed:

1. Gibraltar, Bermuda and other islands where ground water is contaminated by salt
intrusion and runoff in streams is minimal
2. Australia and similar areas where limited rainfall, poor river quality, and distances
between individual consumers make this an attractive option.
3. Tropical areas lime India, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Islands of the south pacific
where annual rainfall is plentiful but a long dry season exists;
4. Areas where housing development is resulting in new roof materials replacing
traditional thatched materials (kenya, Tanzania, India) and where clean water is
needed for drinking purposeskl

Advantages of Rainwater Roof Catchment System

 The quality of rainwater in high.

 The system is independent and therefore suitable for scattered settlements.
 Local materials and craftsmanship can be used in rainwater system construction.
 No energy costs are needed to run the system. Ease of maintenance by the
 Convenience and accessibility of water. Valuable time is saved in water

Disadvantages or limitations
 The high initial capital cost may prevent a family from buying a system.
Arrangements for grants and low-interest loans may have to be made.
 The water available is limited by rainfall and roof area. Supplementary water
sources may be needed. For long dry seasons, the required storage volume may
be too high.
 Mineral-free water has a flat taste, while people may prefer the taste of mineral-
rich water.
 Mineral free water may cause nutrition deficiencies in people who are already on
mineral deficient diets.


Reasonably pure rainwater can be collected from house roofs made of files, slates,
(corrugated) galvanised iron, aluminium or asbestos cement sheeting. Thatched or
lead roofs are not suitable because of health hazards.

With very corrosive rainwater the use of asbestos cement sheeting for roof
catchment requires some caution. Asbestos fibres may be leached from the roof
material leading to relatively high asbestos concentrations in the collected rainwater.
Plastic sheeting is economic but often not durable.

Painting the roof for water proofing may impart taste or colour to the collected
rainwater, and should be avoided.

The roof guttering should slope evenly towards the down pipe, because if it sags,
pools will form that can provide breeding places for mosquitoes. Dust, dead leaves
and bird droppings will accumulate on the roof during dry periods. These will be
washed off by the first new rains. It may be helpful to arrange the down pipe so that
the first water from each shower ( the “foul flush”) can be diverted from the clear
water container and allowed to run to waste

. 2. Feasibility of A Rainwater Roof Catchment System

The initial step in planning and developing a RRCS involves an appraisal of the
feasibility of the system. The feasibility can be determined in light of tree
constraints : technical, economic and social.

a. Technical

The initial consideration of the feasibility of RRCS concerns water availability as

compared to its user demand. The total rainwater available depends on a catchment
area and annual precipitation. The total annual demand is based on total design
population and per capita rate of supply, which is 40 lpcd in Indian villages. If the
supply exceeds demand, then the RRCS is feasible from a technical point of view,
based on total maximum supply over the period of a year. If the supply is less than
demand, then possible solutions include increasing the catchment area or reducing
the demand for rainwater.

b. Economic

The cost of proposed RRCS must be evaluated and compared with the costs of
alternative water supply improvements. Costs of catchment and storage demand on
what existing structures can be used, and the cost of materials. Though system may
be economically justifiable, it must also be affordable to the household.

c. Social

Once it has been tentatively established that it is technically and economically

feasible to construct a RRCS, the next step involves social and community
assessment. This stage is critical to the success of the catchment scheme.


Rain water offers an advantages in water quality for both irrigation and domestic use
.rain water is naturally soft(unlike well water),contains almost no dissolved minerals
or salts ,is free of chemicals treatment ,and is a relatively reliable source of water for
households .rainwater collected and used on site can supplement or replace other
sources of household water.

1. An ideal solution of water problem in areas having inadequate water

2. The ground water level will rise
3. Mitigates the effects of drought
4. Reduces the runoff which chokes the storm water drains
5. Reduces the flooding of roads
6. Quality of water improves
7. Soil erosion will be reduced
8. Provide drinking water
9. Provide irrigation water
10. Increase ground water recharge
11. Reduce storm water discharge ,urban floods and overloading of sewage
treatment plants
12. Reduce seawater ingress in coastal areas.

Environmental ethics:

Historical perspective

Before we consider environmental ethics, which is the application of morality to one

aspect of contemporary life. We should look at ethics in a general way. Ethics from
the Greek ethica, meaning the character, is the science concerned with the
obligations of individuals or groups to one another or to society. It deals with
principles of fairness, justice, morality, obligation and duty.

Philosophers have theorized that a system of ethics could be formulated from
various concepts, among which are the following.
1. Human needs and interests should determine what is right and wrong.
2. A rational system of ethics should be based on the law of nature.
3. That which provides the greatest happiness for the greatest number is
morally right.
4. Morality is the result of habits acquired by humans during evolution.
5. Mutual aid and cooperation among people are natural and further the
survival of the species.

Current influences

What are major influences on behavior today? Television, particularly with young
viewers, may be having the single most serious effect. Education; religion and
legislation are still factors. But the emphasis seems to have shifted, with the school
and church being less important in establishing moral attitudes and legislation taking
on larger role. In effect in individual responsibility. Has decreased and group
obligations have increased.

Issues of environmental ethics:

Third-world exploitation:

Central America has become the dumping ground for pesticides that North American
and European chemical companies are banned from selling or in many cases, even
producing, in their own countries .one example is di- bromochloropropane (DBCP),
which renders men sterile. After its manufacture and sale were prohibited in the U.S
in the late 1970s, millions of pounds were imported into Costa Rica for use as a
wormicide on banana plantations. an estimated 2000 Costa Rican workers were
render sterile for life, some of whom have filed suits in U.S courts against Dow
chemical and shell oil, the manufacturers of the pesticide. Evidence indicated that
these manufacturers knew as early as the 1950s of the pesticides dangerous

The sale of Nestlé's baby formula in ten 1970s to African mothers ,who had no way
of sterilization water to mix with it ,is another example of questionable corporate
behavior since it caused that deaths of thousands of babies. The exploitation of third
-world countries for raw materials produced by low paid workers for whom no
regulations exist covering working hours or health hazards is a containing ethical

Violation of environmental standards

The senior management of hooker chemical and plastics corporation knew in 1975
that their plant in Lathrup, California, was polluting under ground water supplies with
toxic pesticides .they also knew that their plant in white springs, Florida, was
seriously violating air pollution limits in smokestack emissions. the violations never
reported to any state or federal authorities, and it wasn't until pollution from another
hooker source, the love canal in Niagara falls, new York, reached major proportions

that the truth begun to emerge. There are 164 chemical waste dumps with in 3 miles
of the Niagara River and toxic contaminations from four of them are believed to have
leaked directly in to the river.

Health and safety vs.cost:

In 1973, Thomas Robertson, director of development at firestone tire in the United

States, sent top management a memo "we are making an inferior quality radial tire
that will subject us to belt-edge separation at high mileage. it warned that tire was
the firestone 500.

His advice was ignored instead; management kept producing the entire and sold
more than 24 million in the next five years. Despite incidents of blowouts and
separations, management kept issuing statements that the 500s were completely
safe. By 1979, blowouts were said to have caused a number of deaths and serious
injuries. The company replaced millions of the tires and settled a large number of
injury cases.

The scandal of asbestos is that the industry was aware of the harmful effects of
asbestos in the 1930s and 1940s, long before the mid-1960s, when it claimed to
have first learned of the serious health hazards .as a result of deaths and disabling
diseases contracted by workers and others exposed to asbestos, more than 1,001
lawsuits have been field against asbestos companies I the united states and

Possible solution:

Even though it is difficult to legislate ethical behaviour, we must keep trying. at the
same time ,we need to counteract the philosophy that self interest is an admirable
trait in all business dealings. In the early 1980s, after Ivan Boesky had amassed100
million dollars by inside training on the stock Market, he spoke students at the
Harvard business school. he told them matter of factly that greed is healthy .you can
greedy and feel good about yourself. Vigorous applause was the from the students.

It is not surprising that the altitudes of business carried over into other aspects of life,
including environmental protection. Projects involving public health and safety cannot
be completely free of risk, so the question of how much should be spent to save a
human life becomes a consideration .researchers from tufts and Harvard universities
and human life becomes a consideration. Researches from tufts and Harvard
universities and oak ridge national laboratory in Tennessee found that agencies of
the US federal government seemed to use a figure of 2 million dollars per live can
saved in enacting legislation regulating cancer causing chemicals. If the cost per life
saved was higher than this, the chemical was not regulated.

How do people acquire moral behavior? Noted earlier, the decreasing role of the
school and the church in influencing ethical behavior means that other influences
--the home, friends, entertainment --will have a greater effect in establishing behavior
patterns. Television and movies provide conflicting lessons about life.morality,ethics,
integrity, and other old fashioned virtues are less prominent these days ,and
concealment ,misinformation and dishonesty have become more common

,representing, no doubt, attitudes of the times. The distinction between good and
evil, as well as between right and wrong, has become even less clear than it used to
be. Business recruiters have reported finding a morally indifferent attitude in many of
the graduates from today's school .what has happened to the idealism and altruism
of the 1960s?

The picture of ethical behavior that has been presented in this section is a
disheartening, but there are hopeful signs. In 1987, john shad, a former chairman of
the American securities and exchange commission, gave Harvard business school
20 million dollars for the initiation and support of a program of ethics. Also in 198, in
Switzerland, more than 1000 top European corporate managers attended lectures by
the Greenpeace foundation, an environmental advocacy group many engineering
students ,like those at the university of Toronto ,now take a mandatory course on the
philosophical concepts of right and wrong and the impact of their technology on the
human environment.


Education, legislation, and corporate attitudes are important factors in shaping

morality .but ethical behavior is still largely the responsibility of individuals .it is up to
each of us ,student, parent, environmental scientist ,and engineer ,as responsible
citizens of the world ,to recognize unethical conduct when we see it, and blow the
whistle when necessary .An old sating applies here

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

According to philosophers, our concept of morality is developed early In life --before

The age of 10, some claim. this means that early ours of childhood ,while the family
is still the major influence ,are critical in establishing proper moral standards .we
have an obligation to teach the young, by example where possible ,about the ethical
problems they will encounter in life and what responsibilities they must accept for
their actions .they don't need to be ruthless, aggressive, competitive, profit-
motivated individuals to succeed.


1. Global warming refers to gradual rise in atmospheric & ground surface air
temperature & consequent change in global radiation balance caused mainly by
anthropogenic processes leading to climate change at different levels.

2. A warmer Earth may lead to changes in rainfall patterns, a rise in sea level, and a
wide range of impacts on plants, wildlife, and humans.

3. In the simplest terms, it is the increase of Earth's overall temperature.

4. A delicate balance of gases in our atmosphere determines the Earth's

Green House Gases

1. Heat trapping gases are called green house gases. These gases CO 2, CH4,
CFC, N2O, water vapor etc.
2. Greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, CFC, N2O etc.) are the major factor of Global
3. These gases absorb long wave terrestrial
4. The relative shares of CO2, CH4, CFC, N2O are 51 20, 16, 16 per cent
5. These gases absorb long wave terrestrial radiation in the 8 - 13 microns band
& thus help in enhancing the carbon dioxide green house effect.

Green House Effect

1. Most of our atmosphere, 99%, is Nitrogen and Oxygen. The heat trapping
gases, called greenhouse gases, of Carbon Dioxide, Nitrous Oxide, Methane
and water vapor make up the remaining 1%.
2. Carbon Dioxide makes up only 0.036% of the atmosphere!
3. Though these greenhouse gases are only 1% of the atmosphere, they are
responsible for keeping the Earth's temperature at an average 60 0 F. All life,
as we know it, depends on these few gases.
4. Greenhouse vases make the Earth warmer by trapping energy in the

Sources of GHG

 Major sources

6. Electric power stations based on fossil fuels mainly coal & mineral oil.
7. Numerous factories spread all over the world
8. Transport sector which includes various types of vehicles run on coal &
9. Deforestation & burning firewood.

 Minor Sources

Air conditioners, refrigerators, several cosmetic goods, plastic foam, fire

extinguishers etc.

How Greenhouse Gases Heat up the Atmosphere

When sunlight enters the Earth's atmosphere, passing through the blanket of
greenhouse gases. As it reaches the Earth's surface, land, water, and biosphere
absorbed, this energy is sent back into the atmosphere. Some of the energy is sent
back into the atmosphere by the greenhouse gases, causing our world to heat up.

The Green House Effect

The concentration of CO2 in the earth's atmosphere was about 280 parts per million
by volume (ppmv) in 1750, before the Industrial revolution began. By 1994 it was 358
ppmv and rising by about 1.5 ppmv per year. If emissions continue tat the 1994 rate,
the concentration will be around 500 ppmv, nearly double the pre-industrial level, by
the end of the 21st century.

Causes of Global Warming

1. Emission of greenhouse gases at alarming increasing rate.

2. burning of fossil fuels (e.g. coal,diesel,petrol etc)
3. rapid rate of industrialization &urbanization
4. Unstoppable population growth.
5. Deforestation major land use changes etc.

Impact on human life

1. MILAN-global warming killed 150,000 people in 2000 and the death toll
could double again in the next 30 years if current trends are not reversed, the world
health organization says.
2. It warns of increased flooding, landslide and storm damage, increased
deaths from heat stroke, failures of traditional agricultural systems through droughts
and consequent failure of traditional financial services insure against such losses.
3. A major change is already evident in the decreasing depths of the mountain
snows that pile up each winter ,in the unseasonable winter rainfalls that drench the
mountains instead of snow, and in the speed of the snowmelt during spring.
4. A rise of 20ctemperature from the normal temperature was recorded in Indian
Ocean during 1997-1998 which caused catastrophic coral bleaching leading to 70%
death of corals in Andaman-NICO bar &the lakshwadeep islands.

Remedial measures

1. There should be drastic cuts in the consumption of fossil fuels mainly in the
developed and industrialized countries like USA, Russia, UK, France, Germany,
Canada and Japan etc.
2. In order to solve the problem of energy crises and energy security arising out of
the implementation of Toronto resolutions demanding for 20%consumption of
fossil fuels to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide the scientists must
discover and develop alternative sources of energy and power and improved
better technology.
3. More advanced and efficient technology should be developed so that maximum
energy may be derived from the use of existing fossil fuels and emission of
carbon dioxide may be minimized.
4. Solar energy may be developed as alternative to the conventional fossil fuel
energy at least in these tropical and subtropical countries where sunlight
available during most period of the year.
5. Aforestation and reforestation on a large scale will certainly reduce the green
house effect. It is well known fact that forests are big natural sink of carbon


Origin of Life

When life evolved on earth, more than three billion years ago, the atmosphere was
of volcanic nature, consisting mainly of methane, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, ammonia,
hydrogen and water vapours, but no free oxygen. Then there was no ozone
umbrella, due to lack of oxygen, to check sun's deadly harmful ultra violet radiations,
which otherwise penetrate on the surface of the earth. Such radiations would
damage any life existing on earth.

Creation of Ozone Layer

Now ozone is present at all altitudes in the atmosphere, mainly in the stratosphere
extending from 12 kms 35 kms. This upper layer of the atmosphere enveloped by
ozone (12 km - 35 km) is commonly known as ozonosphere, ozone layer,
stratospheric ozone layer, protective layer or ozone umbrella.

Composition of air in the stratosphere remains fairly uniform throughout the region.
However, ozone concentration differs by about 10 ppm in the stratosphere compared
to 0.05 ppm in the troposphere. This increase in ozone content has a profound
beneficial effect on plants, animals and human beings of the biosphere.

Both the atmospheric air and the surface of the earth are subjected to radiation from
the sun. The consequence of sun's radiations on the upper atmosphere is that
certain radiations are absorbed by the atmospheric gases leading to ionization or
dissociation of gases. In the lower mesosphere, the atmospheric oxygen gets
dissociated and `a subsequently combines with molecular oxygen of the upper
stratosphere, thereby producing ozone.

This presence of ozone layer in the stratosphere is of vital significance for all biota,
because the harmful solar radiation, such as ultra violet rays, which are lethal to life
on the earth are not allowed to enter the earth's atmosphere by ozone layer or ozone
umbrella. N the absence of this layer, all the ultra violet rays of the sun will reach the
earth's surface and consequently the temperature of the lower atmosphere will rise
to such an extent that the "biological furnace" of the biosphere will turn into a "blast
furnace". Thus the ozone layer strongly absorbs or blocks the short wave ionizing
ultra violet rays and so protects the life on earth from sever radiation damage.

Depletion of Ozone Layer

There has been much hue and cry about the destruction of stratospheric ozone and
issue has now assumed global dimension. The problem of ozone depletion and its
adverse consequences have threatened the existence of life on the planet. The role
of ozone layer is very crucial and significant because it acts as a protective shield in
the biospheric ecosystem against their exposure to deadly and dangerous ultra violet

Mechanism of Ozone Depletion

It includes,
(1) The Natural Process.
(2) The Anthropogenic Process.

The Natural Process

Atmospheric oxygen absorbs ultraviolet radiation shorter than 240 nm and photo
dissociated into two oxygen toms. These unite with other O 2 molecules to form
ozone. During the process surplus energy of nascent O 3 is often transferred to the
near by molecules as kinetic energy which slightly raises the surrounding
atmospheric temperature. Ozone too is effective in absorbing [particular short
wavelength VV radiation in the range 210 - 293 nm releasing atomic oxygen. This
natural mechanism, however, do not necessarily upset the ozone equ9librium
because the loss of ozone caused by natural process is compensated by the
creation of ozone through atmospheric circulation. Since the fate of these atoms is
similar to those which were photo dissociated, i.e. the transfer of kinetic energy,
union with, molecular oxygen and interestingly the release of fresh ozone.

However, the natural process of ozone depletion involves the conversion of

atmospheric nitrogen in to NO x due to solar estimate show that level of
NOx rises from 30-600c at the end of 11 year cycle in the middle latitude of southern
hemisphere. It is then transported to polar regions of the stratosphere and depletes
the ozone layer through the photochemical reaction.

Thus dynamic equilibrium existing between the production and decomposition of

ozone molecules constitutes one of the most important mechanisms. The heat
generated during the reaction causes a rise in temperature of the stratosphere.
Secondly, the photochemical process absorbs most of the harmful solar ultra violet
radiations of wave length from 2000A 0 to 3500A0.hence the atmosphere is heated
because of this absorption and the earth's biosphere is shielded from these lethal
radiations. without it, life on the earth would be completed destroyed.

Anthropogenic process

Nitrogen oxide hypothesis: scientists are rather worried about the anthropogenic
activities which playa significant role in the matter of NO x load to the stratosphere
effecting the ozone concentrations. The super sonic air crafts (SST) fly at
ozonosphere cruising altitudes because of low air resistance which is essential to
maintain speed of the supersonic. Their exhaust gases directly provide water vapors
and NOx In to stratosphere.

It was in 1971 that P.J CURTZEN and his collaborators of national center for
atmosphere research at boulder,USA pointed out that the supersonic transport fleet
could add significant quantities of oxides of N 2 leading to about 40% reduction in
ozone concentration.

Nuclear explosions produce large quantities of NO x which directly into stratosphere
studies indicate that nuclear tests conducted by USA and USSR reduced
O3concentration by about 40% following reactions between O 3and NOX.

NO+O3 → NO2+ O2 NO+O2 → NO2+ O

NO2+O3 → NO3+ O2 NO2+O → NO+ O2

H2O ─hv→ OH + H OH + O3 → HO2 +O2

H + O3 → OH + O2

Species of molecules such as NO 3,OH,NO2are highly reactive but may have

relatively long life -times I regions where the total concentration of molecule is low.
The net result that is that NO X increases the rate of O 3 destruction with no change In
the concentration of NO. This catalytic cycle could go on indefinitely, causing
reduction of large number of O 3 molecules .consequently the intensity of solar ultra
violet radiation that reaches biosphere will increases.

Sulphate Hypothesis

In 1986, scientists established that the chemistry of cloud surface is paramount

significance in ozone destruction. it is observed that sulphate aerosols emitted
through volcanic eruptions ,and chimneys of several factories accumulate in the
atmosphere mainly between the altitudes of 15km to 2km.concentration of sulphate
aerosols is most prevalent over the densely populated and industrial areas. These
sulphate aerosols catalyze the transformation of O 3to oxygen(O2+O),thus depleting
its concentration.

Chlorine Hypothesis:

Recently it is conformed that chloro flouro carbons or chloro flouro methane are also
responsible for peeling the O 3 umbrella in stratosphere CFCs,CFMs,halons are
released during the operation of several devices using these synthetic chemicals in
refrigerators, air conditioners and spray cans etc.while aerosols spray are used as
propellants. they are inert ,no toxic in the troposphere, but slowly diffuse into the
stratosphere where they are subjected to ultra violet radiations at about 200nm
generating CL.and E. free radicals. they cause significant reduction in ozone -level
as follows.
Cl.+O3 → Cl─O + O2 Cl─ O + O. → Cl + O2
Cl─ O + N2O → Cl ─ O─N ∕∕
Effects of ozone depletion

Effects on human beings:

(1) With the depletion in atmospheric ozone there is danger of the increase in the
flux of ultra violet radiation over the earth's biosphere. The range of
wavelengths particularly affected by the changes in atmosphere ozone is from

2900A0 to 3200A0.all the known effects of these radiations are harmful for
man's life.
(2) UV radiation - the narrow spectral band which is thought to cause most
biological damage-appears to trigger two quite distinct immunological effects.
One is confined to patches of skin that are actually irradiated, while the other
develops in the immune system as a whole.
(3) The three kinds of skin cancer-basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell
carcinoma and melanoma - are rapidly climbing the list of human diseases
caused by UV rays.
(4) Langerhans cells in the epidermis of human skin are key players in immune
surveillance. UV radiations get them first, breaking down the defenses in the
skin. The pigment cells, melanocytes, produce melanin as a shield to absorb
the damaging VV radiations. But most fair complexioned skin people do not
produce enough melanin to protect them from excessive exposure to sunlight
and are affected by several skin damages. Thus sun-bathing on the beach
may not be a pleasure anymore in England etc.
(5) UV radiations cause blood vessels near the skin's surface to carry more
blood, making the skin hot, swollen or red, causing sun burns.
(6) Most epidemiologists concur on the causal relation between U V rays and
non-melanoma skin cancers studies have shown correlation between these
cancers and latitudes and by implication UV radiation levels. The closer a fair-
skinned person lives to the equator, the, more likely he is to get non-
melanoma cancer by UV rays.
(7) Curiously melanoma is caused by intermittently exposing of the body to
relatively high doses of UV radiation and is often associated with burning
sensation and skin aging.
(8) Long exposure to UV radiation caused by O 3 depletion creates handful of
cancers that defy traditional links between poverty and diseases.
(9) UV radiation causes leukemia and breast cancers, although the reasons are
obscure. Studies show that a 10% decrease in stratospheric ozone leads to
20 -30 increase in cancer. Nearly 7000 people die of such diseases in USA
each year. Such cases have increased by 10% in Australia and New Zealand.
(10) Quantitatively, the effects of increased UV radiation on a biological
specimen is described by a parameter, called the erythemal does which is

D = ∫λ E (λ). H∆(λ)d λ
Where E (λ) describes the relative response of a biological specimen to UV-radiation
as a function of wavelength H∆(λ) is the solar UV flux, intensity due to ozone

Effects of Ozone on Human Health

Concentration (ppm.) Effects Observed
0.2 No severe effect
0.3 Nose and throat irritation
0.8 (long exposure) Genetic alternation in the lung within
five days.
1.0 to 3.0 Extreme fatigue after two hours
9.0 Chronic pulmonary edema

Effects on Biotic Community:

1. Many micro-phytoplanktons would die because of their exposure to UV solar

2. The marked reduction in the productivity of phytoplankton would in turn
adversely affect zoo planktons. The marine animals, fishes etc. will starve in
the absence of sufficient supply of food.
3. The loss of fish population would directly affect the inhabitants of coastal
4. Ozone is reported to be highly toxic to fish in the concentrations ranging from
0.1 to 1.0 ppm. Anaerobic breakdown of organic phosphorus compounds
results in the formation of phosphine and its 3.6 ppm. concentration is highly
lethal to fishes.
5. The increased UV radiation will increase the mortality rate of larvae of zoo
planktons. Enhanced radiation also impairs fish productivity.

Effects on Plants:

(1) Exposure to air containing ozone results in the lesions to plants, usually
confined to the upper surfaces of leaves. These lesions are characterized by
the uniformly distributed white or brown flecks and stipples an irregularly
distributed blotches.
(2) Ozone flecking is observed with the plants of grape, citrus and tobacco. At
0.02 ppm. it damages tomato, pea, pine and other plants. In pipe seedlings it
causes tip burn.
(3) One along with, other pollutants like SO 2 and NOx is affecting crop losses of
over 50% in European Countries. In Denmark, O3 affects spinach, potato,
clover and alfalfa etc.
(4) In plants O3 enters through stomata. It causes visible damage to leaves,
thereby reducing their photosynthetic rate. It thus decreases the yield of
certain food crops and changes the effectiveness of agricultural chemicals. O 3
reduction thus damages the food production.
(5) Due to ozone reduction, intense UV radiation causes greater evaporation of
surface water through the stomata of the leaves and decreases the soil
moisture content.
Ozone reacts with many fibres, such as cotton, nylon and polyester and dyes etc.
the extent of damage appears to be affected by light and humidity


Introduction: acid rain is an environmental problem that knows no boundaries

.increasing acidity in natural waters and soils is becoming a problem all over the

"The term acid rain was first used by ROBERT ANGUS in 1872."literally it means the
presence of excessive acids in rain waters .Acid rain mainly contains H 2SO4 and
HNO3 where the ratio of these two may vary depending upon the relative quantities
of oxides of sulphur and nitrogen emitted. H 2SO4 is the major contributor (60-70%) to
acid precipitation, HNO3 ranks second (30-40%) and third HCL.

Where does the acid rain come from?

Acidification of environment is man made phenomenon. There is no doubt that most

acids come from human activities-from cars, homes, factories and power stations
etc.There has always been some acid in rain ,coming from volcanoes, swamps and
plankton in the oceans . The acidity is mainly associated with the transport and
subsequent deposition of oxides of sulphur, nitrogen and their oxidative products.
These oxides are produced by combustion of fossil fuels, smelters, power plants,
automobile exhausts and domestic fires etc. The acid rain problem has drastically
increased due to industrialization.

How acid rain is formed

Actually acid rain is the one phase of acid deposition which can either be wet →or
dry. Acid rain, snow, dew, fog, frost and mist represent the wet form of deposition.
While the dust particles containing sulphates and nitrates, settled on earth, is called
dry deposition. However, the wet rain is more common.

Wet acid rain

Every source of energy that we use-be it coal, fuel, wood or petroleum products-has
sulphur and nitrogen .these two elements, when burnt in atmospheric oxygen, are
converted in to their respective oxides (SO 2 and NOx) which are highly soluble in
water. By anthropogenic and by natural resources, oxides of sulphur and nitrogen
enter the atmosphere.
S+O2 → SO2 2SO2+O2 → 2SO3
I In case of nitrogen, following reaction are involved.
NO+O3 → NO2+O2 NO2+O3 → NO3+O2

NO3+NO2 → N2O5
Under the humid condition of the air ,N 2O5 in variably reacts with water
vapors to form droplets of HNO3.
N2O5+H2O → 2HNO3
Some HNO2 is also formed.

N2O3+H2O 2HNO2.
HNO2 and HNO3 then return to earth's surface. However,HNO 3 can be
removed as a particulate or as particulate nitrates after reaction with base such as
SO2+1/2O2+H2O ———→ H2SO4
Soot particles

HNO3 and H2SO4 thus formed combine with HCL (emitted from natural and man
made sources)to generate precipitation which is commonly referred as acid rain.

Normally unpolluted rain is weakly acidic and has a p H of 5.6, because from the air
reacts with water to form H2CO3. But acid rain that has a p H as low as 4 is 10 times
as acid as normal rain with a p H of 5 it is so because p H scale is a logarithmic one
and each smaller whole number represents a ten times increase in the level of
acidity thus acid rain with pH 4 is 100 times more acidic than distilled water with pH 7.

Pure rain water has a pH of about 5.5 to 5.7, but due to SO 2 emissions, the pH of rain
can drop as low as 2.0. This increases the acidity of water ways, particularly rivers
and lakes.

Adverse Effects of Acid Rains

Effect of acid rain on aquatic biota

1) Acid rain creates complex problems and their impacts are far reaching .A
significant reduction in fish population accompanied by decrease in the variety
of species in food chain have been observed.
2) If pH below 5, creating highly acidic level, lethal for fishes. This acidic water
can also leach aluminum from the soil. So the run-off can carry dissolved
aluminum to lakes, rivers and streams. It is highly toxic to aquatic animals and
cause death of fish by clogging its grills and deprives her of oxygen. Besides
this, aluminum can also bind with organic particles. Which are also toxic for
3) Adirondack ponds, having high acidity levels, were among the first to lose fish
population. juvenile fish ,small and large mouth bass and walleye are
extremely sensitive and unable to reproduce at p H levels 5.4 to 5.7
4) Northern pike and chain pickerel are quite tolerant to low p H levels. Some non-
sport species and succumb can survive in this water.
5) Different species react differently to acidified lakes. Adult fish can survive in
more acidic water having high concentration of aluminum than fry fish.
6) Many bacteria and blue green algae are killed due to the acidification ,
disrupting the whole ecological balance .acid rain killed fishes in and
destroyed trees in a wide swathe across Europe.

Effect of acid rain on terrestrial ecosystem:

1) In 1958, the pH of the rain at Europe was 5.0 and in 1962 the p H of rain at
Netherlands was 4.5 .the acid rain had damaged leaves of plants and trees
and had retarded the growth of Swedish forests.
2) Actually nutrients like calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium have been
leached away from soil by acids. These nutrients are most essential for the
plant growth.
3) Acid rain has already been an acute problem in North America and Europe,
where it has destroyed crops and forests, reducing agricultural productivity.
4) Recently the effect of acid precipitation on terrestrial vegetation indicates
reduced rate of phoyosynthesis

5) Acid rain has severely retarded the growth of crops such as pea, beans,
radish, potato, spinach broccoli and carrots etc.
6) The activity of symbiotic nitrogen fixing bacteria present in the nodules of
leguminous family is inhibited, thereby destroying the fertility of the soil.
7) Root systems are damaged by the uptake of aluminium released from the
soil. Nitrates may be leached from the soil by acid run off waters.

8) Acid deposition weakens the trees like pine, spruce, ashes, and birch which
can be easily attacked by pathogens and drought.
9) Acidic rain in Japan has damaged 5000 sq. kms. of cedar trees in Kanto plain
which lies in the North of Tokyo. This area is affected by high acid deposition
brought about by air pollutants.

Effect of Acid Rain on Lake Ecosystem:

1. Acid rain causes a number of complications in ponds, rivers and lakes where
it accumulates as "acid show". It summer rapid snow melt gives a jolt of acid
water to lakes. This "acid jolt" is most damaging to young fish, algae, insects
and to the food chain.
2. Acid lakes have low levels of phytoplankton. Snails, clams, oysters etc. having
their shells of calcium carbonate, are among the first animals to perish in
acidic lakes.
3. black flies, mosquitoes, deer flies and other aquatic worms occur abundant
where fishes are eliminated. So they appear to thrive in acid conditions.
Dragon fly larvae and water boatmen also flourish in acidified lakes.
4. The activity of the bacteria and other microscopic animals is reduced in acidic
water. So the dead materials and other accumulated substances lying on the
bottom of lakes are not rapidly decomposed. Thus essential nutrients as
nitrogen and phosphorus stay locked up in plant and animal remains.
Biomass production is reduced and fish population declines.
5. Aquatic plants such as broad-leafed pond weeds do not grow in acid water.
This could affect the feeding and breeding habits of aquatic species.

Effect of Acid Rain on Human Beings:

Acidic rain has been fond to be very dangerous to the living organisms as it can
destroy life. Acidification can play havoc with human nervous system, respiratory
system and digestive system by making the person an easy prey to contaminate the
portable water and enter man's body.

Acidic rains containing air pollutants contribute to a variety of safety hazards

associated with reduced visibility due to smog etc. These contaminates can be
nuisance in several aspects. And cause adverse health effects.

Control of Acid Rain

There is an urgent need for proper regular monitoring to provide timely warnings
about acidification of our environment. Short-term control of acid deposition problem
can be achieved by using lime. New York has been liming the lakes and ponds since

A 'bill' has been introduced recently in USA that would enhance to diminish the acid
deposition problem. It would require 10 million tones reduction in SO 2 emissions in
31 eastern states during the next decade.

In India, where 4 to 8 x 10 7 tones of SO2 dissolve in the oceans annually, efforts are
made to monitor the levels of sulphur and nitrogen oxide emissions as an important
constituent of air pollutant and to adopt the 'Clean Air Act.'


Natural changes of climate:

The orientation of earth:

The earth moves around the sun in an elliptic orbit, of which the sun itself occupies
one of the two focal points. If the long axis of the ellipse is called a, then short axis
becomes a√1-e2, where is called the eccentricity of the ellipse.for e=0 we have a
circular orbit as a special case the eccentricity e of the orbit is not large ,at present
amounts to e=0.0167.this means that the orbit is almost a circle and in many
calculations it is indeed treated as one.

The changing sun:

Milankovitch variations mainly influence the distribution of insolation over the

globe .the luminosity of the sun itself may change as well as --with an effect on the
insolation all over the earth. Indeed there are two causes for variation of the
luminosity of the earth.

The first is a continuous change due to the lifecycle of the sun itself. This goes very

In addition to the climatic changes associated with the linear response to the orbital
forcing, we propose that nonlinear response at sub- Milankovitch frequencies may
have been responsible for the onset of the Northern Hemisphere glaciation, 2.75
(MY) ago.

The record of globally averaged sea surface temperatures over the past 130 years
shows a highly significant correlation with the envelope of the 11-year cycle of solar
activity over the same period. The total range of temperatures was about 1 ( 0C).

The seemingly implausibility of a big bolide (meteorite) crashing into a planet was
dramatically refuted in July of 1994, when 20 or so pieces of the disintegrating
comet Shoemaker Levy 9 slammed into Jupiter over a period of several days. The
major disruptions produced in the atmosphere of the solar system's largest gaseous
planet left little doubt that a similar collision with the earth cold indeed occur and that
the effects could indeed occur and that the effects could easily be catastrophic.

Human Induced Changes

Since humans started to develop cities and began to cut trees for firewood and
building and our ancestors began to irrigate for agriculture, climate was influenced.
This, however, happened on a local scale only and the influence on global climate
most probably was negligible. This changed with the start of the industrial revolution,
which we may put around 1780. Coal was used on a large scale to fuel steam

engines or to heat the dwellings of the growing population. The burning of coal is
equivalent to oxidation of carbon to CO 2 and consequently the concentration of CO 2
in the air rose steadily.

The global radiation balance in more detail

1. A biologist has trekked the Arizona Mountains for 31 years studying the rites of
spring of jays. He found that the jays are laying their eggs earlier and earlier
each season. By 1998 the first eggs of the season arrived 10 days earlier than
in 1971. He is blaming global warming: the local minimum temperatures have
nudged up 2.7 (0C) in 27 years.

2. At the end of the 19 th century the Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius calculated
how changes in CO2 content would affect the temperature at the earth's surface.
He estimated that a doubling of CO 2 would produce a global warming of about
4(0C) to 6(0C), not too far from modern calculation.

3. Global warming is accelerating faster than climate modelers predicted. Back

in 1995 IPCC predicted that global temperature would rise between 1 ( 0C) in
the 21st century. But it has been calculated that the rate of warming is already
equivalent to 3(0C) increase per century.

4. Traces of methane-eating bacteria that lived in a pond over 2.7 billion years
ago ma help to explain the puzzle o how the early earth kept warm. The
discovery suggests that methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, was abundant
at the time and cold have kept the earth from freezing. Later the carbon cycle
began shifting away from a methane rich atmosphere after photosynthesis
evolved. Methane concentrations gradually fell, eventually triggering the first
widespread glaciation 2 to 3 billion years ago.

Infrared absorption by greenhouse gases

1. Changes in soil structure in response to CO2 enrichment should be incorporated

into global research. For soil structure has a strong effect on soil processes and
organisms. On a global scale, the extent of soil degradation and erosion is
severe and is accelerated by changes in climate and land use.
2. Global warming will cause forests to grow faster in the next 50 years. From
about 2050 however, the warming will kill many trees, returning the carbon to the
atmosphere and cause a runaway warming. Climate change is not going slowly,
like turning a light switch.
3. The influences of aerosols on climate are much more complex than those of the
greenhouse gases. The reason is the short atmospheric residence times from
less than a day to more than a month. Recent studies demonstrate both th
importance of aerosol effects on climate and the complexity of aerosol-cloud
4. Between 1955 and 1995 the world oceans warmed an average of 0.06 ( 0C)
between the surface and 3000 meters. That is about 20 x 10 22 (J) addd in 40
years, comparable to the loss and gain with the seasons. So, rising ocan
temperatures have delayed part of the surface warming. The climate sensitivity
may even be close to 3 (0C).

Consequences of Climate Change

1. The question is not whether it is occurring on such a rate that terrestrial life,
including humankind, will find it difficult to adapt.
2. An unchecked increase in emissions would kill many of the world's forests by
late next century, including the entire Amazon rain forest. A 750 (ppmv) ceiling
would still destroy the Amazon, but delay its loss until the 22 nd century. A limit of
550 (ppmv) would probably save it. In all cases the sea level will rise by at least
2 (m) over the next few hundred years.

Sea level rise

Around the world the gases that measure rainfall and stream height are slowly
disappearing, victims of a slow erosion in funding. This happens at a time when
global warming may be exacerbating weather extremes and water shortages. Now
scientists are less able to monitor water supplies, predict droughts and forecast
floods than they were 30 years ago.

Extreme weather conditions

The Munich reinsurance company anticipates that the number of climate related
disasters will rise in the coming years. But the reinsurers will not close shops. The
premiums for insuring against damage caused by natural disasters will increase.


The rising CO2 levels will cause a decrease in coral growth between 1880 and 2065
of about 40 percent. The reason is that coral polyps use Ca CO 3-- from surrounding
waters to build their skeletons, which become the framework of coral reefs. But CO 2
a weak acid, reacts with water and CO 3-- to produce HCO3--, which corals cannot


El Nino stared some 5800 years age, as may be deduced from flood deposits off the
Peruvian coast. It coincides with the cultural leap around 5800 years age. Our
ancestors had to innovate in order to survive under the new conditions. They started
to build temples in that same period. Perhaps to thank their Gods for their survival.

Reactions to Climate Change

Global warming is no more than a presumption. Climate is dependent on many

more factors than green house gasses, for example, on changes in solar activity
and aerosols. A reduction of emissions to achieve stabilization with a final
concentration of 550 ppmv requires such drastic policy measures that one cannot
take it seriously

There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide,

methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing, or will, in the foreseeable future,

cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's
atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial
scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce may
beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.



Till that fatal day in august 1945, which brought the second world war to an end, the
Japanese towns of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were less known to the world. The first
atom bomb was exploded about 580 meters in the atmosphere over ill fated
Hiroshima on august 6, 1945 the second atom bomb was detonated 507 meters high
in air over Nagasaki. At least 100,000 were reported were killed, severely injured and
missing in Hiroshima alone. Where the bomb virtually demolished all the structures
and buildings about 15 square km area. In Nagasaki 49000 civilians were killed,
injured and disappeared while an area of 6 to 7 km was devasted.

The atom bomb exploded in Hiroshima used uranium with half life period of
8.5x108years, while Nagasaki bomb had plutonium as an explosive man made radio
nuclide with half-life of 24,000 years.

The first hydrogen bomb was exploded in 1954 on the bikini island In the pacific .the
radioactive fall out from this explosion severely effected the crew of Japanese fishing
boat ,the LUCKY DRAGON about 150 km. away from the site of explosion several
persons were hospitalized, killed and disappeared ,while in BIKINI ISLAND the
explosion caused the entire toll vanished .

In 1957 and 1958 the USA,SOVIET UNION and GREAT BRITAIN denoted nuclear
weapons whose total yield was about 85 megatons .these weapons were equal to
4250 Hiroshima sized atom bombs .they caused several dangerous effects on man.

IN 1961,RUSSIA detonated a bomb of 57 megatons that could obliterate a city more

than three hundred times the size of Hiroshima.

In 1979, the THREE MILE ISLAND melt down of nuclear reactor crystallized nuclear
fears its adverse effects have been observed till now even more than 'TMI' the
explosion at the 'CHERNOBYL' power plant in SOVIET UKRAINE confirmed that
world's worst nuclear fear in 1986.this accident has left its finger prints on EUROPE

Currently on MAY 21, 1993 fire broke out at a nuclear power station in the former
SOVIET REPUBLIC OF UKRAINE, injuring and killing human life.

These nuclear explosions created apprehension in the minds of millions of people

about the hazardous radiation effects.

reactors had undergone accidents since 1942 when the first reactor went critical in
the united states, ost of these incidents were kept secret by author ties.

CHERNOBYL was the first officially acknowledged nuclear accident in USSR and
first reported to the world.

In INDIA alone, environmental activates have claimed 200 accidents of serious

nature since the commissioning of the first Indian research reactor, APSARA in 1956.

These accidents had resulted I radiation leakage and damage to the fragile
ecosystem. Due to growing pressure from environmental groups, a small office of the
headquarters in BOMBAY in 1984. But the radiation menace today is as grave as it
was in the commissioning of power plants.

Disaster Averted But the Threat Persists

On March 31, 1993 at an early morning (3.31 A.M.), the fire devastated the Narora
Atomic Power Station (NAPS) and left behind the damaged equipment worth over
Rs. 25 crores. The Chief Superintendent of the plant stated a total loss of Rs. 150
crores. The Chief superintendent of the plant stated a total loss of Rs. 150 crores.

NAPS- NAPS has two reactors each of 235 MW PHWRs version. Unit I become
operational in 1989 and Unit II in 1991. The mishap occurred is Unit I which was
generating 190 MW. Unit II was shut down earlier for maintenance work.

How is Power Generated- In a nuclear reactor the energy is generated by the

splitting of uranium atom fuel rods are extremely radioactive, so extra safety
precautions are required while operating a nuclear reactor.

Where the Mishap Occurred - The incident occurred due to an electric spark in the
bus bar or of arching in the cables which carry high currents below the turbine
generated floor. Since the cables carry 10,000-12,000 amperes of current, any loose
contact at eh generator-bus bar junction would have resulted in a massive spark.
Immediately after the accident, the fire raged in the turbine room, the fast acting
system was activated which shut down the reactor automatically. However, the
turbine building is located in a different building, outside the reactor building outside,
the reactor building.

Mishap-Level- The Automatic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) Which is

empowered to frame codes and regulations to safety in establishments concerned
with radioactive substances, has put this fire at Level three, that is, a serious
incident, on the International Nuclear Event Scale. The incident was without a
radiation leakage.

The International Scale has seven levels, Level one is called anomaly, Level two is
incident, Level three is serious incident and Level four to seven are dangerous

Safety Devices- NAPS has one of the world's most sophisticated safety features. It
is equipped with two separate shut down systems, i.e., a fast acting system and a
slow acting system. The fast acting shut down system is provided with two sub-
(a) a primary mechanism that shuts off the reactor at 14 locations and
(b) the secondary shut down system which immediately fills up the reactor with
lithium pentaborate solution. It acts as a poison that retards the nuclear reaction.

The slow acting system is an additional safety device which injects controlled
quantities of boron into the nuclear reactor's moderator. The system is a fool-proof
method since it can be activated even if there is no electricity. It operates under the
force of gravity.

In the Uttar Kashi earth quake of October 1991, NAPS had automatically shut down,
reinforcing the belief in the inbuilt safety measures.

Nuclear-Plant Mishaps- According to a latest report of the Atomic Energy

Regulatory Board (AERB) the fire at the Narora Atomic station in March 1993 has
been preceded by 147 safety limiting unusual occurrences at the various Department
of Atomic Energy (DAE) sites last year. Five of the 147 incidents involved deaths.
The accidents involved electrical systems, and fire accidents.

Environmental management through laws:

Environmental legislation has got fresh impetus after the U.N. conference at
Stockholm in1972. As a result of the Stockholm conference, the national committee
on environmental planning and coordination was formed as an apex advisory body
on all environmental matters. On the remediation of Taiwan committee on 1 st
November, 1980, a separate department of environment was established at center
under the charge of P.M.currently, there are 30 major industries related to
environmental protection administered by the center and state government.

Apart from above mentioned acts, many metropolitan cities have

enacted different acts to control transport pollution and noise pollution in the city.

The water act:

Water is a state subject. All the states were told to rectify from the assembly.
The legislative power to make the laws relation to prevention and control of water
pollution has not been given to parliament by art 249&250. This power rest with state
under art 252(1) of the constitution of India. Several states have passed reservation
to make uniform law in respect of water prevention and control of pollution.

Major features:

1. To provide prevention& control of water pollution &restoring the wholesomeness of

2. To establish center and state boards to carry out above purposes.

3. For conferring and assigning power, state department of environmental were

created and they were accountable for day to day matters of the state boards.

The water cess act:

According to the provision of water act, 1974, the center and state govt. has to
provide funds to boards for prevention and control of water pollution. For
implementing the provision of act. However, due to limited resources, the state
government was not able to provide funds to the state boards for their effective

This necessitated, levy or cess by local authorities which are interested with the duty
of supplying water under the law. These are constituted and on certain specific
industries, the cess proposed to be levied on the water consumed by local
Air act:

This act was enacted by parliament under art 253 of Indian constitution.

Main objectives:

1. The act deals with the preservation of air quality and control of air pollution.

3. Setting up of air pollution control boards at center and states with power to issue
&revoke licenses to polluting industries, in force emission standards &to frame
rules and regulations for the control of air pollution.

Silent features:

1. In this act polluting industries are called as scheduled industries. The schedule
has a lot of 20 types of industries like textile, power plants, coal, iron and steel,
chemical etc.,

2. It also covers all sources of air pollution from industries and from all transport
means and domestic fuels.

3. According to section 19(1) & 19(2) of the act, certain heavily polluted regions may
be declared as air pollution. Sensitive areas by state after consultation with state
boards, where any further pollution by the use of any fuel would become severe
health hazard to the people.

4. Under section 19(4), the use of any appliances can be prohibited in the premises
situated in an APCA.

5. Under section 19(5), the incineration of garbage of waste product in APCA which
is likely to cause air pollution can be prohibited by state government even burning
of smoke wells for domestic purposes is prohibited under this act.

6. under section 20, standards for emission of pollutants from automobile is


7. Under section 21(1), of the act, no industry shall be operated in APCA by any
person with out the concert of the state board.

8. Under the section 40(3), the direct approach of people affected by air pollution to
the court has been discouraged. Before approaching to court they should obtain
permission from the pollution control board .

Environmental protection act (1986):

This is one of the comprehensive acts enacted by government of India in

1986. This comes into force in whole India from 19 th November, 1986. This act was
enacted for the protection and improvement of environment and prevention of
hazards for human beings and other living creatures, plants and properties.

Sustainable development

What is sustainable development ?

Sustainable capacity for continuance

Sustainable development is a process where by over time we achieve sustainability

The concept of ‘ sustainable development’

1. “ meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future
generations to meet their own needs.
2. concept is new and controversial. Policies needed to put it into practice
3. It is process which enables all people to realize their potential andd improve
their quality of life in ways that simultaneously protect and enhance the earth’s
life support systems.
4. Don’t cheat on your children
5. No country as yet pursuing a policy of sustainable development [SD]
6. Road to sustainable development varies with each country.


1. Our global resources of water and food are already to breaking point
2. Water tables have been droping steadily worldwide with no plan for
restoration, while demand continues to climb.
3. We can not sustainable continue to burn fossil fuel at the present rate. Yet
there’s no sign of any control.
4. We have all heard a lot about threats to the future of the Earth’s environment
in the form of global warming, acid rains, ozone, destruction extinction of
various species; and so on.
5. The potential effects of global warming are extreme, with only few degrees of
change needed to produce massive floods, withdrawal of forest, deaths and
finally, extinction of species or entire ecosystem.
6. Our agricultural practices also leave a lot to be desired. The mindless and
incessant use of chemicals and synthetic fertilizers to boost the productivity
has worked havoc on the environment: besides depleting natural fruitfulness.


1. To attain sustainability

How it should be attained….?

 Social progress which recognizes the need of every one
 Effective protection of the environment
 Prudent use of natural resources
 Maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and


 3-dimension Environment

sustainable development:

Venn diagram and the triple bottom line

Techno-Environmental Dimension

 shifting to cleaner & efficient technologies

 curtiling use of fossil fuels
 preserving traditional technologies
 improved government regulation & enforcement
 efficient use of arable lands and water supplies
 improving agricultural practices and technologies
 avoiding overuse of chemical fertilizers/pesticides
 conserving water
 improving water quality
 conserving biodiversity
 preventing destabilization of climate
 protecting natural resources need for food
 using irrigation carefully
 avoiding expansion on hillsides or marginal lands.
 Slowing or halting destruction

Economic Dimension

Reduced Energy consumption

 changing consumption patterns

 providing leadership
 reduce import barriers
 less resouce intensive technologies

 equal access to resources
 reduce disparity of incomes
 money to development needs
 improvement in living standards
 alleviating poverty
 better access to land, Education, Social Services
 Efficient manufacturing sector

Societal Dimension

 Stabilizing population
 Rural development.
 Minimize environmental consequences of urbanization.
 Improving standards for literacy.
 Primary health care more accessible
 Improving social well-being
 Protecting cultural diversity
 Investing in human capital
 Investing in health and education of women.
 Participation in decision making

Agenda for sustainable development

 Carrying capacity based development planning process.

 Structural changes in economic sectors
 Preventive environmental policy
 Environmental impact assessment

Carrying capacity based development planning process

 Development planning in most countries has been traditionally based on the

concept of minimum needs in which the planning priorities and activity targets
are established to meet certain basic minimum needs of poorest sections of
 Sustainable development calls for trade off between the desired production-
consumption levels through the exploitation of supportive capacity and
environmental quality within the assimilative capacity of regional Ecosystems
 The utilization of carrying capacity thus requires a series of adjustments to
reconcile completing aspirations in developmental process
 An ideal approach to the validation of this challenging, yet desirable,
mechanics of developmental planning will be hierarchical through the stages
of village, district, region, nation and globe in keeping with existing political
and administrative boundaries.

Concept of regional carrying capacity

Structural change sin economic sectors

 Related to
 (a). Increased ecologic harmony and
 (b). Economic efficiency through non waste technology of production,
utilization of renewable rather than Non renewable resouce base, coordination
of environmental sector like agriculture, energy, industry, mining, transport and

Examples in Ecological Modernization

 Manufacturing sector
 Energy sector
 Agriculture sector
 Transport sector
 Construction sector

Manufacturing sector

 Existing production processes must be consciously converted to prceses

which recycle raw materials
 Substitution process from ecologically harmful to benign raw materials and
 Population pressures increase, branches of economy working with renewable
resources will face significantly less problems in terms of acquisition of raw
materials and waste disposal
 Biotechnology must play an important in conversion of renewable resources
base for substitution in industry sector that traditionally uses non-renewable

Energy sector

 Ecological modernization of energy sector warrants increased use of primary

 Greater use of regenerative energy sources
 Energy quality and quantity
 Integration of energy recovery systems in waste management
 Reduction in transmission losses in centralized energy systems and
 Enhanced efficiency of combustion processes

Agriculture sector

 Eco-cultivation and biotechnological improvements

 Reduction in external energy subsidies thereby minimizing conversion of
fertile agricultural land into waste land through the use of organic manure’s
and biocides and
 Development of land use plans compatible with ecosystem type

Transport sector

 Reduction in fuel consumption of motor vehicles through design of

combustion efficient engines
 Reduction in motored kilometers, and provision of efficient public transport

Construction sector
 Use of renewable and environmentally compatible building materials
 Saving of land energy by appropriate design and orientation, and lab our
intensive construction methodologies

Preventive environmental policy

 Reactive environmental policy

 Inter-policy conflicts
 Federal versus state dichotomy
 Public participation

Reactive environmental policy

 Necessary to devise a policy framework making in such a way that the

resource utilization as also the cost of environmental protection are minimized
while economic productivity and innovative capacity of the proponent are
 Environmental policy must aim at raising the levels of ecologic compatibility
and economic efficiency ensuring sustainable development.

Inter-policy conflicts

 The existing legalistic policy framework ignores the impact of policy decisions
insectors of economy on environmet
 The main reason for this inter-policy conflict lies in the treatmentof
environment s an disolation secotr like energy, industry, agriculture, mining,
etc.unless the interactive nature of environmental componets introduced in
sectoral policies, these interpolicy conflict are to continue.

Federal versus state dichotomy

 Most developing countries are federal states and, therefore, the environmetal
policymust take shape within the context of the divided jurisdiction between
federal and state boundaries.

Public participation

 Environmetla control in economic sectors involoves interactions amongst

various role players
 The proponets,
 The legislative and implementation organizations,
 The workers unions,
 The professions,
 The researchers and the policy makers.
 Many of the environmental management problem in economic sectors could
be resolved by providing larger participation of role players in policy

Environmental impact assessment

 Environmental impact assessment is potentially one of the most valuable,

 And objectie decsion
 Making tool with regard to alternative routes for development, process
technologies and project sites facilitating internalization of environmental
concerns in the process of planning for economic development.


 The natural step

 Eco-efficiency
 Internations standards organization (ISO)
 The aspen principles

The natural step

 The natural step is an international movement dedicated to helping society

reduces its impact on the environment and move toward a sustainable future

We can be summarized as three system conditions for sustainability:

 1. Materials from the earth’s crust must not systematically increase in nature
(e.g. heavy metals,fossil fuels ).
 2. The physical basis for the Earth’s productive natural cycles and biological
diversity must not be systematically deteriorated.

 3. There must be fair and efficient use of resources with respect ot meeting
human needs.


Eco-Efficeincy” to describe a vision for th eproduction of economically valuable

goods and services while increasingly reduces the ecological impacts of production

 reduction of the material intensity of goods and services

 reduction of the energy intensity of goods and services
 reduction of toxic dispersion
 enhancement
 material recyclables
 maximization of the sustainable use of resources
 reduction of material durability
 increase the eservice intensity of goods and services.


Population and the Environment


The basic the me here is the relationship between population growth and
natural resources. Too much growth strains our supplies of natural resources; the
struggle for increasingly scarce resources further strains our social existence.
Competition between the east and the west; developed and developing nations--
involves (to a large extent) conflict over limited resources. (Even for such "unlimited"
resources as nuclear energy, there is intense debate-Chernobyl is an example--
because of the potential damage that can be inflicted on the environment).

For example, the United States with approximately 6 percent of the world's
population, consumes about 35 percent of the world's resources in energy and

The socio-cultural roots of our present environmental crisis lies in to

paradigms of scientific materialism and economic determinism which fails to
recognize the physical limit imposed by ecological systems on economic activity.
The explosive growth of population has created environmental pressures because
of the sheer number of the peoples on the earth and due to rise of urbanization ,
created local environmental problems, because of high density of people and
industries within urban area. The economic success and high standard of living of
people in the urban centres has created demand of natural resources such as water
timber, mineral deposits, energy and land. The growing domestic and industrial
demands for more products and corresponding depletion of natural resources can
not be sustained indefinitely without several environmental disorder.

The paper analyses the future scenario of population growth and
environmental impact of urbanization.

The Nature of Population growth

The population growth is often characterized as exponential that is it

increases (or decreases) by a fixed percentage of the existing total number over a
unit period of time.

Mathematically this can be expressed as

P = Po ert, P = The future size of the population

Po = The current size of the population
t =The number of year
r = the assumed constant growth rate for each of the t
years (as a fraction)
e = the base of natural logarithms
The growth rate r is usually expressed as a percent increase per year.
Currently, the world population growth rat is approximately 1.8 percent per year

For any country, growth of the population is determined by four principal

components: births, death, immigration and emigration Growth rate as a percentage
per year.

Population growth of MDR and LDR

It is well known fact that population growth rate for Most Developed Regions (MDR)
and Low Developed Regions (LDR) are related to socio-economic implications. One
simple fact illustrates the point of every 10 people living today in the world, four live
in one or other of the two les developed countries i.e. China and India.

Table: Population Data for MDR and LDR

Population Annual birth Annual death Estimated Doubling Estimated

(Million) per 1000 per 1000 growth (%) time (year) Population
1980 1975 - 80 1975 -80 1975-2000 1975 (million)
MDR 1.131 15.8 9.4 0.61 115 1.272
LDR 3.301 33.0 12.1 1.98 35 4.878

Momentum of World Population Growth

A presentation of some very though provoking population projections for the world
made by T. Frejka in 1973 is a fitting end to the discussion of material on population
growth. Frejka's projection is based on various assumptions.


The urbanization refers to an increase in the ratio of urban population to rural

population. The definition of urbanizations depends upon socio-economic aspect of
the country & cultural and historical backgrounds. However, it can be said that a
population of 20,000 is used as size above which an area is called as urban. The
low developed regions have shown extremely rapid growth of population compared
to most developed regions in just 30 years. United Nations projections suggests that
the LDR will have 3/4 of a billion more urban population than MDR by the end of the

Due to growing unemployment and lesser opportunities in rural areas. Lot of

migration is taking place towards urban areas in all developing countries of the
world;. We have also noticed that our mega cities have reached in choacking state.
The population of Bombay and Calcutta is now about 15 million and population
density is about 7000/sq km. Due to this the problems like water supply, waste
disposal, housing and transportation are staggering.

Environmental Impact of Urbanization

The environmental impacts of urbanization are many and varied. The predominant
atmospheric effect of urbanization is the alteration of atmosphere's chemistry
through the release of massive quantities of CO oxides of sulfur and nitrogen, dust,
particulae matterk noxi9ous and toxic chemicals etc. The sources of these
contaminants are diverseindustry, mos forms of transportaion and heatig of buildins,
municipal incinerators., sewage treatment works, ope fires and land fill sites. In
adition, significant heating of air masses over urban entres occurs as a result of
radiation from heat absorbing surcaces such as roads, parking lots and roof tops.
This is in addition to the heat released from all types of combustion and industrial
system. The combustion of hydrocarbons particularly those used in the
transportation sector also give rise to photochemical
Smog' as a result of the interaction of various by products of the combustion
process and energy from solar radiation. The disposal of solid waste, municipal
wastewater, toxic and hazardous waste and storm water containing oil & grease in
one of the major problems in urban environment.

In the land space front, to meet excess land demand the elevation of surface have
been altered, river diverted and low land either excavated for harbours or filled in for
building. In fact, the construction of building and roads has revamped the character
of the regions, native ecosystems are replaced by urban patterns, circulation of air is
altered (on local scale) by presence of obstructions such as tall buildings and smoke
stacks. Transportation of both public and private is responsible for substantial
alteration of the land scape because of the construction of the roads, rail roads,
parking lots, airports, harbours and warehousing for shipping facilities. The provision
of municipal services i.e. existence of water towers, pumping stations, reservoirs
etc. create some change in urban environment.

The human impacts of urbanisaion tends to be rather difficult to define and asses.
The health effects of noise, air and water pollution and the psychological stresses
caused by high density and a relatively fast paced environment are not easily

quantified. Many of the effects are not particularly harmful in isolated contacts but
continued exposure the to inhalation of low level concentrations i.e. lead ma be
much more serious problems. Due to this reason now the four metros of India
started supplying unleaded petrol to vehicles having catalytic converters.

The psychological impacts are the leasts understood and as a result the most
difficult to evaluate However, there are few people who would deny that these
stresses do exist.

Urban Polluton Management By Structural Change

The effective environmental management can be done by structural economic

change by raising the ecologic and economic efficiency and minimizing natural
resource exploitation with acceptable limits.

A few example of structural change are

* Manufacturing Industry:

Transition to production processes which save or recycle raw materials and energy,
substitution of ecologically harmful products with harmless ones ecological grouping
of industries.

* Energy Sector:

Rational use of primary energy, greater use of regenerative energy sources and
decentralisation of supply.

* Transport Sector:

Reduction in specific consumption of motor vehicles, reduction in total number of

motored kilometers, provision of an efficient transport system.

* Construction Industry:

Use of renewable and environmentally compatible building materials saving of land

and energy, labor incentive designs.
*Solid Waste Sector:

Proper management of solid waste generated by the city and proper adaptation of
materials and energy recovery systems.


The mordern communication has made the world as a global village. Still the large
gap in the quality of life between the world's richer and poorer nationsis expected
to widen because of higher population growth rates in less developed regions.
The unbanisation in developing nation have reached on a saturation level and any
further increase in population in urban areas will have detrimental effect on quality
of life in urban areas. The excalating costs of resources particularly energy, have
caused very serious economic problem for all poor nations We have to act in time

so that so that we can avoid situation like stagnant rivers smoggy skies and
unsightly dumps etc.

A warning was expressed by Leaster Brown (1987) President of world watch

institute who noted that human use of the air water, land, forest and other terms
that support life on earth was pushing those systems over 'thresholds' beyond
which they can not absorb such use without permanent change or damage.
Therefore scientists, engineers, lawyers, economists and managers should
move towards sustainable development of nation. The planning should be such
that it give better growth of country along with better quality of life with better

Role Of Information Technology In Environment and Human Health:

Information Dissemination Network for Sustainable Industrial Development

Exponentially increasing population on our planet; continually depleting and

drifting food and other naturally available resources; and man-made pollution and
noise, have been vitiating habitat conditions.

Information, education and knowledge dissemination of SID and allied factors

is now seen as a big challenge by man towards the closing years of the Twentieth
Century. The educational, administrative, industrial, and other infrastructures can be
searched to identify role players for making the Information Dissemination Network
(IDN) economically viable as well as practically effective. The ten-hour long film
prepared recently by the Boston Television Network and introduced into the global
communication network, is perhaps, one major effort of IDN towards SID.

The proposed World Conference on Environmental Development in 1992 is

intended towards inculcating world-wide awareness for Environmental Development
(ED) and develop suitable programme of action. In recent years, in India, awareness
about sustainable development and need for conservation of resources and energy
has been boosted through events like Bhopal Gas Disaster; social movements like
Chipko, Tehri Dam Project; societal missions, viz., Health for Everyone by 2000 AD,
Integrated Village Development, Ganga Action Plan; and Water Mission where
NEERI has a substantially significant role to play.

Health of the workers exposed in industries and mining organizations is

another equally important dimension of research and appropriate information
dissemination. Table gives some incidence of diseases associated with aerosols.
Coal ash in hazardous coal mines affecting the lungs of the workers is another
instance. Suitable remedies for preserving the health of the workers, development of
popular information and education packages and introducing them in a suitable local
and wider IDN is perhaps one major task. Safety of workers and operations are
closely linked with the health of the workers. There has been some thinking at
managerial levels to incorporate safety considerations in MIS networks. Safety
slogan display in the mining environment is one such example of education of
workers. Still, accidents and disasters keep on punctuating the industrial happiness.
The chasnala disaster of 1974 was one case of planners violating the instruction
regarding digging within close proximity of the river-bed. Vital information, just

entered in records and not converted to suitable information packages and display, is
as good as not generated. So SID needs strong support of IDN.

Table: Diseases Associated With Aerosols

Sr. No. Source Pathogen Diseases caused

1. Sewage Echovirus Respiratory, Fever,

2. Sewage Salmonella sp Typhoid
3. Solid Waste Treatment Enterotoxigenic Dysentery
4. Cooling Tower/ Air- Legionella sp Pneumonia

One more aspect of sustainable development that merits our attention in

storage and packaging is safety and environment problems. A recent discussion in
IEEE Spectrum has pointed out that study of storage methods in nature may be a
good guide for safe storage at nuclear establishment. Attention is particularly drawn
to the fact that promising technologies have been demonstrated ut gaining public
support is an important matter attention has also been drawn to the findings in 1972
by Geologists in Western Africa (Gabon) as to how nature, nearly two billion years
ago, sealed and isolated radioactive byproducts within the surrounding one for
millions of years. Researchers in United States, Europe, USSR and India tried to
take clues from these findings to improve the process of vitrification. Realization at
research level is one thing and propagating the information content to day-to-day
worker level with ever alert system (human and /or machine-automatic) of
information dissemination and education is another.

Cross-Sectional View of Developing IDN in India

Formal radio and TV broadcasting network has spread in India to cove 67 and
85 percent population. The INSAT Series, being an open-ended information
dissemination and display system, has made a big difference to achievements in this
field. The extent of impact of this type of information propagation is roughly assessed
through some relevant surveys. The type of IDN required for inculcating broad-based
awareness will have to depend on directive networks.

In the context of IDN suitable for SID, the experimental data communication
network inaugurated in June 1986 by Telecommunications Research Centre was a
good beginning. Principally, the branches of DRDO, Tata-Burrows, DCM Data
Products, etc., could instantaneously send data and programme from one of their
branches in Delhi, Madras or Bombay through local area networks to the main centre
and then through wide band microwave communication networks for inter-city
communication. One of the claims in the introductory pamphlet issue then was that
ideally every teleprinter terminal in the country could be made a member of the data
communication receipt and transmission network.

The National Informatics Centre (NIC) has now set up country wide
information network via satellite to receive and process statistical and other

necessary data from all district headquarters. Four regional centres (for western
Region, Pune) act as nodal points for this. The communication to and from District
Centre is through a micro-earth station. Local area Net work Terminals from the
Regional Centre to some R and D centres, e.g., Basant Das Sugar Institute (VSI)
important operation instructions in a directive way through this information network.
Vasantdada Sugar Institute (VSI) at Manjari, BK are being thought over. In return, all
the sugar factories (and of course distilleries using molasses) will send all relevant
data through the District Centres and can also receive important operational
instructions in a directive way through this information network.

NEERI, as prime nodal agency for SID in country, can get suitably linked for
effective information dissemination of SID on this Information Network.

The proposed data communication network for sugar industries provides a

good insight into combination of land based wireless network and satellite network.
Each sugar factory has been allotted a land of approximately30-50 km radius around
it. Sugarcane is cultivated with definite crop pattern rotation. As the crushing season
starts, sugarcane has to be cut in a preplanned way and transported efficiently to the
factory site.

A network of wireless voice communication is of vital importance for

preservation of good quality and quantity of sugarcane. Usually, a sugar factory with
2500 t/d crushing capacity may need about 17 - 20 stationary wireless stations (with
effective radiated powers of 15/20 W), about 5-7 mobile stations (vehicle) and nearly
8 - 10 portable low power transceivers. In subsequent stages of development (say by
2020 AD), it may be possible to put and sense parameters about the health of crop,
educative advice to farmers for taking proper care of the crop and ensure optimum
health. Section -B is the NIC combination network for transfer of production data and
other relevant parameters for updated database at VSI. The data for SID data and
solutions will be put on this network. Section - C is the supporting part (preferably
wide band wireless) between factories and district centres. In the initial stages,
transport of data on floppies may be purely manual. The IDN for sustainable
development at National level, including NEERI.

A question generally raised is whether the Panchayat level officers/workers

could be switched into this type of IDN. The experience and field work of CEERI,
Pilani has some bearing on this point. During the survey and planning of
experimental rural wireless communication systems, school teachers from likely
villages requested the concerned scientists that the schools be chosen/favoured as
centres for wireless stations, rather than sarpanches as thought by CEERI. The
argument advanced was that the schools are better information sources for villages
and the school children are the willing conveyers of important messages. Schools
wee consequently approved as centres and licensees were issued to them by the
Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing of the Ministry of Communication.

Taking the example of IDN for sugar industry, the man-power requirement for
the network can be worked out on the following lines:

(a) Section A of the network (wireless communication from factory to
farms, etc.) needs 5-6 ITI trained level workers and some training to
normal workers and farmers, etc.
(b) NIC network at regional and district level is aleady planned by Govt.
and concerned departments.
(c) Section C will require PCs and operators (1-2) with some orientation
for data and world processing on PCs/Teleprinters on PCs, FAS, etc.
(d) At the nodal level (e.g., VSI), a full fledged team of 10-15 high level
trained persons will naturally be available. Their orientation for
handling SID data will be a small affair.

As such, IDN for 92 - 111 sugar factories has the potential of generating
nearly 600 jobs in semi rural conditions and about 20 highly specialized personnel at
the nodal level.

Supporting Educational Component

Industry-wise education for sustainable development involves factors like:

 Appropriate land and site selection

 Building up of planning for safety and sustainable development
consideration blocks in the organizational structure
 Progressive and updated methods for treatment and utilization of
 Education to the surrounding population for prompt responses in case
of likely accidents and crisis is essentially the prime responsibility of
nodal agencies like NEERI.