Environmental Issues Class 12 Biology


Progress made in the industrial, agricultural and technological fields has resulted in a lot of adverse effects on the environment. Environmental pollution is resulted by multiple factors, however, the population explosion has immensely damaged natural resources. The imbalance caused in the demand and supply of environmental sources has resulted in the uncontrolled exploitation of the natural sources. Increased population implies more pressure on domestic sources such as electricity, water, consumer goods including food and clothing. To fulfil the overgrowing needs of the human beings,  a lot of raw materials are needed for roads, housing, bridges, and many other projects which eventually result in the exhaustion of forests, rivers, soil,  wild animals, etc. Some of the human activities resulting in the issues like pollution, natural disasters and the depletion of the natural sources by destroying the biodiversity. Some of the major problems our country is facing are air pollution, water pollution, land pollution and noise pollution. Apart from pollution, deforestation, and mining led to a lot of habitat destruction. As the magnitude of the problem is increasing, it has resulted in many natural calamities that have further added pressure on the resources. Even though the situation was worst during  1947-1995, the interventions from the government have helped to curb the seriousness of issues to some extent. Our government has introduced a number of schemes to conserve environmental sources. But, after the year 2010,  India and the world has once again witnessed a serious deflation of the environment and natural sources. 


Major environmental issues in India

Though pollution is on top of the list, the other problems such as deforestation, depletion of underground water tables, damage to the mineral resources like forests are some of the other issues demanding immediate attention. Deforestation has further resulted in the degradation of farmland, loss of biodiversity and poor health of the ecosystems. Health issues like infections, birth defects and mental illnesses have been substantially increasing despite many measures. Global warming is another cause of concern which is growing at a rapid pace. Let us discuss some of the basic environmental issues that our country is facing.


1. Pollution

India has witnessed a profound degree of pollution in the past 50 years of industrial era. This is even worse in the metro cities like Delhi, Calcutta, and Mumbai. As far as India is concerned, the primary sources of pollution are; the rapid burning of fossil fuels, burning of fuelwood and exhaustion of biomass. One of the worry is the ineffective waste management strategies that lack the organized operational plan in the management of  garbage. The country is also facing an intense shortage of technical facilities that help in mitigating the natural calamities like floods and outbreak of epidemic diseases. Despite as many as oceans around, the country is facing drought in many states. Some of the regions have very poor access to the basic need - clean drinking water because of the pollution of existing water sources. In many localities, the sewage treatment system is still a dream. In addition to water pollution, there has been a drastic depletion in the soil quality because of the over usage of pesticides and insecticides. On the other hand, urbanization and industrialization have welcomed a substantial level of noise pollution.


2. Excessive use of groundwater

As the monsoons are slowly shrinking, groundwater irrigation by digging bore-wells has observed an unexpected raise. Extracting a lot of underground water led to a falling level of groundwater tables. We won`t be surprised if the government declares the majority of our cities as completely dry.


3. Climate Change

India is witnessing an all-time high temperature in the past 5 years. In May 2016, Phalodi in Rajasthan has touched a record high temperature of 51 degrees Celsius. If this continues, the Himalayan glaciers are expected to be completely melted down to cause serious floods in the north-east region. India is vulnerable to floods, tsunami that hit in the past decade was one of the best examples of this. 


4. Use of Plastics

India is a leading country in polymer production and its usage. Though the government is serious about plastic usage, people still use a lot of plastic in the form of wrappers, covers, and the packets used for food packing. The recent data from the Plastindia Foundation says that  India’s per capita plastic consumption grew up to 8-kilo grams in the year 2018 which was about 4 kgs during 2006.  By the end of  2020, this is expected to grow Up to 27 kg.  A plastic beverage bottle takes up to 500 years to decompose naturally hence it is one of the burning issues to be addressed with high priority.


5. Loss of Biodiversity

Habitat destruction by the exploitation of animal and plant habitats is one of the burning issues in India. Many industries depending upon the natural sources like wild animals and plants has resulted in the misuse of commercial plants and animals. Based on the data depicted by the department of forestry, more than 70  species of plants and animals in India are listed as critically endangered. Such a phenomenon has led to the loss of indigenous species like Siberian crane, Himalayan wolf, and Kashmir stag.         


Further reading 


Noise pollution and management              


Water pollution and its control


Environmental chemistry


Environmental issues


Management of natural sources


Important Questions 

  1. How is biodiversity linked with pollution?

  2. List the major environmental issues in India.

  3. Why is plastic harmful to our health?

  4. Explain the strategies to control pollution.  






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