Chapter-9 Environment and Sustainable Development




Environment may be defined as the sum total of surroundings that affects the life.  Environment include water air and land and their interrelationship which exists between them and human being and other creatures plants and micro-organism.  Thus, there are two elements of environment.

  • Physical or abiotic factors – It include elements like air, water Climate Mountains and minerals.
  • Living or biotic factors – It includes all kinds of living creatures like plants and animals etc.

Both these elements of environment influence each other.


  • It supplies resources – Environment provides resources both in the form of renewable and non-renewable.Renewable resources are those which can be

Usedwithout the possibility of the resource becoming depleted or exhausted. Inotherwords,acontinuous supply of the resource remains available. Examples of renewableresources are trees in the forest and fish in the ocean. Non-renewable resources are those which get exhausted with extraction and use, example, fossil fuels.

  • It assimilates the waste – It implies that when demand of the resources is less than the supply, the waste generated is within the assimilating capacity of the environment.
  • It sustains life by providing genetic and bio-diversity. The third and the most         important function of environment are to sustain the life.  However, the                       function cannot be performed if assimilating capacity of the environment fails.                          The carrying capacity of the environment implies that the resources extraction

is not above the rate of regeneration of the resourcesand the waste generated are within the assimilating capacity ofthe environment. Carrying capacity of the environment helps to sustain life.Absence of carrying capacity of environments means absence of life.

  • Environment Enhances Quality of Life – Environment includes oceans, mountains, deserts, etc. Man enjoys these surroundings, adding to the quality               of life.



  • Population Explosion – With the population explosion and start of industrial revolution, to meet the growing needs of the expanding population the demand        for the resources for both consumption and production increased.
  • Air Pollution – Greater use of energy like coal, kerosene oil and diesel causes greater generation of smoke in the air.  It causes a serious damage to the public
  • Water Pollution – Industrial wastes are often thrown into rivers and canals of the adoring areas. It causes water pollution which can lead to the spread of       water borne diseases implying damage to the human life as well as animal life.
  • Noise Pollution – The process of modernization is well known for the noise Machines and plants producing noise cause environmental degradation to a large extant.
  • Urbanisation – Whenever there is large migration of population from rural to urban areas, it leads to fast growth of slum areas. There is excess of load on the    existing infrastructural facilities. It causes environmental degradation and ill
  • Rise in Economic Activity – With rise in national income or economic activity, there is rise in industrilisation and urbanization. This raises pollution of air,           water and noise. There are accidents, shortage of water, housing problems, etc.                              in other words, with rise in national income there is ecological degradation                                 which reduces welfare of the people.



The threat to the India’s environment is increasing because of the threat of poverty and threat of pollution and rapidly growing industrial sector.  The priority issues identified are

  • Land Degradation
  • Loss of vegetation occurring due to deforestation
  • Unsustainable fuel wood and fodder extraction
  • Shifting cultivation
  • Forest fires and over grazing
  • Non – adoption of adequate soil conservation measures
  • Improper crop-rotation
  • Uses of chemicals like fertilizers and pesticides
  • Improper planning and management of irrigation system
  • Open access resource
  • Poverty of the agricultural depend resource


(ii)      Biodiversity Loss – The high density of population and livestock and the competing uses of land for forestry, agriculture pastures, human settlements and industries exert an enormous pressure on the country’s finite land resources.

(iii)     Air Pollution – In India, air pollution is widespread in urban areas where vehicles are the major contributors. Vehicular emissions are of particular concern since these are ground level sources and, thus, have the maximum impact on the general population.

(iv)     Management of fresh watermany states in India are on the edge of famine. Whatever water is available, it is polluted or contaminated. It causes diseases like diarrhea and hepatitis.

(v)      Solid waste management–Also, there is lack of planned management of solid waste compost. Uncollected garbage not only causes diseases but it is also visibly ugly. Dumping garbage into landfills is not an attractive option.



The concept of sustainable development was emphasized by the United Nation conference on environment and development (UNCED) which defined it as “development that meets the need of present generation without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs.  Thus, sustainable development is the process which involves.

  • This fulfills the need of present generation.
  • Without causing any harm to the ability of future generation to meet its own



  • Sustained rise in real per capital income and economic growth.
  • Proper and rational use of natural resources, so that they are not exploited.
  • Sustainable development aims at making use of natural resources in such a way so as not to reduce the ability of future generation to meet its own needs.



  • To limit the human population to a level within the carrying capacity of the
  • Technological progress should be input efficient instead of input consuming.
  • Non-renewable resources should be extracted on a sustainable basis i.e. rate of consumption should not exceed rate of regeneration.
  • Inefficiencies arising from pollution should be corrected.
  • Rate of depletion of non-renewable resources should not exceed the rate of creation of renewable resources.



(1)      Use of non-conventional/Renewable sources of energy –

Thermal and hydro power plants produces large quantities of carbon dioxide and thus causes pollution of water bodies, land and other components of environment.  Wind power and solar rays are the good example of renewable and cleaner sources of energy which be used to replace thermal and hydro power.

(2)      LPG and Gobar Gas in rural areas – Households in the rural areas generally use wood, dung cake which leads to deforestation and pollution.  To correct this situation, LPG is being provided at subsidized rates and Gobar Gas plants are being provided through easy loans   Use of LPG as a clear fuel reduces the pollution and energy waste is also minimized.

(3)      CNG in Urban areas – The use of compressed natural gas as a fuel in public transport system has significantly lowered the air pollution and air has become cleaner in the urban areas. (Ex. Delhi)

(4)      Wind Power – In areas where speed of wind is usually high, mills can provide electricity without any adverse impact on the environment. Wind turbines move with the wind and electricity is generated. Although initial cost is high yet the benefits are more than the cost.

(5)      Solar Power – Solar energy is used in different ways such as drying up clothes, agricultural products etc.  Apart from this, with the help of solar cells, solar energy is used to generate electricity.  This technology is useful in the areas where power supply is either not possible or it is costly.

(6)      Traditional Knowledge and Practices – Our traditional knowledge in agricultural system, healthcare centre, housing transport etc. were environment friendly with the sudden impact of the western system, or traditional system such as Ayurveda have been ignored.

(7)      Bio compositing – Now a days, the use of chemical fertilizers is much more which adversely affects the production causes water pollution.  The use of compost made from the organic waste of different types which is very important strategy of sustainable development.

(8)      Bio – Pest control – Some better methods of pest control are the use pesticides based on plant products such as Neem, mixed cropping and growing different crops in consecutive years on the same land have also helped farmers.  Various animals and birds also help in controlling pest example owl, peacock, and lizards.







  1. When the surface soil is washed away through excessive rains and floods, it is


  • Soil erosion (b) Land degradation

(c) Biodiversity                                   (d) Deforestation

  1. Ozone depletion is due to:

(a) Increase in greenhouse gas concentrations

(b) Deforestation

(c) High levels of chlorine and bromine compounds in the stratosphere

(d) Land degradation

  1. What happens when the rate of resource extraction exceeds that of their


(a) It leads to environmental crisis      (b) It leads to ozone depletion

(c) It leads to global warming              (d) None of these.

  1. Which global action plan was adopted in the Earth Summit of 1992?

(a) Agenda 21                                     (b) Agenda 31

(c) Environment of Protection Plan      (d) None.

  1. In which city CNG is being used in transport vehicles?

(a) Delhi                                             (b) Mumbai

(c) Kolkata                                          (d) Chennai

  1. An increase in real income along with an increase in economic welfare is called:

(a) Economic Growth                          (b) Economic Development

(c) Sustainable Development               (d) None of these



  1. Which of the following is a necessary condition of sustainable development?

(a) Increase in the quality of life          (b) Reduction in the level of pollution

(c) Conservation of the stock of natural capital

(d) All of these

  1. Which of the following is not considered as an element of environment?

(a) Air                                                (b) Land

(c) Weather                                         (d) Electricity

  1. Which of the following is a reason of noise pollution?

(a) Domestic Sewerage                        (b) Industrial Waste

(c) Industrial machines                       (d) Emission of gases

  1. Which of the following is a cause of environmental degradation?

(a) Population Explosion                      (b) Increasing Urbanization

(c) Rapid Industrialization                   (d) All of these



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  1. Define environment.
  2. Give two examples of biotic elements of environment.
  3. What do you mean by carrying capacity of environment?
  4. Give the meaning of renewable resources.
  5. What do you mean by nonrenewable resources?
  6. What happens when the rate of resource extraction exceeds that of their regeneration?
  7. Give the meaning of absorptive capacity of the environment.
  8. Why have some resources become extinct?
  9. What is global warming?
  10. Give two examples of overuse of resources
  11. Define sustainable development.
  12. Give two examples of misuse of resources.
  13. State the two major environmental issues the world is facing today:
  14. Mention any one measure to control air pollution.
  15. Give the name of two movement which aimed at protecting forests.
  16. State two basic problems related to environment.
  17. State main function of central pollution control board?


  1. What are the functions of the environment?
  2. Identify six factors contributing to land degradation in India.
  3. Explain how the opportunity costs of negative environmental impact are high.
  4. Outline the steps involved in attaining sustainable development in India.
  5. Is environmental crisis a recent phenomenon? If so, why?
  6. Keeping in view your locality, describe any four strategies of sustainable development.
  7. Define the concept of sustainable development and state its features.


  1. Discuss the strategy of sustainable development.
  2. Explain how India’s environmental problems are both poverty induced as well as the consequences of affluence in living standards.
  3. What is meant by sustainable economic development? Explain its main features.
  4. How economic development causes environmental degradation? Explain.
  5. Explain the supply demand reversal of environmental resources.



  1. Environment is defined as the total planetary inheritance and the totality of all resources.
  2. Animal and plants.
  3. Carrying capacity of the environment implies that the resource extraction is not above the rate of regenration of the resources and the wastes generated are within the absorption capacity of environment.
  4. Renewable resources are those which can be used without the possibility of being exhausted, such as trees, fishes etc.
  5. Nonrenewable resources refer to those resources which get exhausted with extraction and use such as fossil fuel, coal etc.
  6. Then environment fails to perform its vital function of life sustenance and it leads to the situation of environmental crisis.
  7. Absorptive capacity of the environment means the ability of the environment to absorb degradation.
  8. Some resources have become extinct because their extraction has been above the rate of regeneration.
  9. Global warming is a gradual increase in the average temperature of the earth’s lower atmosphere and ocean.
  10. i) Excessive exploitation of fossil fuel.
  11. ii) Excessive tree felling.
  12. Sustainable development is that process of development which meets the needs of present generation without reducing the ability of future generation to meet their own needs.
  13. i) Use of wood as a household fuel.
  14. ii) Use of rivers to absorb industrial efflvents.
  15. i) Depletion of natural resources
  16. ii) Environmental degradation
  17. Promotion of clearner fuel, like use of CNG, LPG
  18. i) Chipko Movement
  19. ii) Appiko Movement.
  20. i) Problem of Pollution.
  21. ii) Problem of excessive exploitation of natural resources.
  22. Board (CPCB) investigates, collects and disseminate information relating to water air and long pollution, lay down standards of sewage/trade effluent and emissions.