NCERT Solutions for Class 12 Economics Part B Chapter 7 Environment And Sustainable Development
1. What is meant by environment?
Ans. The definition of environment includes the full scope of our planet’s natural elements. It encompasses all the biotic and abiotic elements that interact with one another. While all biotic elements the birds, animals, plants, woods, fisheries, etc., are living things, abiotic elements include things like oxygen, water, soil, etc. Abiotic components of the world include things like sunlight and rocks.
2. What happens when the rate of resource extraction exceeds that of their regeneration?
Ans. Environment performs diverse functions, but one of its essential functions is to sustain life which carries much significance. Environment provides us life supporting crucial elements like Sun light, soil, water and air. When the extraction of resources is at a frequent and rapid pace than its regeneration, the carrying capacity of the environment reduces significantly which results in a failure in its life sustaining function. This leads environmental crises, which is now one of the common problems faced by almost all the countries of the world.
3. Classify the following into renewable and non-renewable resources:
Ans. Renewable resources are capable of being renewed easily and can be replenished. Whereas, Non-renewable resources are those resources that could be depleted on extensive and irresponsible use.
(i) Trees – Renewable
(ii) Fish – Renewable
(iii) Coal – Non-renewable
(iv) Petroleum – Non-renewable
(v) Iron-ore – Non-renewable
(vi) Water – Renewable
4. Two major environmental issues facing the world today are _________ and ________.
Ans. Two major environmental issues that world is facing today are global warming and ozone depletion.
Due to the rise in greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution, the lower atmosphere of the planet has been gradually getting warmer. This phenomenon is known as global warming. The combustion of fossil fuels and deforestation are the main human-caused factors that raise carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
A decrease in the quantity of ozone in the atmosphere is referred to as ozone depletion. High concentrations of substances containing chlorine and bromine in the atmosphere are the root cause of the ozone depletion issue.
5. How do the following factors contribute to the environmental crisis in India? What problem do they pose for the government?
(i) Rising population
(ii) Air pollution
(iii) Water contamination
(iv) Affluent consumption standards
(viii) Reduction of forest coverage
(x) Global warming.
Ans. (i) Rising Population: Rising population has over burdened the environment in terms of two basic aspects. The intensive and extensive extraction of both renewable and non-renewable resources leads to exhaustion of the vital resources. In addition to this, the explosive population size has also triggered excessive demand for housing, Employment, stress on resoureces of the enviroment, etc. To control or to overcome government need to provide birth control literacy and incentives to curb this problem.
(ii) Air Pollution: Air consists of oxygen which is a life supporting element. Air pollution directly means contamination of air, i.e., absence of fresh air (oxygen) to breathe. Various pollutants like CO2, CO, SO2, SO, etc. are polluting the air. Air pollution causes some of the serious health issues like hypertension, asthma, respiratory and cardio-vascular problems. Thus, the Indian government should take some effective steps to control air pollution, avoid deforestation, increase health investment and also search for new alternative pollution free technology such as CNG, etc.
(iii) Water Contamination: Water containmination or pollution of water has become a serious threat to human life. Deadly diseases such as diarrhea, hepatitis, cholera, etc., has been rapidly increasing due to water contamination. It is mainly because of the constant dumping of industrial waste, agricultural waste and sewerage into the water bodies. Thus, the Indian government should put a close and strict check on wastewater disposal and purify these water resources.
(iv) Affluent Consumption Standards: Standards for affluent consumption have placed a huge stress on the environment in terms of resources supply and assimilation of waste. The resources are standing on the verge to become extinct and wastes being generated are beyond the absorptive capacity of the environment resulting in some serious environmental crises. The government is compelled to spend huge amounts on research and development in order to explore alternative environment friendly resources. Also, upgradation of environmental quality also incurs high cost.
(v) Illiteracy: Due to the lack of awareness and knowledge of the limited resources, people tend to overuse or misuse of the scarce resources. The resources can be judiciously and efficiently exploited (with minimum waste) only when skillful awareness is spread amongst the people of a country to use the resources. Thus, the government should undertake effective measures to create awareness and spread technical knowledge among people about various efficient and economising methods.
(vi) Industrialisation: Industrialisation, undoubtedly, enhances our living standards but, at the cost of deforestation, depletion of natural resources. In the blind race to achieve economic development, industrialisation simply acts as a catalyst. For speeding up the process of industrialisation, natural resources are being unjudiciously exploited at a rapid pace. More trees are being felled and, increasing volume of toxics and industrial wastes are dumped into the water bodies, this result in ecological imbalances posing threat to sustainable economic development. Thus, the government need to take some effective measures to check undue and unnecessary industrial growth in order to restore the ecological balance.
(vii) Urbanisation: Urbanisation, does infuse the modernisation of lifestyle but, at the cost of deforestation. To fulfill the growing demand for houses, more trees are to be felled, decreasing the land-per-man ratio. Urbanisation also results in reduction of the availability of land for farming purpose and consequently lowers farm outputs. Hence, the government is in great need of taking some effective measures to mitigate the impact of urbanisation through promoting small and cottage rural industries, rural infrastructural development, thereby, reducing the rural-urban migration and spread awareness regarding afforestation and most importantly, adopt measures to arrest population explosion.
(viii) Reduction of forest coverage: The need for reduction of forest coverage or deforestation mainly results because of to the growing demand for land, wood, rise in population and river valley projects. Thus, it affects the ecology adversely. Therefore, corrective measures are needed to promote the effective afforestation, opening up of sanctuaries and national park such as Jim Corbett National Park.
(ix) Poaching: Poaching is the illegal capturing, killing and hunting of animals. This has to be a situation wherein many animals are on the verge of extinction and it has resulted in serious ecological imbalances. For saving some of the rare species such as Tiger, Asian Elephants, Grevy’s Zebra, etc. more sanctuaries and national parks are required to be set up. Various environmental legislations like Endangered Species Act in the USA that imposes strict penalties on the law breakers is also the need of the hour.
(x) Global warming: Global warming is defined as the phenomenon of sustained rise in global temperature because of environmental pollution and deforestation. It is caused by the emission of Green House Gases specially consist of carbon dioxide. Therefore, the incidence of natural calamities are being witnessed more frequently because of disturbed ecological balance, thereby, posing a threat to human life.
6. What are the functions of the environment?
Ans. The following are the functions of the environment:
(i) It is the wellspring of all commodities, both renewable and non-renewable.
(ii) It assimilates and absorbs waste
(iii) It maintains life by supplying genetic variety and biodiversity, producing a natural equilibrium
(iv) It provides aesthetic services.
7. Identify six factors contributing to land degradation in India.
Ans. Land degradation is caused by a number of factors, including
(i) the loss of vegetation brought on by deforestation,
(ii) the unsustainable extraction of fuel and fodder,
(iii) shifting cultivation,
(iv) encroachment into forest lands,
(v) forest fires and overgrazing,
(vi) the failure to adopt adequate soil conservation measures,
(vii) improper crop rotation,
(viii) and the indiscriminate use of agro-chemicals like fertilisers and pesticides.
8. Explain how the opportunity costs of negative environmental impact are high.
Ans. When the resources are extracted at a faster and constant pace than its regeneration, then we say that the carrying capacity of the environment reduces. In such a situation, environment is unable to perform its function of sustaining life, hence, resulting in environmental crises. In simple words, environmental crises are a collective outcome of excessive exploitation of natural resources along with excessive and unjust generation of wastes. Therefore, there arises a need for exploration of new and efficient alternative of eco-friendly resources to avoid environmental crisis. Furthermore, environmental crises widely results in the incidence of respiratory and water borne diseases, which requires higher health expenditures and investments. The costs incurred in searching new alternative resources along with the greater health expenditures constitute the opportunity costs of negative environmental impact. Such opportunity costs are usually very high and require voluminous financial commitments by the government. Hence, we can say that the opportunity costs of negative environmental impact are high.
9. Outline the steps involved in attaining sustainable development in India.
Ans. In accordance with the view of a leading environmental economist, Herman Daly, India has taken the following steps to achieve the aim of sustainable development:
(i) Population Control Measures: India has promoted various measures to fix the problem of population explosion. The various population control measures include conducting awareness campaigns and imparting knowledge of birth control measures and literacy.
(ii) Use of Environment Supportive Fuel: As the fuels such as petrol and diesel are responsible emitting huge amount of carbon dioxide which leads to global warming, therefore, by realising the need, the Indian government has promoted the use of CNG and LPG as an alternative that emit lesser smoke.
(iii) Use of Solar and Wind Energy: India being a moderate country is blessed with enriched with sunlight and wind power. It also serves as a solution to the problem of economic growth with the main focus on sustainable development.
(iv) Recycling and Ban on Plastic Bags: There is a need to develop the habit of timely and effective recycling of waste products in order to sustain the environment. Household waste can also be effectively used as manure for organic farming. A very recent step taken by the Indian government is putting a complete ban on the usage of plastic bags. This is considerably a very good step as plastic bags are not at all easy to be decomposed and leads to pollution while recycling.
(v) Pollution Tax and Fines: Indian government has taken numerous step to control pollution. Some of those measures are regular vehicle checkups, levying pollution tax on the industries emitting smoke. These measures are aligned with huge fines and even imprisonment for the law breakers.
(vi) Use of the Input Efficient Technology: The input efficient methods have been designed and formulated in such a way that not only increases the production and productivity but is also responsible for increasing the efficiency with which the inputs are used which leads to reduction in the exploitation of the natural resources and, on the other side also, enhances the future economic growth prospects of India.
10. India has abundant natural resources – substantiate the statement.
Ans. India is a fortunate country to have enough of natural resources. It consists of rich and fertile soil, plenty of rivers and tributaries, green forests, mineral deposits, mountains, etc. The Indo-Gangetic plains are one of the most fertile, densely populated and cultivated plains in the whole wide world. The black soil of the Deccan Plateau is also suitable for the cultivation of cotton in the country. India’s lush green forests are serving as a natural cover for the majority of the population. India has been blessed with over 20 % of the world’s total iron ore reserves. There are mountain ranges that smoothen the operation of the mini hydel plants. It also owns a vast variety of flora of 15,000 species of plants. The country is also endowed with plenty of minerals that are found underneath the earth’s surface like coal, natural gas, copper, diamonds, etc.
11. Is environmental crisis a recent phenomenon? If so, why?
Ans. Yes, the environmental crisis happens to be significantly a recent phenomenon; the signs of such crisis were never visible in the past. In the early centuries, before the beginning of industrialisation, the population growth was on a tight rein. The demand of the environmental resources was too lower than its supply. The rate of regeneration of resources quickly exceeded the rate at which the resources were exploited. It won’t be wrong to state that the threat of environment crisis was never felt in the past as the exploitation of natural resources stayed within the carrying capacity of the environment. But, today, in the wake of heavy industrialisation, urbanisation, man has started exploiting nature to its maximum possible level. Nuclear and industrial wastes are being thoughtlessly dumped into the water bodies, pollution of land and air has affected the environment in three-fold manner. Now, the rate of exploitation of natural resources is frequently exceeding over the rate of regeneration of the natural resources.
As a result of this, the mounting pressure on the carrying capacity of the environment is paving the way for environmental crises.
12. Give two instances of:
(a) Overuse of environmental resources
(b) Misuse of environmental resources.
(a) Overuse of environmental resources:
(i) Drying up of rivers: The excessive increasing rate of irrigation and construction of flood storage reservoirs are resulting in the drying up of rivers.
(ii) Excessive deforestation: The constant growth in population and their ever growing demand of houses, areas are significantly resulting in large scale deforestation. This further leads to soil erosion, making the soil infertile leading to reduced production.
(b) Misuse of environmental resources:
(i) Use of rivers to discharge the waste: The misuse of water as a resource is a major reason behind its pollution and contamination. The factors that are responsible for water pollution are discharge of domestic sewerage, industrial waste, and thermal power plants into the rivers.
(ii) Use of wood for cooking food: Wood is counted one amongst the non-renewable sources of energy which is obtained from trees. Using wood instead of eco-friendly alternative fuels for cooking also leads to deforestation.
13. State any four pressing environmental concerns of India.
Ans. Air pollution, water contamination, soil erosion, deforestation and wild life extinction are some of the most burning concerns of India for its environmental condition. But the priority issues consist of global warming, land degradation, ozone depletion and management of fresh water.
14. Correction for environmental damages involves opportunity costs. Explain.
Ans. The opportunity cost of correction for environmental damages refers to the huge amount of expenditure which is required to be made on searching for new efficient alternatives. The heavy intensive and extensive extraction of both renewable and non-renewable resources needs heavy expenditure to be made on exploring new alternative resources in order to avoid an environmental crisis. The discovery of such resources requires bulky investment by the government. Also, implementation and maintenance of these alternative resources is not easy and involve very high cost. The best example is the advent of CNG in order to reduce the rising problem of pollution in Delhi. The government has invested heavily in order to popularise CNG and to make the consumers aware regarding its uses. Therefore, the correction for environmental damages involves opportunity cost which is undoubtedly very high.
15. Explain the supply-demand reversal of environmental resources.
Ans. When agriculture was the only means of subsistence for people, there was less demand than there was availability for natural resources. Naturally, there was less waste and it was contained within the limits of the environment’s ability to absorb it. In order to satisfy the expanding and diverse needs of the population, more and more environmental resources are being depleted today as a result of the industrial transformation and population explosion. As a result, materials are used up more quickly than the ecosystem can regenerate them. As a result, there is a large need for natural resources and a decreasing quantity. To close this supply and demand gap, different resources are being created or utilised.
16. Account for the current environmental crisis.
Ans. The population explosion and consumption of affluents have placed an undue and excess pressure on the environment. The resources are increasingly exhausted day by day, opposed to which the regeneration of resources is constant. So, when the resources are being constantly extracted at a rapid pace than its regeneration, then the carrying capacity of the environment is supposed to be reduced. Then the environment is unable to perform its function of sustaining life, consequently, resulting in an environmental crisis. The current environmental crises consist of two major global issues, namely, global warming and ozone depletion. Global warming is the consequence of rising temperature globally due to the emission of green house gases, especially, carbon dioxide. The constant rise in temperature accelerates the melting of polar ice, further leading to the rise of water level in the sea. This directly leads to ecological imbalances. Ozone depletion is another major concern that is caused due to the extensive use of chlorofluorocarbon (CFCs) in the air conditioners and refrigerators. With the depletion of zone, the possibility of ultra violet radiations penetrating into earth surface also increases, posing a threat to the living organisms. The effect of these two collectively accounts for major concern of environmental crisis in the present time.
16. Highlight any two serious adverse environmental consequences of development in India. India’s environmental problems pose a dichotomy-they are poverty induced and, at the same time, due to affluence in living standards. Is this true?
Ans. Two significant negative natural effects of growth in India are:
(i) Air pollution: While the construction of industrial and thermal plants in India cleared the way for growth, the amount of pollution brought on by these industries and the country’s cars is rising alarmingly, which is having a negative impact on people’s health.
(ii) Deforestation: In order to accommodate the enormous population’s increasing needs, many forests are cut down to make room for more territory to be used for agriculture and habitation. Industries use the timber and other natural materials they acquire from deforestation as the basis for their products.
It is true that both poverty and high living conditions contribute to India’s environmental issues. For instance, both low living standards, where people need land and timber to cultivate and sustain a subsistence level of existence, and high living standards, where these natural raw materials are used to conduct industrial activities, contribute to deforestation. To grow the country without depleting its natural resources, India must discover effective alternative resources.
17. What is sustainable development?
Ans. Fullfilling the basic requirements of all that needs distribution of resources is an explicit moral responsibility of everyone in today’s era. It becomes a moral obligation to hand over the earth to the future generation to come in good order. But, it is realised that if the resources (non-renewable) are utilised fully then these will deplete so fast that it will loose the capacity to meet the production capacity of the future generation. Therefore, sustainable development is the process of economic development that focuses on meeting the needs of the present generation without letting the future generations to compromise on their needs and requirements. Sustainable development is a wholesome phenomenon which maximises welfare of both present and future generations. In simple words, it is that process of economic growth that is sustained over a long period of time without causing any fall in the quality of life of the future generations.
18. Keeping in view your locality, describe any four strategies of sustainable development.
Ans. Sustainable development means a judicious or optimum utilisation of resources in such a manner that the pace of economic growth sustains with inter-generational equity.
The following are the four strategies of attaining sustainable development.
(i) Use of Environment Friendly Fuel: The growing use of fuel such as petrol and diesel emites huge amount of carbon dioxide that adds to the Green House impact. In order to control pollution the use of CNG and LPG should be promoted. These fuels are cleaner smokeless and eco-friendly.
(ii) Use of Renewable Resources: India is well enriched with sunlight water and wind energy. These are the free gift of nature that the are non-exhaustible and pollution free. Thus, attempts should be made to harness solar and wind energy by employing different technologies. It not only solves the problem of economic growth but also the problem sustainable economic development.
(iii) Recycling: The industrial and household wastes should accumulated on daily basis. These wastes should be distinguished as bio-degradable and non-biodegradable wastes. The bio-degradable wastes are those that can be decomposed and can be used as manure for organic farming. The non-biodegradable wastes like plastic etc., can be recycled and re-used.
(iv) Use of the Efficient Technology: The input efficient methods and techniques should be devised so that more production is possible at per unit of input. This efficient utilisation of the natural resources leads to lesser exploitation of the natural resources.
19. Explain the relevance of intergenerational equity in the definition of sustainable development.
Ans. In the definition of sustainable development, intergenerational equity concentrates on satisfying the current demand for different resources without compromising the requirements of future generations. It draws attention to the reality that upcoming generations will contribute to and eventually replace us in our society. The current generation can’t be so self-centered as to use up all the resources available and allow the next generation to figure things out on their own. It guarantees a deliberate effort from the present to use the resources and find alternatives in a way that ensures the requirements of future generations are not compromised and that they have access to an acceptable source of energy and resources.
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