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(Environment Studies)


Environment is derived from the French word Environner, which means to encircle or surround.
All biological and non-biological entities surrounding us are included in environment.
As per the definition given in Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, Environment includes all the
physical and biological surroundings of an organism along with their interactions.
Environment is thus defined as the sum total of water, air and land and the inter-relationships
that exist among them and with the human beings, other living organisms and materials
Environmental Studies is scientific study of the environmental system and the status of its
changes on organism

Fig.: Concept of Environment: air, water, land, living organisms and materials surrounding us and their interactions
together constituting our environment

Objectives of environmental studies

(i) Awareness
To help people acquire an awareness of and a sensitivity to the total environment and its allied
(ii) Knowledge
To help people acquire basic understanding of the total environment and associated problems
(iii) Attitude
To help people acquire social values, strong feelings of concern for the environment and the
motivation to act in protecting and improving
(iv) Skills
To help people acquire the skills for identifying and solving environmental problems
(v) Evaluation Ability
Evaluate environmental measures and education programs
(vi) Participation
Active involvement at all levels in working towards resolving environmental problems

Framework for addressing environmental problem
Scientific Assessment:
Collection of information, data, simulations , model, predict the future
Risk Analysis:
Results from simulations are analyzed. Potential effects
Public Education and involvement:
Through publications, awareness through media
Explanation of the problem along with probable cost
Political Action:
Course of Action
Actions to be evaluated, monitored
Improve the initial assessment


Classification of environment
The two major classifications of environment are:
(A) Physical Environment: External physical factors like Air, Water, and Land etc. This is also called
the Abiotic Environment.
(B) Living Environment: All living organisms around us viz. plants, animals, and microorganisms. This
is also called the Biotic Environment.
Earths environment can be further subdivided into the following four segments/components:
(1) Lithosphere
(2) Hydrosphere
(3) Biosphere
(4) Atmosphere


The earths crust consisting of the soil and rocks is the lithosphere. The soil is made up of inorganic and
organic matter and water. The main mineral constituents are compounds or mixtures derived from the elements of
Si, Ca, K, Al, Fe, Mn, Ti, O etc. (Oxides, Silicates, and Carbonates). The organic constituents are mainly
polysaccharides, organo compounds of N, P and S. The organic constituents even though form only around 4%
6% of the lithosphere, they are responsible for the fertility of the soil and hence its productivity.


This comprises all water resources both surface and ground water. The worlds water is found in oceans
and seas, lakes and reservoirs, rivers and streams, glaciers and snow caps in the Polar Regions in addition to
ground water below the land areas. The distribution of water among these resources is as under following Table

The water locked up in the Oceans and Seas are too salty and cannot be used directly for human consumption,
domestic, agriculture or Industrial purposes. Only less than 1% of water resources are available for human
exploitation. Water is considered to be a common compound with uncommon properties. These uncommon

properties (e.g. anomalous expansion of water) are mainly responsible for supporting terrestrial and aquatic life
on earth.


The biosphere is a capsule encircling the earths surface wherein all the living things exist. This portion
extends from 10000 m below sea level to 6000 m above sea level. Life forms do not exist outside this zone. The
biosphere covers parts of other segments of the environment viz. Lithosphere, Hydrosphere and Atmosphere. Life
sustaining resources like food, water and oxygen present in the biosphere are being withdrawn and waste products
in increasing quantities are being dumped. The biosphere has been absorbing this and assimilating them. However
the rate of waste dumping has gone beyond the assimilating capability of the biosphere and signals of this stress is
becoming evident.


It is the gaseous envelope surrounding the earth and extends upto 500 kms above the earths surface. The
composition of the atmosphere is given in Table

*The trace constituents include Helium, Neon, Krypton, xenon, SO2, NO2, Ammonia, Ozone, and Carbon monoxide etc.

The atmosphere, which is a gaseous cover, protects the earth from cosmic radiations and provides life
sustaining Oxygen, the macronutrient Nitrogen and Carbon dioxide needed for photosynthesis. The atmosphere
screens the dangerous UV radiations from the sun and allows only radiations in the range of 300 nm 2500 nm
(near UV to near IR) and radio waves. The atmosphere plays a major role in maintaining the heat balance of the
earth by absorbing the re-emitted radiation from the earth. In addition the atmosphere is the medium of carriage of
water from the oceans to the land in the hydrological cycle.

The Structure of the Atmosphere

The atmosphere is broadly divided into four major zones viz. Troposphere, Stratosphere, Mesosphere and
Thermosphere. Characteristics of these zones are pictorially represented below in Fig.

Fig.: Schematic diagram of atmospheric layer

4.a. Troposphere

Troposphere is the layer of air nearest to the ground. Temperature decreases with height. The average
temperature drops from 15 C at sea level to 56.5 C at 11,000 m above sea level.With increasing
height, air temperature drops uniformly with altitude at a rate of approximately 6.5 C /1km, and this
phenomenon is commonly called environmental Lapse Rate.
Mixing of the air molecules due to their constant movement (winds) keeps the composition of the gases
more or less same throughout the troposphere. An exception to this is water vapour. Most water vapour
evaporates from the surface of the Earth and is found in the lower troposphere. About 80 % of the total
mass of the atmosphere is contained in troposphere
Most of the weather occurs in the troposphere. Tropopause is the top of the troposphere, which is a
transition layer between Troposphere and Stratosphere

4.b. Stratosphere

Stratosphere is the layer of air above the troposphere where temperature increases with height. In the first
9 km of the stratosphere, temperature remain constant with height this zone is called isothermal layer.
The average temperature rises to 2.5C at 50,000 m above sea level.
Ozone is found in higher concentrations between 20 and 30 km above the surface. Hence sometimes this
layer is referred to as the ozone layer. Ozone absorbs radiant energy from the sun and hence warmer
temperatures are encountered in the stratosphere. Stratopause is the top of the stratosphere, which is a
transition layer between Stratosphere and Mesosphere.

4. c. Mesosphere

Mesosphere is the layer of air above the stratosphere upto 80km, where temperature decreases with
The average temperature decreases to 90C at 90,000 m. This is the coldest layer of the atmosphere.
Mesopause is the top of the mesosphere, which is a transition layer between Mesosphere and

4.d. Thermosphere

Thermosphere is the layer of air above the mesosphere (above 80 km). The temperatures in the
thermosphere increase with increasing height, but there are not many molecules in this layer. The air
becomes less and less dense as we reach space.
The temperature in this layer can be as high as 1200C


Environmental studies deals with working of earth, its life support systems, its interactions, influences its
problems and solutions.
Keeping in view he complex nature of environment, knowledge and information from various disciplines
of science, social science, law and engineering have to be included in environmental studies to understand
it completely
All major discipline such as life science, physical science, mathematics, statistics, computer science all major
engineering branches, economics, managements and sociology etc. are all provides valuable inputs for dealing

with major environmental problems and their subsequent socio-economic aspects associated with various
development activities.
Therefore, Environmental science is a multi-disciplinary subject where we deal with different aspects using
holistic approach.

Following Fig. shows the multi-disciplinary nature of environmental studies.

Fig. Multidisciplinary nature of Environmental studies


Studies of environmental studies are receiving a lot of attention throughout the world not only in the field
of controlling the population but also to sustain the life and the nature. The scope of environmental studies can be
discussed as follows:

(i) The concept of environment:

Environment means all of the conditions, circumstances and influences surrounding living things i.e. plants,
animals and human beings. The various biotic and abiotic factors are studied in this science.

(ii) Ecosystem:
The concept, definitions, types of eco-systems, the equilibrium of these systems, and the structure of these
ecosystems, their important elements and the interactions between these ecosystems are studied in detail. In the
field of environmental studies, we consider the role of all these factors and the equilibrium that exists among

(iii) Natural processes in the environment:

It consists of study of natural cycles such as carbon-cycle, nitrogen -cycle, and other elements, and food chains in
the ecosystems, etc. While studying this, energy flows from one organism to another are important.

(iv) Resources and energy resources:

It includes the study of meaning of resources, their types such as renewable, non - renewable sources, the
characteristics of these resources, and their management.

(v) Population:
The study includes the density of population, population explosion, measures to control population growth, etc.
(vi) Research and awareness:
Research and awareness are the two different paths of environmental studies. Basically, without scientific
approach, we cannot understand nature and without awareness among the people, we cannot sustain nature.

(vii) Disaster management:

The scope of environmental studies and management has grown tremendously from manufacturing of pollution
control equipments, sewage and effluent treatment plants, bio - medical waste treatments to fly ash management,

(viii) Environment management:

Man has exploited resources on the large scale. It results in degradation of an environment. To keep the balance
among the important environmental factors and to use the natural resources with care, there is a need for an
environment management. Environment management helps in preventing such degradation and to keep the
important factors of environment intact. Due to environment management, the problem can be controlled and
balance of an environment is maintained.


The environment studies enlighten us, about the importance of protection and conservation of our
indiscriminate release of pollution into the environment. At present a great number of environment issues, have
grown in size and complexity day by day, threatening the survival of mankind on earth. We study about these
issues besides and effective suggestions in the Environment Studies. Environment studies have become
significant for the following reasons:

1. Environment Issues Being of International Importance

It has been well recognised that environment issues like global warming and ozone depletion, acid rain,
marine pollution and biodiversity are not merely national issues but are global issues and hence must be tackled
with international efforts and cooperation.

2. Problems Cropped in the Wake of Development

Development, in its wake gave birth to Urbanization, Industrial Growth, Transportation Systems,
Agriculture and Housing etc. However, it has become phased out in the developed world. The North, to cleanse
their own environment has, fact fully, managed to move dirty factories of South. When the West developed, it
did so perhaps in ignorance of the environmental impact of its activities. Evidently such a path is neither
practicable nor desirable, even if developing world follows that.

3. Explosively Increase in Pollution

World census reflects that one in every seven persons in this planted lives in India. Evidently with 16 per
cent of the world's population and only 2.4 per cent of its land area, there is a heavy pressure on the natural
resources including land. Agricultural experts have recognized soils health problems like deficiency of
micronutrients and organic matter, soil salinity and damage of soil structure.

4. Need for an Alternative Solution

It is essential, especially for developing countries to find alternative paths to an alternative goal. We need
a goal as under:
(1) A goal, which ultimately is the true goal of development an environmentally sound and sustainable
(2) A goal common to all citizens of our earth.

(3) A goal distant from the developing world in the manner it is from the over-consuming wasteful societies of the
developed world.

5. Need to Save Humanity from Extinction

It is incumbent upon us to save the humanity from extinction. Consequently to our activities constricting
the environment and depleting the biosphere in the name of development.

6. Need for Wise Planning of Development

Our survival and sustenance depend. Resources withdraw, processing and use of the product have all to
by synchronised with the ecological cycles in any plan of development our actions should be planned ecologically
for the sustenance of the environment and development.


It is essential to make the public aware of the formidable consequences of the Environmental
Degradation, if not retorted and reformative measures undertaken would result in the extinction of life. We are
facing various environmental challenges. It is essential to get the country acquainted with these challenges so that
their acts may be eco-friendly. Some of these challenges are as under:

Rapidly changing technologies lead to abandoned wastes

In modern era of development there is greater inclination for adopting the latest product of technological
advancement and discarding the older one. People change their car, mobile phones, computer pads and
electronics goods within a few years, thus adding to the vast e waste stream.

Our fast and energy demanding life style pollutes the environment
To keep pace with the fast and busy life, people have become increasingly dependent on machine to get
the work done fast and make life more comfortable for us. But all these machines are energy demanding. Over
dependence on machines not only increases resource-depletion and energy consumption, but also directly or
indirectly affects our health. People should know the impacts of all such anthropogenic activities.

Crazy Consumerism leads to environmental degradation

There is a sharp increase in consumerism. With increasing buying capacity people have started over-
consumption. No doubt, it is good to have a good standard of living, which is achieved through technological
development. But, the wasteful life style of people leads to environmental degradation.
It is important to make people aware about the harmful effects of environmental pollution on human
health. At the same tie people should know how their activities influence the environment.

The Earth has a definite capacity to tolerate pollutants and sustain populations
Beyond that the earth cannot assimilate wastes and support life. How the earths life support system works
what is the structure of its system and what are the principles on which it works are very important subjects that
everyone should know.
It is equally important to know what should be done to protect the earth and our environment. Thus
environmental studies is a very important and the most fascinating subject that is directly concerned with

Environmental Management System (EMS)

EMS refers to the management of an organizations environmental programs in a comprehensive,

systematic, planned and documented manner. It includes the organization structure, planning and

resources for developing, implementing protection. The term can also refer to software systems for
organizational environment management.

What is the definition of an Environmental Management System?

1. Serves as a tool to improve environmental performance.
2. Provides a systematic way of managing an organization's environmental affairs.
3. Is the aspect of the organization's overall management structure that addresses immediate
and long-term impacts of its products, services and processes on the environment?
4. Gives order and consistency for organizations to address environmental concerns through
the allocation of resources, assignment of responsibility and ongoing evaluation of
practices, procedures and processes.
5. Focuses on continual improvement of the system.

EMS Model: An EMS model follows a Plan- Do Check act cycle, or PDCA. The diagram shows the
process of first developing an environmental policy, planning the EMS, and then implementing it. The
process also include checking the system and acting on it. The model is continuous because an EMS is a
process of continual improvement in which an organization is constantly reviewing and revising the

The model can be used by wide range of organizations from manufacturing facility to service industries
to government agencies. Here we described key elements of ISO 14001:2004 EMS.

17 requirements of the ISO 14001:2004 standard:-

Environmental policy - Develop a statement of your organizations commitment to the

environment. Use this policy as a framework for planning and action.
Environmental aspects - Identify environmental attributes of your products, activities, and
services. Determine those that could have significant impacts on the environment.
Legal and other requirements - Identify and ensure access to relevant laws and regulations, as
well as other requirements to which your organization adheres.
Objectives and targets - Establish environmental goals for your organization, in line with your
policy, environmental impacts, the views of interested parties, and other factors.
Environmental management program - Plan actions necessary to achieve your objectives and
Structure and responsibility - Establish roles and responsibilities for environmental
management and provide appropriate resources.
Training, awareness, and competence - Ensure that your employees are trained and capable of
carrying out their environmental responsibilities.
Communication - Establish processes for internal and external communications on
environmental management issues.
EMS documentation - Maintain information on your EMS and related documents.
Document control - Ensure effective management of procedures and other system documents.
Operational control - Identify, plan, and manage your operations and activities in line with
your policy, objectives, and targets.
Emergency preparedness and response - Identify potential emergencies and develop
procedures for preventing and responding to them.
Monitoring and measurement - Monitor key activities and track performance. Conduct
periodic assessments of compliance with legal requirements.
Nonconformance and corrective and preventive action - Identify and correct problems and
prevent their recurrence.
Records - Maintain and manage records of EMS performance.
MS audit - Periodically verify that your EMS is operating as intended.
Management review - Periodically review your EMS with an eye to continual improvement.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA):

The objective of environmental Impact assessment is to achieve sustained development with

(a) Minimal environmental degradation
(b) Prevention of long term environmental adverse effected by incorporating suitable mitigating
Impact assessment is a concept that evolved in the search for ways to render development and in
the complex and interdependent world of today. To be really meaningful impact assessment has to
taken up at the project inception stage so that the selection of the site (location), choice of process
technology, selection of appropriate layout and building materials can be done to ensure environmental
compatibility. Planning is not done for an individual project but for the ecosystem as a whole by fully
utilizing the concept of carrying capacity of the system which essentially consists of air, water, soil,
flora and fauna.

The environmental appraisal of project is an important responsibility of the Department of Environment

(DoE) Government of India. Presently the have Environmental Appraisal Committee for following
sectors of development project /activities.

River vally project / irrigation hydel power and multipurpose

Minning projects
Industrial projects
Thermal power projects
Special expert groups/ committees and task force are constituted for assessment of other major projects
referred to the DoE from time to time.

Environmental Inventory: Environmental Inventory is a complete description of the environment as it

exists in an area where a particular proposed action is being considered. The inventory is compiled from
a check list of descriptors for the physical and biological environment.
Physical: Geology, topography, surface water and ground water resources, water quality, air, quality
and climatology.
Biological: Flora and fauna of the area, including species of trees, grasses, fish, birds and mammals.
Environmental Assessment: The environmental Assessment is an attempt to evaluate the
consequences of a proposed action on each of the descriptor (parameters) in the environmental
inventory. The essential steps in an environmental impact assessment are:
1. Prediction of an anticipated change is an environmental descriptor.
2. Determination of the magnitude of scale of the particular change.
3. Application of an importance of significance factor to the change
In order to accomplish an environmental assessment as well as to prepare an statement, an
interdisciplinary, systematic and reproducible approach is used.
Environment Impact Statement (EIS): The environmental impact statement is a document written in
the format as specified by DoE. The EIS represents a summary of the environmental inventory and the
finding of the environmental assessment.
There are two categories of EISs draft statements in document prepared by an agency proposing
an action; it is circulated for review and comment to other federal agencies, state and local agencies and
public and private interest groups. The final statement is the draft statement modified to include a
discussion of problems and objections raised by reviewers. The final statements must be on file with
DoE for least 30- days period prior to initiation of construction on a project.

Aims and objectives of EIA: The aims and objectives of EIA can be divided into two categories. The
immediate aim of EIA is to inform the process of decision making by identifying the potentially
significant environmental effects and risks of development proposals. The ultimate (long term) aim of
EIA is to promote sustainable development by ensuring that development proposal do not undermine
critical resources and ecological functions or the well-being lifestyle and livelihood of the communities
and peoples who depend on them.

Immediate objective of EIA are

1. Improve the environmental design of the proposal

2. Ensure that the resources are used appropriately and efficiently.
3. Identify appropriate measures for mitigating the potential impacts of the proposal , and
4. Facilitate informed decision making including setting the environmental terms and conditions
for implementing the proposal.

Long term objective of EIA are

1. Protect human health and safety

2. Avoid irreversible change and serious damage to the environment;
3. Safe guard valued resources, natural areas and ecosystem components ; and
4. Enhance the social aspect of the proposal.