The physical surrounding we live in is called our environment.
The system in which living and non living beings exist in a particular area creates the ecosystem. The various living beings and non-living things are interdependent on each other in a given habitat.
Components of Ecosystem:
An ecosystem has two types of components, viz. biotic component and abiotic component.
All the non-living things make the abiotic component of an ecosystem. Air, water and soil are the abiotic components.
- Air provides oxygen (for respiration), carbon dioxide (for photosynthesis) and other gases for various needs of the living beings.
- Water is essential for all living beings because all the metabolic activities happen in the presence of water.
- Soil is the reservoir of various nutrients which are utilised by plants. Through plants, these nutrients reach other living beings.
All living beings make the biotic component of an ecosystem.
- Green plants play the role of producers; because they prepare the food by photosynthesis.
- Animals and other living beings play the role of consumers; because they take food (directly or indirectly) from plants.
- Bacteria and fungi play the role of decomposers; as they decompose dead remains of plants and animals so that raw materials of organisms can be channelized back to the environment.
Balance in the Ecosystem:
When it comes to number of organisms in an ecosystem there is a delicate balance; An increase or decrease in population of any organism can disturb this balance. That is why when a particular animal down for skin is hunted or damns are built or construction in a forest or marshy land has proposed the population of species may change in an ecosystem, disturbing the natural flow; the analysis of how ecosystem will get disturbed is done as a key critical process before initiating projects.
Substances which can be decomposed by microorganisms are called biodegradable substances. All the organic substances are biodegradable.
Substances which cannot be decomposed by microorganisms are non-biodegradable. All inorganic substances are non-biodegradable. Many synthetic substances are also non-biodegradable.
Ozone Layer Depletion:
Ozone layer is also known as the stratosphere. When ultraviolet radiations act on oxygen, the oxygen gets converted into ozone.
Ozone layer works like a protective shield for living beings. The ozone layers wards off harmful ultraviolet radiations from the sun.
Effect of CFCs: Use of CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbon) has damaged the ozone layer. As a result, the ozone layer has become thinner at certain parts. In 1987, the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) succeeded in forging an agreement among different nations to freeze the CFC production at 1986 level. Later, an agreement was signed among different nations to phase out CFCs. It is important to note that CFC is used in refrigerators and aerosol spray. India is also a signatory of that agreement and thanks to the efforts by the United Nations and different environmentalists, the CFC emission has been put under some control.
Problems of Waste Disposal:
During our day to day activities, we produce a lot of waste. While some of the waste is biodegradable, a large chunk is composed of non-biodegradable substances. Plastic waste is a serious concern because plastic is non-biodegradable. We need to respect our environment and find out ways to reduce the burden on our environment.