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BGGCT-135: Environmental Geography

BGGCT-135: Environmental Geography

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2023

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Assignment Code: BGGCT-135/TMA/2023

Course Code: BGGCT-135

Assignment Name: Environmental Geography

Year: 2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor




All Questions are compulsory and carries 10 marks each


1. What is ecosystem? Describe the structure of ecosystem with neat diagram.

Ans) There is a particular link that exists between the living organisms and the other components of the earth, such as the land, the soil, the water, and the atmosphere, among other things. Therefore, there is the potential for life to exist on the planet earth. Tansley, in his definition of the term published in 1935, described an ecosystem as "the system that results from the integration of all of the living and non-living aspects of the environment."


The term "interaction" is denoted by the word "system," which is derived from the word "eco." The biosphere of the Earth can be thought of as a very large ecosystem, in which biotic and abiotic components are continually interacting with one another to produce changes in the biosphere's structure as well as its function. These changes are brought about by the interactions between these components. It is possible to classify the ecosystem as either terrestrial or aquatic.

Examples of terrestrial ecosystems include mountain ranges, forests, grasslands, and deserts. Examples of aquatic ecosystems include rivers, swamps, deltas, and marine environments. To fully grasp the complexities of the environment, it is also necessary to have an understanding of ecosystems. There are many different things that can have an effect on the environment.  The physical and chemical environment, which consists of the land, water, atmosphere, and soil, is the part of the ecosystem that does not support life. The set of species that interact with one another within the ecosystem makes up what is known as the ecological community, which is part of the living element of the ecosystem.


2. Describe about water pollution and sources of water pollutants with suitable examples.

Ans) Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies, such as rivers, lakes, oceans, and groundwater, with harmful substances that adversely affect the quality of the water and the health of aquatic ecosystems and human populations. Water pollution can have a variety of sources, including point sources and non-point sources.

  1. Discrete sources of water contamination are known as point sources. Some examples of point sources include oil spills, wastewater treatment plants, and manufacturing facilities. These sources are typically subject to regulation, and as a result, it is possible to monitor and control them in order to cut down on pollution. The following are some examples of point sources that contribute to water pollution:

  2. The term "industrial discharge" refers to the process through which factories and other types of industrial facilities release a wide variety of pollutants into bodies of water. These pollutants include heavy metals, solvents, and chemicals.

  3. Wastewater from cities: When sewage is processed at a wastewater treatment facility, the water that is released back into the environment may still be contaminated with bacteria, nutrients, and other harmful substances.

  4. Spills of oil: Unintentional leaks of oil from ships or offshore drilling rigs can cause substantial harm to aquatic ecosystems and reduce the quality of water significantly.

  5. Agricultural runoff: Agricultural activities can contribute to water pollution by the use of fertilisers and pesticides, both of which can run off into water bodies and cause eutrophication. This can happen when agricultural runoff enters water bodies.

  6. Landfills: Landfills have the potential to emit several pollutants into the groundwater. These pollutants can include heavy metals, chemicals, and bacteria.


Non-point sources of water pollution are diffuse sources of pollution, such as agricultural activities, urban runoff, and atmospheric deposition. These sources are more challenging to control and can be more difficult to monitor. Examples of non-point sources of water pollution include:

  1. Agricultural Runoff: Fertilizers and pesticides used in agriculture can run off into water bodies and cause eutrophication, which can lead to the growth of harmful algal blooms and oxygen depletion.

  2. Urban Runoff: Rainwater and snowmelt can pick up pollutants from streets and other surfaces and carry them into water bodies.

  3. Atmospheric Deposition: Pollutants, such as acid rain and airborne particulate matter, can be deposited into water bodies, causing acidification and other adverse effects.

  4. Soil Erosion: Soil erosion can lead to sedimentation in water bodies, which can negatively affect water quality and aquatic ecosystems.

  5. Household Chemicals: Household chemicals, such as cleaning products and pharmaceuticals, can be disposed of improperly and end up in water bodies, leading to negative impacts on aquatic ecosystems and human health.


3. Explain two-way processes of human-environment relationship in the mountainous regions with suitable examples.

Ans) The human-environment relationship in mountainous regions is a complex, two-way process in which human activities and natural processes interact to shape the environment and human societies. Mountainous regions are particularly vulnerable to human-environment interactions because they are often characterized by fragile ecosystems and challenging environmental conditions.


Human activities, such as agriculture, mining, and infrastructure development, can lead to deforestation, soil erosion, and habitat loss, which can have negative impacts on the environment and the ecosystem services it provides. For example, in the Himalayan region, deforestation for timber and agricultural expansion has led to soil erosion, landslides, and reduced water availability, which has had negative impacts on local communities and ecosystems. On the other hand, environmental changes, such as changes in climate and land cover, can also have significant impacts on human societies in mountainous regions. For example, changes in precipitation patterns and glacial melt in the Andes have affected water availability, which has led to conflicts over water resources and challenges for agricultural production.


Another way that humans interact with the environment in mountainous regions is through cultural and spiritual practices. In many mountainous regions, traditional knowledge and practices are closely tied to the natural environment, and these practices can help to sustain biodiversity and ecosystem services. For example, in the Andes, the traditional practice of "chacra" agriculture, which involves planting a diverse range of crops and using traditional irrigation methods, has helped to sustain local food systems and maintain soil fertility. Similarly, in the Himalayan region, sacred groves, which are forests protected by local communities for their spiritual and cultural value, have helped to conserve biodiversity and maintain ecosystem services.


The human-environment relationship in mountainous regions is a complex, two-way process in which human activities and natural processes interact to shape the environment and human societies. While human activities can have negative impacts on the environment, environmental changes can also have significant impacts on human societies. However, traditional knowledge and cultural practices can play an important role in sustaining biodiversity and ecosystem services in mountainous regions. It is essential to understand these two-way processes and work towards sustainable management of mountainous regions to ensure the continued well-being of both human societies and the environment.

4. What are the major environmental problems confronted by the desert regions of the world? Explain various measures adopted to address such environmental problems.

Ans) Desert regions are distinguished by their severe climate conditions, which include high temperatures, a lack of precipitation, and a restricted variety of plant and animal life. The environmental challenges that these places must face are frequently made worse by human activities such as overgrazing, the expansion of agricultural land, and the usage of water in a manner that is not sustainable. Within this framework, a variety of approaches have been taken to address environmental issues that are prevalent in desert regions.


Land degradation, which can be brought on by overgrazing, forest clearance, and soil erosion, is one of the most significant environmental issues that occurs in desert environments. In order to find a solution to this issue, steps such as the preservation of soil, the replanting of trees, and the rehabilitation of land have been taken. For instance, in order to combat desertification and increase biodiversity, the Great Green Wall project is being carried out in the Sahara Desert. This project will involve the planting of trees spanning a distance of 8,000 kilometres.


Many desert locations are dependent on a scarce supply of water; yet irresponsible water use can make the problem of water shortage even worse and endanger ecosystems. In order to find a solution to this issue, various methods, including water harvesting, water recycling, and water conservation, have been put into place. For instance, in Israel, they have started a nationwide initiative to recycle water in order to cut back on their water consumption and improve the quality of their water supply.


Desert regions are currently facing an additional environmental challenge in the form of climate change. Temperature increases and shifting patterns of precipitation can make already existing environmental problems more worse and pose a threat to both biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides. Adaptation to climate change and the development of alternative sources of energy are two of the methods that have been taken in order to address this issue. One such initiative is Morocco's Noor Ouarzazate solar power plant, which aims to lessen the country's dependency on non-renewable resources and increase the use of other sources of power.


Finally, unsustainable tourism and recreation activities can also pose environmental problems in desert regions. To address this problem, measures such as sustainable tourism development and ecotourism have been implemented. For example, in the United Arab Emirates, ecotourism initiatives such as the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve aim to promote sustainable tourism and protect biodiversity.


The major environmental problems confronted by desert regions include land degradation, water scarcity, climate change, and unsustainable tourism and recreation activities. Various measures such as soil conservation, water conservation, renewable energy development, and sustainable tourism development have been implemented to address these problems. It is essential to continue to implement these measures and work towards sustainable management of desert regions to ensure the continued well-being of both human societies and the environment.



All Questions are compulsory and carries 10 marks each


5. What are biomes of the world? Explain in detail any two biomes of the world with examples.

Ans) A large-scale biological community is called a biome, and it is characterised by the predominant vegetation, climate, and other environmental elements. Biomes can be found all over the world. Different parts of the world are home to a variety of biomes, each of which may be identified by its own distinct combination of physical and biological characteristics. The world is home to a diverse collection of ecosystems known as biomes, some of which include tropical rainforests, savannas, deserts, temperate woods, and tundras. There are two types of forests that make up the world's biomes: tropical rainforests and temperate woods.


Tropical rainforests are only found in areas that are geographically close to the equator and have consistently high levels of both temperature and precipitation throughout the year. The height of the trees, the amount of greenery, and the variety of species found here all contribute to the forest's distinctive appearance. The Amazon Rainforest in South America is a good example of a biome that is characterised as a tropical rainforest. The Amazon Rainforest, which has a total area of approximately 6.7 million square kilometres, is the largest rainforest in the world. The Amazon Rainforest is home to a vast number of plant and animal species, some of the more well-known of which being jaguars, sloths, and macaws. Additionally, the rainforest performs essential functions for its ecosystem, such as the storage of carbon dioxide and the management of climate.


Temperate forests are characterised by deciduous trees, which are distinguished by the fact that they lose their leaves throughout the winter months. Temperate forests can be found in places that have moderate temperatures and rainfall. The Eastern Deciduous Forest in North America is an example of a biome that is classified as a temperate forest. It is estimated that around 2.5 million square kilometres are covered by the Eastern Deciduous Forest, which can be found in locations that experience humid continental climates. There are a wide variety of plant and animal species that call this forest their home, such as black bears, white-tailed deer, and red-tailed hawks. In addition, the forest is responsible for essential ecological services, such as the production of lumber and the sequestration of carbon.


In conclusion, biomes are large-scale ecological communities that are differentiated by the predominant flora, climate, and other environmental characteristics. Biomes are also known as ecoregions. Both tropical rainforests and temperate forests are examples of different types of biomes. Tropical rainforests are regions that are located close to the equator and are distinguished by their tall trees, lush vegetation, and extensive animal and plant life. Temperate forests are characterised by deciduous trees, which are distinguished by the fact that they lose their leaves throughout the winter months. Temperate forests can be found in places that have moderate temperatures and rainfall. Both of these ecosystems offer essential benefits to the ecosystem as a whole and are home to a wide variety of plant and animal species.

6. Describe types of wastes based on their state in nature. Explain effects of solid and liquid wastes on public health and environment with examples.

Ans) Types of wastes can be classified based on their state in nature, which includes solid waste, liquid waste, and gaseous waste. Solid waste is any waste material that is not liquid or gas, such as garbage, sewage sludge, and industrial waste. Liquid waste is any waste material that is in liquid form, such as wastewater and chemical effluent. Gaseous waste is any waste material that is in the form of a gas, such as air pollutants and greenhouse gases.


Solid waste and liquid waste can have significant effects on public health and the environment. Solid waste, if not properly managed, can lead to air pollution, water pollution, and soil contamination. For example, unmanaged solid waste can create breeding grounds for disease vectors, such as rats and mosquitoes, which can transmit diseases such as cholera and dengue fever. Additionally, solid waste that is burned or decomposes in landfills can release air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, and particulate matter, which can cause respiratory problems and other health issues.


Liquid waste can also have significant effects on public health and the environment. If liquid waste is not properly treated, it can contaminate water sources and harm aquatic ecosystems. For example, untreated sewage that is discharged into water bodies can cause eutrophication, a process in which excess nutrients cause algal blooms and oxygen depletion, which can lead to fish kills and harm other aquatic organisms. Additionally, liquid waste that contains toxic chemicals, such as heavy metals and organic compounds, can accumulate in the food chain and harm human health.


For example, in India, the dumping of solid waste in the city of Kanpur has led to severe environmental and health problems. The unmanaged dumping of solid waste has contaminated the groundwater and soil with heavy metals and other toxic substances, leading to increased rates of cancer and other diseases. Additionally, the unmanaged waste has created breeding grounds for disease vectors, leading to increased rates of vector-borne diseases such as dengue fever.


Similarly, in the United States, the discharge of untreated sewage into water bodies has led to water pollution and ecosystem degradation. For example, in the Great Lakes region, untreated sewage discharges have led to high levels of nutrients in the water, which have caused harmful algal blooms and oxygen depletion, leading to fish kills and harm to other aquatic organisms.


In conclusion, solid and liquid wastes can have significant effects on public health and the environment. Unmanaged solid waste and untreated liquid waste can lead to air pollution, water pollution, and soil contamination, causing harm to human health and ecosystems. Proper waste management practices, including waste reduction, recycling, and proper treatment and disposal of waste, are necessary to minimize the harmful effects of solid and liquid waste on the environment and public health.


7. Explain in detail any two methods and techniques of Environmental monitoring with suitable examples.

Ans) Environmental monitoring is the process of collecting data on the physical, chemical, and biological conditions of the environment to understand changes and trends over time. There are various methods and techniques used for environmental monitoring, including remote sensing, water quality monitoring, and air quality monitoring.


Remote Sensing: The practise of gathering information about an environment without making direct physical touch with that environment is referred to as remote sensing. It is an efficient way for monitoring big areas, such as forests, oceans, and metropolitan areas, among other types of environments. Several different types of technology, such as satellites, aircraft, and drones, can be utilised in the process of remote sensing. The data that was collected can be utilised to generate maps, monitor changes, and identify trends over the course of time.


The use of satellite photos to keep an eye on deforestation in the Amazon rainforest is a good illustration of the concept of remote sensing. Images captured by satellites can reveal shifts in the composition of the forest canopy as well as the growth of agricultural and urban areas. This information can be useful for researchers and policymakers in developing measures to slow the rate of deforestation and improve environmental protection.


Water Quality Monitoring: Water quality monitoring is the process of collecting data on the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of water bodies to assess their health and potential impacts on human and ecosystem health. Water quality monitoring can be performed using in-situ monitoring devices or by collecting water samples and analysing them in a laboratory.

One example of water quality monitoring is the monitoring of nutrient levels in freshwater bodies. High levels of nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, can cause eutrophication, leading to algal blooms, oxygen depletion, and fish kills. To monitor nutrient levels, water samples are collected and analysed in a laboratory using techniques such as spectrophotometry and chromatography.


The monitoring of pollutants in wastewater treatment plants is yet another example of monitoring the water supply to ensure its purity. The treated water is tested for contaminants such organic compounds, heavy metals, and nutrients throughout the treatment process. This information is utilised to verify that environmental rules are followed as well as locate areas in which the treatment process can be improved. Monitoring the environment is essential for gaining a proper understanding of the shifts and tendencies that occur in the natural world, as well as for formulating measures that are efficient in protecting the health of both humans and ecosystems. The use of remote sensing and monitoring of water quality are two efficient approaches for keeping track of the state of the environment and determining the extent of any potential adverse effects on both the ecosystem and public health.





8. Write Short notes on the following in about 200 words each. Each question carries 5 marks.


a) Physical and Social Environment

Ans) Physical and social environment are two key elements that shape our lives and affect our well-being. The physical environment refers to the natural and built surroundings, including air quality, water quality, land use, buildings, transportation, and infrastructure. The social environment, on the other hand, encompasses the social and cultural factors that impact our lives, such as social norms, values, beliefs, and social relationships.


The physical environment has a profound impact on our health and well-being. Exposure to pollutants, toxins, and hazardous waste can cause respiratory and other health problems. Poor access to healthy food, safe drinking water, and recreational spaces can contribute to chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. In contrast, a clean and safe physical environment can promote physical and mental health, social interaction, and overall well-being.


Similarly, the social environment can also have a significant impact on our health and well-being. Social isolation, discrimination, and poverty can lead to increased stress, depression, and anxiety, while social support and connectedness can promote positive mental health. Social norms and values can shape our attitudes and behaviours toward health and well-being, such as attitudes toward substance use or physical activity.


Overall, the physical and social environment both play critical roles in shaping our health and well-being. It is essential to address both of these factors to promote healthy lifestyles, prevent disease, and create environments that support our overall well-being. By understanding the relationship between the physical and social environment and health, we can work to create healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable communities for all.


b) Human Ecology

Ans) Human ecology is the study of how humans interact with and affect the natural environment. It is an interdisciplinary field that incorporates elements of biology, sociology, economics, geography, and anthropology to examine the complex relationships between humans and the environment. Human ecology is concerned with the ways in which humans adapt to and modify their environment. This includes examining how human activities such as agriculture, urbanization, and industrialization have altered natural systems, as well as how humans have adapted to changes in the environment over time.


One of the key tenets of human ecology is the recognition that humans are part of the natural world and are dependent on the resources it provides. This means that human actions must be guided by an understanding of the interconnectedness of natural systems and the importance of sustainability.


Human ecology also recognizes the social and cultural factors that shape our relationship with the environment. For example, cultural beliefs and practices may influence how humans use and manage natural resources, while economic systems may incentivize unsustainable practices. The study of human ecology is critical for understanding and addressing many of the environmental challenges facing our world today, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and resource depletion. By examining the complex relationships between humans and the environment, we can develop strategies for promoting sustainability and creating a more harmonious relationship between humans and the natural world.


c) Soil Pollution

Ans) Soil pollution is the presence of toxic and harmful substances in the soil that can have negative effects on human health and the environment. Soil pollution can be caused by a variety of factors, including industrial activities, agricultural practices, waste disposal, and transportation.  One of the most significant sources of soil pollution is industrial activities such as mining, manufacturing, and processing. These industries often release toxic chemicals and heavy metals into the soil, which can have long-lasting and harmful effects. Agricultural practices such as the use of pesticides and fertilizers can also contribute to soil pollution.


Soil pollution can have a range of negative effects on human health and the environment. For example, exposure to contaminated soil can lead to respiratory problems, skin irritation, and other health issues. It can also impact the quality of crops and livestock and reduce the biodiversity of the ecosystem.


Preventing soil pollution is crucial for protecting human health and the environment. This can be achieved through a range of strategies, including implementing environmentally friendly agricultural practices, reducing the use of toxic chemicals in industry, and properly disposing of hazardous waste. Remediation is another important strategy for addressing soil pollution. This involves removing or neutralizing the contaminants in the soil to restore its quality. This can be achieved through a variety of techniques, including bioremediation (using microorganisms to break down contaminants), phytoremediation (using plants to absorb and remove contaminants), and chemical treatment.


d) Sustainable Development Goals

Ans) The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 goals and 169 targets adopted by the United Nations in 2015. The SDGs are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people can live in peace and prosperity.


The 17 SDGs are interconnected and address a range of issues, including poverty, hunger, health, education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, life below water, life on land, peace, justice and strong institutions, and partnerships for the goals.


The SDGs represent a comprehensive and ambitious agenda for global sustainable development, and require the cooperation and collaboration of governments, civil society, the private sector, and individuals to achieve. Some of the key targets of the SDGs include ending extreme poverty and hunger, ensuring access to quality education and healthcare, promoting gender equality and empowerment, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change, protecting and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity, and building inclusive, sustainable, and resilient communities.


Achieving the SDGs will require a concerted effort from all sectors of society, and will involve innovative approaches and technologies, increased investment, and a commitment to sustainable practices and lifestyles. In conclusion, the SDGs represent a critical framework for global sustainable development and provide a roadmap for creating a more equitable, prosperous, and sustainable world for all. By working together to achieve the SDGs, we can create a brighter future for ourselves and for generations to come.


e) United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity

Ans) The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity is an international treaty that was adopted at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The CBD has three main objectives: the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources.


The CBD has been signed by 196 countries, making it one of the most widely ratified environmental treaties in the world. The Convention provides a framework for national and international efforts to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and its components, such as ecosystems, species, and genetic resources.


The CBD recognizes the importance of biodiversity for human well-being and sustainable development and calls for the integration of biodiversity considerations into national and international policies and planning processes. The Convention also promotes the establishment and management of protected areas, the restoration of degraded ecosystems, the conservation and sustainable use of traditional knowledge, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.


One of the key mechanisms of the CBD is the development of national biodiversity strategies and action plans by signatory countries. These plans outline national priorities and actions for conserving and sustainably using biodiversity and provide a framework for monitoring and reporting on progress.


The CBD has also established several subsidiary bodies to support implementation, including the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical, and Technological Advice (SBSTTA), which provides scientific and technical advice to the Conference of the Parties, and the Access and Benefit-Sharing Clearing-House, which facilitates the implementation of the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.

f) Salient features of New Environmental Policy of India 2006

Ans) The New Environmental Policy (NEP) of India was introduced in 2006 with the aim of promoting sustainable development and protecting the environment. The policy outlines several salient features that guide environmental management in India, including:

  1. Integrated Approach: The NEP recognizes the interconnectedness of environmental issues and promotes an integrated approach to environmental management.

  2. Prevention Approach: The policy emphasizes the importance of prevention rather than remediation, encouraging the use of environmentally friendly technologies and practices.

  3. Participation: The NEP recognizes the importance of involving all stakeholders, including communities, civil society, and the private sector, in environmental decision-making.

  4. Precautionary Principle: The policy advocates for the application of the precautionary principle, which means taking precautionary measures to prevent harm to the environment or human health, even in cases where scientific evidence may be uncertain.

  5. Polluter Pays Principle: The NEP promotes the polluter pays principle, which means that those who cause pollution should bear the cost of preventing or mitigating it.

  6. Capacity Building: The policy recognizes the importance of building capacity and promoting education and awareness to support environmental management.

  7. Research and Development: The NEP emphasizes the need for research and development to support environmental management, including the development of new technologies and approaches.

  8. International Cooperation: The policy recognizes the importance of international cooperation and collaboration to address global environmental challenges.

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