Ever since the earth was inhabited, humans and other life forms have depended on things that exist freely in nature to survive. These things include water (seas and fresh water), land, soils, rocks, forests (vegetation), animals (including fish), fossil fuels and minerals. They are called Natural Resources and are the basis of life on earth. In other words –
Resources that exist without actions of humankind are termed as Natural Resources. On earth natural resources include sunlight, atmosphere, water, land (includes all minerals) along with all vegetation, crops and animal life that naturally subsists upon or within the earth.
TYPES OF NATURAL RESOURCES
Natural resources can be categorized as either renewable or non-renewable. These are introduced here separately-
Renewable resources can be replenished naturally. Some of these resources, like sunlight, air, wind, water, etc., are continuously available and their quantity is not noticeably affected by human consumption. Though many renewable resources do not have such a rapid recovery rate, these resources are susceptible to depletion by over-use. Resources from a human use perspective are classified as renewable so long as the rate of replenishment or recovery exceeds that of the rate of consumption. They replenish easily compared to Non-renewable resources.
(2) Non-renewable resources
Non-renewable resources either form slowly or do not naturally form in the environment. Minerals are the most common resource included in this category. By the human perspective, resources are non-renewable when their rate of consumption exceeds the rate of replenishment or recovery; a good example of this are fossil fuels, which are in this category because their rate of formation is extremely slow (potentially millions of years), meaning they are considered non-renewable. Some resources actually naturally deplete in amount without human interference, the most notable of these being radio-active elements such as uranium, which naturally decay into heavy metals. Of these, the metallic minerals can be re-used by recycling them, but coal and petroleum cannot be recycled. Once they are completely used, they take millions of years to replenish.
Air is essential for life. So it is essential not only for smallest creature found in the biosphere, it is essential for the biggest animal or plant that exist in it. In fact it is a mixture of gases which is found around the earth as a broad belt. This broad belt of gases is called as atmosphere. There is a difference in the density of air at different heights of atmosphere. The air contains 78%N2, 21% O2, 0.03%CO2 and 0.07% other gases.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board automobile smoke is the main source of pollution in main Indian cities like Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai etc. For the first time in 1991parameters of pollution for vehicle producers were fixed as Euro-1. It was improved successively like Euro-II in 2000, Euro-III in 2005 and Euro-IV in 2005. Now Euro-I, II, III, IV are known as Bharat-I, Bharat-II and so on.
Water is the most important resource found in nature which is most important for life. All the biological activities and processes go on in the medium of water. Even conditions like season and climate depend on water.
We use water for many purposes like drinking, cooking food, cleaning, agriculture, transport, generation of hydroelectricity etc. More than 70% of the globe is water and about 97% of water this water is found in seas.
In India water is found in rivers, lakes, streams, ponds and oceans. In Indian rivers total water content is 1,863Km3 and inside earth it is 32Km3. All the water comes on earth in the forms of rain and ice that are parts of water cycles.
Ganga is the life line of India and it has been providing water to various ecosystems since ancient past. But since last many years it has been severely polluted due to various types of human activities. In 1985The Government of India started a project of cleaning Ganga in 1985.
The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is the implementation wing of National Ganga Council which was set up in October 2016 under the River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Authorities order 2016. The order dissolved National Ganga River Basin Authority. The aim is to clean the Ganga and its tributaries in a comprehensive manner.
A test of the water of Ganga shows the presence of Coliform bacteria in it. Coliform bacteria develop in water in which excretory matter from animals get mixed into it. These bacteria are found in the intestine of animals. According to accepted parameter the number of coliforms in drinking water should be zero in per 100ml of water and the same in general water should be less than200 in per 100ml water.
Soil Pollution is a considered as a major challenge for healthy environment. The weathering of earth’s crust forms, soil over the centuries that supports the variety of microscopic and macroscopic life-forms.
Soil Pollution can consist of anything that contaminates the soil. Thus, it is also referred to as soil contamination. It occurs when pollutants in the soil reduce soil quality and make it inhabitable to organisms such as insects. The top most layer of soil is composed of minerals of various sizes and organic matters along with pores filled with air and water. Soil is said to be contaminated when there is the presence of man-made chemicals or other activities that change its natural environment and make it unsuitable for agriculture.
It is chiefly the lack of human awareness that makes land lose its fertility simultaneously increasing its alkalescency and acidity. As a result, the surface of the soil erodes. This erosion is called soil pollution.
Soil fertility refers to the ability of a soil to sustain agricultural plant growth, i.e. to provide plant habitat and result in sustained and consistent yields of high quality
A fertile soil has the following properties: –
(i)The ability to supply essential plant nutrients, soil, and water in adequate amounts and proportions for plant growth and reproduction; and
(ii)The absence of toxic substances which may inhibit plant growth.
The following properties contribute to soil fertility in most situations:-
(i) Sufficient soil depth for adequate root growth and water retention;
(ii). Good internal drainage, allowing sufficient aeration for optimal root growth (although some plants, such as rice, tolerate waterlogging);
(ii) Topsoil with sufficient soil organic matter for healthy soil structure and soil moisture retention;
(iv) Soil pH in the range 5.5 to 7.0 (suitable for most plants but some prefer or tolerate more acid or alkaline conditions);
(v) Adequate concentrations of essential plant nutrients in plant-available forms;
(vi). Presence of a range of microorganisms that support plant growth.
Following are the reasons that reduce soil fertility –
(ii) mono agriculture
(iii). Scarcity of water
(iv) Use of synthetic fertilizers
(v) Accumulation of waste
A mineral is a pure inorganic substance that occurs naturally in the earth’s crust. All of the Earth’s crust, except the rather small proportion of the crust that contains organic material, is made up of minerals. Some minerals consist of a single element such as gold, silver, diamond (carbon), and sulphur.
More than two-thousand minerals have been identified and most of these contain inorganic compounds formed by various combinations of the eight elements (O, Si, Al, Fe, Ca, Na, K, and Mg) that make up 98.5% of the Earth’s crust. Industry depends on about 80 of the known minerals.
A mineral deposit is a concentration of naturally occurring solid, liquid, or gaseous material, in or on the Earth’s crust in such form and amount that its extraction and its conversion into useful materials or items are profitable now or may be so in the future. Mineral resources are non-renewable and include metals (e.g. iron, copper, and aluminium), and non-metals (e.g. salt, gypsum, clay, sand, phosphates).
Minerals are valuable natural resources being finite and non-renewable. They constitute the vital raw materials for many basic industries and are a major resource for development. Management of mineral resources has, therefore, to be closely integrated with the overall strategy of development; and exploitation of minerals is to be guided by long-term national goals and perspectives.