Environmental and Sustainable Development: NBSE Class 12 Eco

Environmental and Sustainable Development nbse 12
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Here, you will find summaries, questions, answers, textbook solutions, pdf, extras etc. of (Nagaland Board) NBSE Class 12 (Arts/Commerce) Economics Chapter 8: Environmental and Sustainable Development. These solutions, however, should be only treated as references and can be modified/changed.


The chapter discusses environmental and sustainable development. It explains that economic development is depleting natural resources and degrading the environment beyond its carrying capacity. This is evident from problems like air and water pollution, soil erosion, deforestation etc. Unchecked growth is undermining future productivity.

Sustainable development meets present needs without compromising future needs. It aims for inter-generational equity. It has human, environment, technological and economic dimensions.

India’s rising population and consumption exerts pressure on resources. Problems like air and water pollution, waste generation, soil erosion, biodiversity loss are increasing.

Environmental protection measures like pollution control boards, environment impact assessments, standards for emissions and effluents, clean technologies etc have been initiated. Non-conventional energy sources like solar, wind and mini-hydel plants reduce dependence on polluting fuels.

Traditional knowledge is environment friendly. Bio-composting and bio-pesticides reduce chemical usage. Sustainable development ensures welfare for all by judicious use of resources. It transforms growth into human development. Concerted efforts are needed for sustainable and inclusive growth.

Textual questions and answers

A. Very short-answer questions (answer in one word/one sentence)

1. Give the meaning of ‘environment’.

Answer: It comprises all the resources and the space available to human, animal and plant life.

2. How does a minor disruption affect the environment?

Answer: It enables the environment to repair the damage or evolve alternatives.

3. The capacity of the environment to maintain itself is known as

Answer: carrying capacity

4. What is meant by the ‘absorptive capacity’ of the environment?

Answer: The ability of the environment to absorb degradation without getting adversely affected.

5. Give two ways by which human beings harm the environment.

Answer: Consumption of resources, generation of waste

6. What is deforestation?

Answer: Cutting down of forests

7. Define ‘global warming’.

Answer: Increase of the Earth’s temperature resulting in rise in sea level

8. Name two gases that raise the temperature of the earth’s surface.

Answer: Carbon dioxide, methane

9. What is ‘sustainable development’?

Answer: It seeks to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs.

10. Identify one way of improving the air quality in India.

Answer: Use of unleaded petrol and CNG

11. Where and when is a mini-hydel power plant set up?

Answer: On perennial, fast moving rivers to meet local demands

12. What is ‘Green Capital’?

Answer: Total natural wealth of a nation or any entity

13. Is environment accounting possible? Give one way of incorporating it.

Answer: Yes, by factoring environmental loss into estimates of economic growth.

14. Give two ways by which quality of life can be improved.

Answer: Reduction of poverty, inequality and unemployment

15. What is ‘clean technology’?

Answer: Technology that uses environment-friendly resources

16. Name four Indian plants having medicinal value.

Answer: Aloe vera, honey, tulsi, haldi

17. What was the ‘Kyoto Protocol’?

Answer: It was an international treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

18. Give the full form of CPCB.

Answer: Central Pollution Control Board

B. Short-answer questions-I (answer in 30-50 words)

1. What concerns are being shared regarding the deteriorating environment?

Answer: There are concerns that natural resources are being depleted at unsustainable rates and the quality of the environment is gradually deteriorating as a result of human activities.

2. Comment on the general status of our resources in the future.

Answer: Resources that were previously available in abundance are now limited in supply and have deteriorated in quality. This raises concerns about meeting future resource needs.

3. Use any three examples to explain how human beings are damaging the environment.

Answer: Three examples of human damage to the environment are deforestation which destroys forest ecosystems, migration to urban areas which increases pollution and waste, and wasteful consumption which depletes resources faster than they can regenerate.

4. Write a short note on India’s rich and diverse natural resources.

Answer: India is endowed with varied climate, fertile soil, coastal plains, the Himalayas, dense forests, major river systems and an abundance of mineral resources, allowing for tremendous diversity in crops, fruits, flowers and economic resources.

5. How can environmental problems undermine economic growth?

Answer: Environmental problems can increase health costs for purification, reduce productivity of resources and land, and require costly remediation efforts, diverting investment from more productive economic activities.

6. What is environmental accounting? How does it ensure a better future?

Answer: Environmental accounting incorporates degradation or loss of natural capital into estimates of economic performance. This ensures future productivity is not compromised for short-term gains.

7. How does Sustainable Development improve the quality of life?

Answer: By promoting inclusive economic growth focused on renewable resources and human development, sustainable development transforms growth into improved quality of life and intergenerational equity.

8. What role does the CPCB play in maintaining the environment?

Answer: The Central Pollution Control Board monitors environmental quality, enforces regulations, sets emission standards, and provides expertise and information to assist environmental policymaking.

9. What is water management? How can India improve its water management?

Answer: Water management involves sustainably providing clean drinking water and curbing overuse of resources. India can improve by increasing storage, treatment and distribution facilities and promoting judicious use.

10. What is bio-composting? How is it different from bio-pest control?

Answer: Bio-composting utilizes organic waste to produce natural fertilizer and enrich soil. In contrast, bio-pest control uses natural pesticides as an alternative to chemicals for controlling pests and diseases.

C. Short-answer questions-II (answer in 60-80 words)

1. Give four functions that the environment performs.

Answer: The four main functions performed by the environment are – it supplies resources such as renewable and non-renewable resources, it assimilates waste generated by living beings, it sustains life by providing bio-diversity and genetic diversity, and it makes the world beautiful which appeals to our aesthetic senses.

2. What has caused the environment to deteriorate?

Answer: The consumption of resources at the present levels has led to a degradation of the environment. With the growth of industries, and increasing demand for goods and services, the environment has not been able to regenerate itself.

3. What happens when the rate of resource use is greater than that of the natural replacement?

Answer: When the rate of resource use is greater than the rate of natural replacement, the environment reaches a point where it may not be able to revive or replenish itself. This leads to depletion and deterioration of natural resources.

4. Give two examples each of: (I) When the environment is overused and (ii) When resources are misused.


(i) When the environment is overused:

  • Cutting down forests extensively leading to deforestation and loss of green cover.
  • Dumping industrial waste and sewage into rivers leading to severe water pollution.

(ii) When resources are misused:

  • Burning excessive fossil fuels like coal and oil leading to air pollution.
  • Dumping non-biodegradable plastic waste leading to land degradation.

5. How is India’s environmental problem dichotomous?

Answer: India’s environmental problem is dichotomous because on one hand the growing population and rising affluence is putting pressure on the environment and depleting resources, while on the other hand the extensive poverty and lack of resources to tackle poverty also harms the environment.

6. Suggest some environmental protection measures for the future.

Answer: Some environmental protection measures for the future include – using renewable sources of energy like solar and wind power, switching to clean technologies that treat effluents before release, stringent enforcement of environmental regulations, afforestation to increase green cover, and promoting organic farming practices.

7. What are non-conventional sources of energy? How are they?

Answer: Non-conventional sources of energy are renewable and environment friendly energy sources like solar, wind, tidal, geothermal energy etc. They are pollution free, reduce dependence on imported fuels and do not require change in land use patterns.

8. What is water management?

Answer: Water management refers to the conservation, regulation, and appropriate allocation of water resources. It involves providing clean drinking water to all, creating adequate water storage facilities, curbing overuse of water, water treatment before release into water bodies etc.

9. India is far more environment-friendly. Comment.

Answer: India has traditionally used local resources for housing, transport and energy needs. Practices like Ayurveda, yoga, organic farming that are more harmonious with nature are native to India. These utilize lesser resources and generate less waste. India needs to rediscover its environment-friendly traditional knowledge and practices.

10. What is bio-composting? How is it different from bio-pest control?

Answer: Bio-composting is the process of preparing fertilizer from organic waste like cattle dung, plant residue etc. It enriches the soil in a natural manner. Bio-pest control refers to controlling pests by natural means like neem extracts, mixed cropping etc. rather than using chemical pesticides. While bio-composting restores soil health, bio-pest control reduces toxicity from chemicals.

D. Long-answer questions-I (answer in 90-120 words)

1. What is meant by environment? List the functions of the environment.

Answer: Environment comprises all the resources and the space that we have inherited. It is inclusive of the animal and plant life (biotic or living resources) and the sun, air, water and land with its vast mineral resources (abiotic resources). All these are interdependent and in harmony and in balance with each other. The four basic functions of the environment are – It supplies resources such as renewable and non-renewable; It assimilates waste; It sustains life by providing bio-diversity and genetic diversity; and It makes the world look beautiful and appeals to our aesthetic senses.

2. Identify six factors contributing to land degradation in India.

Answer: Human activity is degrading the productive capacity of soil by causing soil erosion, silting of dams, irrigation canals and rivers. Aquatic life is also suffering from human invasion on resources. Deforestation is damaging the green lungs of the earth. Over-grazing and over-extraction of green fodder lead to forest degradation through decreased vegetative regeneration, soil compaction and erosion. Modern life has damaged the forests which preserve ecological and environmental balance.

3. Explain how the opportunity costs of negative environmental impact are high.

Answer: Environmental problems can undermine economic development in two ways. First, environmental damage can affect future productivity. Soil degradation, depletion of water resources and ecosystems that are destroyed in the name of rising incomes today can jeopardise the prospects for earning income tomorrow. Secondly, correction for environmental damages involves opportunity costs. This diverts funds from important areas like health, education and infrastructure.

4. Outline the steps involved in attaining sustainable development in India.

Answer: The steps involved in attaining sustainable development in India encompass various dimensions:

  • Human Dimension: This involves addressing the imbalances caused by the human population on the ecosystem and environment. Essential steps include halting deforestation, controlling migration from rural to urban areas, reducing wasteful consumption, and investing in health and education, particularly in rural areas.
  • Environment Dimension: Sustainable development requires using the environment within its absorptive and carrying capacity. This means judicious use of land, soil, and forests, and sharing resources with future generations
  • Technological Dimension: Pollution of air, water, and land is a major threat, and using safe technology and green goods can help restore the environment. This includes treating industrial effluents before release into the atmosphere and improving technology to mitigate the adverse impacts of industrialization.
  • Economic Dimension: State expenditure should aim at reducing poverty, inequality, and unemployment, thus improving human conditions in harmony with environmental preservation.
  • Bio-Composting and Bio-Pest Control: These practices involve using natural manure and pest control methods to enrich the soil and protect crops. Bio-composting uses organic waste like cattle dung and dry leaves to make compost, while bio-pest control promotes natural pesticides and predators like neem extracts, snakes, lizards, owls, and peacocks to minimize the use of harmful chemicals​​.

5. India has abundant natural resources; substantiate the statement.

Answer: India has a rich and varied soil quality with the potential to produce any and every kind and variety of vegetation, a flourishing forest cover, vast coastal plains stretching into the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, the Himalayas with their heritage of herbs and spices, rare fruits and flowers and the rich Deccan Plateau with its black soil. The Indo-Gangetic plain is one of the richest river valleys, again offering a variety of crops and vegetation for survival of a large majority. Mineral resources are in abundance in central and eastern India – iron ores, bauxite, copper, diamond, gold, lignite, lead, zinc, manganese, crude oil and uranium are all found and mined in India alone.

6. Is environmental crisis a recent phenomenon? If so, why?

Answer: With the growth of industries, and increasing demand for goods and services, the environment has not been able to regenerate itself. The supply of every resource that was previously available in abundance is now limited and the quality of these resources has deteriorated. Environmental pollution and waste generation are contemporary issues discussed and highlighted everywhere. Hence the environmental crisis is not a recent phenomenon. Economic development post independence led to rising population, urbanization and industrialization which put pressure on resources, leading to ecological imbalance much before the issue gained prominence.

7. Give two instances of: (a) Overuse of environmental resources (b) Misuse of environmental resources.

Answer: (a) Overuse of environmental resources:

  • Deforestation: This refers to the cutting down of forests to make land available for farming, industrial activities, or dwellings.
  • Over-grazing: This leads to forest degradation through decreased vegetative regeneration, soil compaction, and erosion.

(b) Misuse of environmental resources:

  • Water Pollution: This occurs when industries contaminate water with their effluents that release toxic chemicals, mercury, and lead metals, which are hard to remove by standard purification processes.
  • Air Pollution: This is caused by vehicular emissions and industrial production, which contaminate the air and deteriorate its quality​​.

8. State any four pressing environmental concerns of India.

Answer: Four pressing environmental concerns of India are:

  • Water Pollution: The quality of water is deteriorating worldwide due to industrial effluents that release toxic chemicals, mercury, and lead metals, which are difficult to remove through standard purification processes. Almost 1 billion people in developing countries lack access to safe drinking water, highlighting the critical importance of water scarcity and management.
  • Air Pollution: Air quality is declining due to contamination from vehicular emissions, industrial production, transport, commercial activities, residential energy use, and the power sector. These factors significantly contribute to the deterioration of air quality.
  • Solid and Hazardous Waste: Many cities generate more waste than they can manage, leading to a large proportion of waste going uncollected. Disposal methods are often inadequate, with cities in developing countries dumping waste in open areas. Industrial waste contains solid and hazardous matter, and uncollected waste can spread diseases and pollute groundwater resources.
  • Soil Degradation: Human activities are degrading the productive capacity of soil, causing soil erosion, silting of dams, irrigation canals, and rivers. This degradation also negatively impacts aquatic life​​.

9. Correction for environmental damages involves opportunity costs. Explain.

Answer: Correction for environmental damages involves opportunity costs because addressing environmental degradation often requires significant financial, material, and human resources that could otherwise be used for alternative purposes. These opportunity costs can be high in several ways:

  • Financial Cost: Remedying environmental damage typically requires substantial financial investments. This could involve funding for pollution control technologies, restoration of ecosystems, or development of sustainable practices. This financial outlay could have been used for other developmental or social welfare projects.
  • Resource Allocation: Resources such as manpower, technology, and time dedicated to correcting environmental damages are diverted from other potential uses. For example, a focus on cleaning up polluted rivers might delay or reduce investments in other critical areas like healthcare or education.
  • Economic Trade-offs: Measures taken to correct environmental damages, such as implementing stricter pollution controls or shifting to renewable energy sources, might initially lead to increased costs for businesses and potentially higher prices for consumers. This can affect economic growth and competitiveness in the short term.
  • Policy Prioritization: When governments prioritize environmental restoration, other policy areas might receive less attention or funding. This can be a significant issue in countries where resources are limited, and there are competing needs for infrastructure development, poverty alleviation, and healthcare improvements.

10. Highlight any two serious adverse environmental consequences of development in India.

Answer: Two serious adverse environmental consequences of development in India are:

  • Poverty-induced Environmental Problems: Development in India has led to environmental issues that stem from poverty. This includes deforestation due to the need for fuelwood and land for cultivation, overuse of natural resources for livelihood, and inadequate waste management in densely populated areas.
  • Affluence-Induced Environmental Problems: On the other hand, increased affluence and rising living standards have led to a different set of environmental issues. This includes increased consumption leading to higher waste generation, greater demand for energy and resources, and pollution due to industrialization and urbanization.
E. Long-answer questions-II (answer in 130-200 words)

1. How do the following factors contribute to the environmental crisis in India? What problem do they pose for the government?

Answer: (i) Rising population – Rising population puts pressure on natural resources leading to overuse and depletion. It poses a problem for the government to provide adequate resources for the growing population.

(ii) Air pollution – Increasing vehicular emissions, industrial production, burning of biomass fuels cause air pollution. The government faces the problem of enforcing stricter regulations and adopting cleaner technologies to reduce pollution.

(iii) Water contamination – Industrial effluents contaminate water bodies making water unfit for use. The government has to ensure water treatment before release into water bodies.

(iv) Effluent consumption standards – Lack of effluent standards allows industries to release untreated toxic wastes into environment. The government has to notify effluent standards and ensure compliance.

(v) Illiteracy – Illiteracy results in lack of awareness about environmental issues. The government has to promote education to spread awareness.

(vi) Industrialization – Rapid industrialization without proper safeguards causes pollution. The government faces the challenge of balancing growth and environmental protection.

(vii) Urbanization – Increasing migration to urban areas strains civic amenities and increases pollution. Providing adequate infrastructure in cities is a challenge.

(viii) Reduction of forest coverage – Forests are cut down for developmental activities leading to loss of green cover. The government has to balance between growth needs and afforestation.

(ix) Poaching – Poaching of endangered animals disturbs the biodiversity balance. Strict anti-poaching laws are required.

(x) Global warming – Emissions of greenhouse gases like CO2 cause global warming. Concerted global efforts are needed to reduce emissions.

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