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Environmental Chemistry


Table of Content

What is Environment?

Environment refers to the surrounding of an object or organism. It includes every living and nonliving thing around us. Environment consists of living and nonliving components. The living component includes animals, plants and micro organics i.e all the living organisms. The non-living components include air, water, temperature, soil and all the other things that affect us in one or other way. Environmental studies deal with the sum of all social, economical, biological, physical and chemical interrelations with our surroundings.

  1. Atmosphere: This comprises a blanket of gaseous layer around earth.  Atmosphere surrounding us can be divided into four regions ?troposphere ,stratosphere ,  mesosphere and thermosphere

  2. Hydrosphere: This comprises about 96% of earth’s surface & includes all sources of water like oceans rivers lakes, glaciers, ground water etc.

  3. Lithosphere: It refers to earth’s solid crust containing the outer mineral cover. It comprises soil, minerals, organic matter etc.

  4. Biosphere: It refers to the domain of living organism in covalent with atmosphere hydrosphere as well as lithosphere. ? 

What is Environmental Chemistry?

One can define environmental chemistry as the branch of chemistry which deals with the study of the origin, transport, reactions, effects and fates of chemical species in the environment. It also includes the application of chemistry for understanding and solving the environmental changes, phenomenon and their effect on organisms. It also includes the application of chemistry to solve the problems related to environment such as environmental pollution.

Large number of substances (both toxic and non-toxic)  are being added to the environment by both natural events and human activities daily. These substances which are going continuously into environment due to undesirable consequences of modern civilization, industrialization and excessive use of natural resources bring about undesirable changes in our environment and adversely affect the life process of both animals and plants. 

We will  discuss some important aspects of environmental chemistry under the following topics

What is Pollution?

The addition of any undesirable material to environment i.e. air, water or soil by any natural source or human activity which affects its quality is called natural pollution. The undesirable material which is added to the environment is called pollutant. Pollution is caused by fast population growth, excessive industrialization, rapid urbanisation and use of pesticides in agriculture. In short environmental pollution is the process of contamination of the environment with harmful wastes arising mainly from human activities.

Some common terms used in Environmental Chemistry

  1. Pollutant:  Any substance or species produced either by a natural source or by human activity, which produces adverse effect on the environment.

  2. Contaminant: A substance which does not occurs in nature but is introduced by human activity into the atmosphere affecting its composition. Contaminant is called pollutant when it has harmful effects

  3. Source: The site from which the pollution or contaminants originate. Every pollutant has some source.

  4. Sink: The material or medium which consumes or interacts with a long lived pollutant is called sink. For example, Marble acts as the sink for the sulphuric acid present in acid rain.

  5. CaCO3 + H2SO4 → CaSO4 + H2O +CO2

  6. Receptor : Anything that is affected by the pollutants. For example , Human beings are the receptor for smog.

  7. Threshold limit value (TLV) : This indicates the permissible limit of a pollutant in atmosphere to which a healthy worker is exposed during hours a day or 40 hours a week for life time without any adverse effects. TLV are determined by experimentation on animals, by use of medical knowledge, epidemiology surveys & environmental studies.  

Refer the below mentioned links to get an immediate solution to all queries on Organic chemistry:

JEE Organic Chemistry Syllabus

Environmental Chemistry Notes

Reference books of Organic Chemistry

To read more, Buy study materials of Environmental Chemistry comprising study notes, revision notes, video lectures, previous year solved questions etc. Also browse for more study materials on Chemistry here.

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