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Environment, Meaning, Functions, Types and Issues

What is Environment?

Environment is the external conditions, resources, stimuli, etc., that an organism interacts with, these interaction shapes the habitat as well as ecosystem of an organism. For carrying out the normal life processes and to fulfill the physical needs (such as food, energy, water, oxygen, shelter, etc.), all the organisms are dependent on the environment around them.

In a biological sense, the term “environment” refers to the physical (nutrients, water, and air), biological (biomolecules, organisms), and chemical (chemical cycles, such as the carbon and nitrogen cycles) variables that have an impact on an organism or a group of organisms.

Function of Environment 

Environment performs various functions in day to day life of humans which directly or indirectly effects the living organisms:

Supply of Resources

  • Production is the process of transforming raw materials into useful things. The environment provides natural resources that are used as inputs or raw materials in manufacturing. The environment provides two different sorts of resources: renewable and non-renewable.
    • Renewable Resources: They are those that can be used for lifetime without being depleted or exhausted. Example, oxygen, sunlight, etc.
    • Non-renewable Resources: They are those that can depletes over a period of time because of extraction and use. Example, coal, fossil energy, etc.

Natural Waste Management

Waste is a byproduct of consumption and production, and the majority of it is rubbish. The ecology takes up all of this trash by the process of decomposition. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and California is the biggest example of it.

But environment can only assimilates the biodegradable wastes and the non-biodegradable waste causes environmental pollution one such example is eutrophication

Sustains Life

Light, earth, oxygen, and water are all components of the environment that are essential for human existence to survive. Therefore, the environment supports life by offering these essential components. It also helps in sustaining life by providing biodiversity and genetic.

Improves Quality of Life

The environment is made up of things like soil, water, rain, mountains, deserts, and so forth. Each of these components helps to keep our surroundings beautiful and vibrant. The fact that these surroundings assist them raise their standard of living makes people respect them. These functions can be carried out without interruption as long as the demand falls within the environmental carrying capacity.

Types of Environment

The environment can be divided as – Natural, Anthropogenic or Built both have been discussed below in details:

Natural Environment

  • An habitat found in nature is referred to as a natural environment. All naturally existing objects, both living and nonliving, are included. As a result, it entails intricate interactions among weather, climate, living things, and natural resources.
  • Based on the components, the Natural environment can also be classified into
    • Aquatic environment (oceans and seas, lakes and rivers),
      • Marine environments being the largest known environments as they are distinguishes by the presence of water with a high salt content the 97% of the water on Earth is found in marine environment. Marine environments support communication between organisms and their physical surroundings.
      • Because they serve as a significant supply of resources and sustenance, these habitats are very significant to humans. Threats posed by human activity to the marine environment include warming, acidification, and marine pollution.
    • Terrestrial environment (land)
      • Terrestrial environments are those that can only be found on land. It stands in for the land of continents, islands, and the creatures that inhabit them. The existence of water in terrestrial habitats is crucial since, unlike aquatic or marine environments, they do not contain large amounts of water.
      • Terrestrial habitats experience daily and seasonal temperature changes as a result of the relative scarcity of water.
      • Tropical, Temperate, Grasslands, Deserts, Taiga and Tundra are the six types of terrestrial ecosystems.
    • Atmospheric environment (air).
      • An environment’s air component is referred to as its atmospheric environment. Numerous organisms depend heavily on the Earth’s atmosphere (air) for their survival and continued growth. Physicochemical characteristics such as solar radiation, air constituents, climate, and air pollution are just a few that might characterize an environment.

Anthropogenic Environment

Unlike natural habitats, anthropogenic environments are those that humans have created, such as urban settings or agricultural conversions. Many natural settings now have some degree of being “built” due to the wide range of human interventions and conversions.

Modern tools have been created by humans to alter environmental elements to suit their purposes. Some animal species are also able to construct nests, mounds, dams, and homes utilizing raw materials as tools. Their tools are, however, quite rudimentary, and frequently, their impact is not as great as that of human tools and technology. Human technology spread rapidly around the globe, having an indirect or direct impact on every aspect of the environment.

Problems faced by Environment

Environmental problems are the disruptions that are caused in the usual function of ecosystems. Further, these problems may be the result of natural processes or human activity (human impact on the environment). When an ecosystem can no longer heal itself into a  normal conditions, then these problems are deemed critical, and catastrophic when an ecosystem collapse is projected. Some of the important Problems faced by Environment are:


Another significant contributor to environmental problems is deforestation, which results from the alarming rate at which trees and forests are being destroyed. Because they give us oxygen, a variety of basic materials, and help keep the earth’s temperature stable, trees are vital to our survival. However, there has been a significant change in the temperature of the planet as a result of humans destroying forests and trees for profit.


Pollution is the introduction of hazardous elements into the natural environment causing adverse changes. Pollutants are the name for these dangerous substances. Natural pollutants include volcanic ash, for example. They can also be brought about by human activities, such as factory runoff or waste. The quality of the air, water, and land is harmed by pollutants.

The term “pollution” generally implies that the contaminants have an anthropogenic source, which is a source produced by human activities such as manufacturing, extractive industries, poor waste management, transportation, or agriculture, although environmental pollution can also be caused by natural events.

Ozone Depletion

The planet is shielded from the sun’s deadly UV radiation by the ozone layer. An essential layer for the earth is the ozone layer. However, over time, CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), which are utilized in various businesses and aspects of daily life (such as aerosol cans), are destroying it.

These chemicals’ chlorine content destroys the ozone layer. The ozone layer is forming a hole, which exposes people and wildlife to dangerous UV rays and causes a number of skin conditions, including cancer.

Global Warming

The increase in temperature of the earth’s environment brought on by the combustion of fossil fuels, vehicle emissions, and atmospheric chlorofluorocarbons is known as global warming. This has had a negative effect on the environment and caused a rise in environmental changes. worldwide warming is the term used to describe this rise in atmospheric temperature on a worldwide scale.

Climate Change

In the current atmosphere of environmental concerns, climate change is one of the main worries. With the onset of habitat degradation, global warming, overcrowding, and pollution over the past few decades, climate change has accelerated. Climate change is mostly caused by greenhouse gases, which raise the temperature of the world. Destructive effects brought on by environmental changes include the melting of glaciers, seasonal shifts, epidemics, etc.

Solutions of the Environmental Problems

Here are a few of the most popular approaches to the environmental problem:

  • Use of reusable things instead of disposal ones.
  • Avoid using paper whenever possible.
  • Conserve electricity and water.
  • Encourage eco-friendly behaviors.
  • To preserve natural resources, recycle garbage.

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Environment FAQs

What are the main types of environment?

There are two different types of environment:
Natural Environment.
Man-made Environment.

What is the Environment?

Environment is the surroundings in which we live.

2. What are the functions of the Natural environment?

Geographical environment includes the natural resources available in an ecosystem.

Why is environment important?

It underpins our economy, our society, indeed our very existence.

What is the example of environment?

Some examples of natural environments include rivers, mountains, forests and beaches.


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