In this article, we are discussing a topic Natural Resources. When you studyprevious year Question Paper, you will find that every year good number of questions are asked from this topic. Natural Resources are resources which can be obtained from the environment. On the one hand, natural resources are fast depleting because of overexploitation by humans. On the other hand, earth is becoming a big dumping ground for waste generated by the activities of the fast growing human population.
These resources can be further divided into two:
A. Abiotic resources
B. Biotic resources (living natural resources)
Abiotic resources are the physical resources of nature For example: land, water, Energy, Metals and Petroleum and Natural gas.
1. Water: The natural water bodies include oceans, seas, and surface water bodies such as rivers, lakes, water falls and ponds. Almost 80% of the earth’s fresh water remains frozen at higher latitude and on mountains tops. Only 20% is available in liquid form. The primary source of water on land is the rainfall. Water is an essential requirement of all living beings.
2. Energy: The prime source of energy is solar radiation. Coal as you know has been formed from vegetation which grew millions of years ago, fell and got trapped in sediments. Under immense pressure and intense heat for years, tress and vegetation burned in sediments transformed into coal. Coal is used as a fuel for cooking, for running locomotives, furnaces industries and generating electricity. Coal is also used for extraction of metals and minerals and in thermal power generation.
Energy is also harnessed from sun (solar energy), wind (wind energy), animal excreta (biogas), sea (tidal energy) and radioactive minerals (nuclear energy).
3. Petroleum and natural gas:- Petroleum and natural gas are also fossil fuels. Petroleum probably originated from marine animals that lived during past geological periods, just as coal was formed from vegetation. Petroleum and natural gas are obtained from deep inside the earth and they are non-renewable energy resources. Petroleum products are used for running automobiles, steamers, aeroplanes and for making plastics and fertilizers.
4. Metal ores or minerals:- Metal ores are chemical compounds (salts) of metal such as Aluminium, iron, copper, lead, zinc, manganese etc. These ores are found as deposits in earth. Aluminium is used to make utensils, parts of vehicles, aircraft, and spacecraft. Iron and its alloys are used for making armaments, heavy machinery, railway engines, railway lines and a wide variety of articles. Copper is used for making industrial containers, electric wire and also used in electronic and telecommunication industries. Alloys such as brass and bronze contain copper.
5. Land:- Many organisms including humans live on land. Land forms just approximately 29% of earth’s surface includes mountains, rocks, deserts, swamps, forests and grasslands. Humans use land for growing crops that provide them with food. They also need land to build shelters, roads and cattle sheds. The need for land usage is steadily growing.
These include plants, animals and microorganisms.
1. Plants:- The natural food resources included in human diet are the various cereals, legumes, vegetables and fruits. Humans cultivate plants to obtain good grains, pulses, spices, vegetables, fruits, sugar and oil. Fibre yielding plants are grown to humans obtain cotton, jute and flex etc. Industrial raw material such as rubber, resins, wood are irreplaceable plant products.
2. Animals:- Goat, fish, eggs, poultry, prawns and crabs are source of food for human beings. Horses, bullocks, elephant, oxen, camels, donkeys, yaks etc. are used for transportation as draught animals. Yaks and sheep yield wool for woolens. Silk worm are grown for silk.
3. Microorganisms:- They provides antibiotics. Their use in fermentation and in breweries is an age old practice. Microbes are responsible for processing waste and dead plants and animals.