The Air Environment (Atmosphere) and Water Environment (Hydrosphere) Structure of the Environment
The structure of the environment can be described in terms of its interdependent components, namely air, water, land living system and social structure.
However there are other two aspects that impact on the natural environment, these are: (a) Anthrosphere (b) Social environment
The Air Environment (Atmosphere)
This includes air and the atmosphere. The atmosphere reaches over 550 kilometre from the surface of the earth. Some significance of the atmosphere can outlined as follows:
The atmosphere contains life-supporting gasses for plants and animals. The presence of carbon dioxide and oxygen is essential for the coexistence of the basic living systems of plants and animals.
Nitrogen gas present in the atmosphere is an essential component of plants, animals and microbes.
The atmosphere is a shield that protects life on earth from the hostile conditions from the outer spheres.
The atmosphere offers mankind a field of study called meteorology that deals with weather and climate change which have profound influence on other spheres of the environment.
A major layer in the atmosphere is the ozone layer which protects human, plants and other animals from hazardous radiation from the sun.
Water Environment (Hydrosphere)
The water environment constitutes three-quarters of the planet Earth. All plants and animals (including humans) on earth depend on the availability and quality of water for survival. The importance of water cannot be overemphasized, it includes:
All forms of life depend on water for survival, for instance:
a) Water energizes food particles, which are able to supply the body with energy during digestion.
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b) Water increases the rate of absorption of essential substances in food.
Water increases the efficiency of red blood cell in collecting oxygen in the lungs
Water carries every nutrient, mineral, vitamin, protein, hormone and chemical messenger in the body to its destination
Water is essential to the cleaning process of the body (cleanses internal organs and eliminates toxins from the bloodstream) etc.
Water is an essential requirement for all agricultural, aqua cultural and industrial activities of man.
In the light of the above we can see that water environment is needed both from the maintenance and sustenance of plant and animal (including humans) life, and the economy.
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