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Environmental Science

Environment is the source of life that provide food, clothing, shelter and other life supporting substances like water, air, sunlight etc to all living beings on earth. Due to the rapid growth in industrialization and urbanization, the natural balance of the environment has been disturbed and as a result, the process of growth and development has become unsustainable. In order to protect and preserve our environment and its invaluable resources, there exists a huge demand for environmental experts. These experts involve themselves in finding different ways to maintain a livable environment. Environmental science is the branch of science dealing with the study of different components of environment, the factors influencing the changes in the environment and the interdependence of living things within their environment. These include the study of climatic change; conservation of energy; biodiversity; ground water and soil contamination; technologies developed to treat air pollution, sound pollution etc. This interdisciplinary academic field combines physical and biological science context including physics, chemistry, biology, soil science, geology and geography. Wholly, environmental studies incorporate more of the social sciences for understanding human relationships, perceptions and policies towards the environment. Environmental science is becoming an interesting and one of the most sought after careers because of the increase in awareness about the clean environment. A formal training program in the field of environmental science is needed for those who are interested to build up a career in this field. One can work in this field as environmental scientists, environment educationist, environmental engineers, environmental biologists, environmental modellers, environmental journalists and environment-related technologists working in laboratories that engage in soil and water testing, pollution detection and control. Environmental science professionals are involved in the study of changes in the earth's atmosphere. They work on subjects like pollution control and mitigation, understanding of earth processes, effects of global climate change, evaluating alternative energy systems, natural resource management etc. Their major objective is to find new ways to improve and conserve the standard of living by examining the circumstances of the environment, recognizing the impact of human actions on earthly and aquatic ecosystems, and developing strategies for restoring ecosystems. Environmental scientists utilize the knowledge of various science and engineering disciplines to protect and preserve the environment. They conduct research studies in order to develop different methods for decreasing and controlling the sources of environmental pollution. Though environmental science is a broad field of study, no specific separation is needed because its branches overlap with each other. However to make things easier, environmental science has been divided as : • Environmental Chemistry - dealing with the chemical changes in water, air and soil; • Ecology - the study of interactions of various species of living organism with one another and with the physical and chemical environment; • Geosciences - also known as earth science, it deals with the study of demographical part of the environment including oceans, biosphere, mountain, solid earth etc.; • Atmospheric Science - the study of the gaseous layer that covers the earth like a blanket; • Environmental Assessment - deals with the ways and methods to improve and enhance the environment; and • Environmental Microbiology - related with the study of composition and physiology of microbes (bacteria) and their communities in the environment. Eligibility Usually environmental science is taught as an MSc. programme. Graduates courses (i.e B.Sc.) in environmental science are offered only by a few institutions. In the graduate level, most institutes teach environmental science as a specialised course. The eligibility criteria for 3 year B.Sc Environmental Science is a pass in 10+2 examination or equivalent with Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Engineering diploma holders can also join the course. Andhra University; Gandhi Institute of Technology and Management (GITAM), Visakhapatnam and University of Madras, Chennai etc. offers Bachelor of Environmental Management (BEM) course. Eligibility criteria and duration of this course is as same as that of B.Sc. course. The requirement for 2 years M.Sc. Environmental Science is B.Sc. Environmental science or a bachelor's degree in any discipline of science namely zoology, botany, physics, chemistry, biology, agriculture science etc. Work experience is preferred by some institutes for the MSc course and some institutes conduct entrance examinations. Candidates with master degree in environmental science can opt doctoral and post-doctoral courses like M.Phil and Ph.D and can become environmental scientists. Ph.D courses are offered by Post Graduate Studies and Research, Hyderabad and Osmania University. Certain institutes offer short term PG Diploma courses in environmental science and environment management. The Centre for Environmental Education and Research and Advocacy (CEERA) of the National Law School of Indian University, Bangalore offers one year Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Law (PGDEL) to graduates in any discipline through distance learning mode. Short term courses are also offered by Sikkim Manipal University, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), New Delhi etc. The curriculum of the courses may vary from institute to institute. Generally it involves observation of changes in the earth's atmosphere by pollution, global warming, forest conservation, soil erosion etc; pollution control, industrial hygiene, radiation protection, hazardous waste management, toxic materials control, water supply and other allied areas in this field. Graduate programs help students to specialize their knowledge and skills in the field which is essential for an increase in job value. Post graduate programs will help one to obtain an understanding of today's most complex environmental issues through the studies in advanced technical skills, conservation theory and waste management. Personal Attributes: An effective environmental professional/ scientist should have a creative and flexible mind, a love for nature and the environment, and a keen interest for its conservation. Besides, they must build good communicating skills, data handling, interpretation and interpersonal skills, problem solving and writing skills. They should be able to work as a team member and must have the ability to understand, express and implement their ideas. Other attributes needed are keen observation and a scientific aptitude towards the profession.

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