Distinguish between Biodegradable and Non-Biodegradable Substances. List two effects of each of them on our environment

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Biodegradable and Non-biodegradable substances can be distinguished based on whether they can be broken down quickly in the environment or not. Biodegradable substances are those that break down when they come into contact with bacteria, fungi, and other living things. On the other hand, a non-biodegradable substance is any form of matter that is a cause of pollution and cannot be degraded by natural organisms.

Distinguish between Biodegradable and Non-Biodegradable Substances

Biodegradable materials, such as food waste, tree leaves, and grass clippings, are commonly used. The majority of plant materials are biodegradable. The differences between biodegradable and non-biodegradable substances are illustrated below.

Biodegradable Substances Non-Biodegradable Substances
The biodegradation process in waste is quick. The non-biodegradable waste degradation process is slow.
Biodegradable waste is not stored and is instead quickly consumed. Non-biodegradable waste frequently builds up.
Biodegradable waste participates in biogeochemical cycles and decomposes quickly. Most non-biodegradable waste is hazardous and extremely sluggish to enter biogeochemical cycles.
Biodegradable waste is used to create biogas, compost, and energy manure. Non-biodegradable waste can be distinguished from recyclable materials, although doing so is quite expensive.

Biodegradable vs Non biodegradable Substances

Handling biodegradable materials is simple. Most towns promote the composting of waste products, which are later used to create humus, an organically rich substance for use in soil.

  • Natural processes cannot break down or eliminate waste that is not biodegradable.
  • They endure on earth for a very long time without degrading.
  • As a result, the threat they pose is likewise more serious.
  • The differences between biodegradable and non-biodegradable are as follows:

Effect of Biodegradable and Non-biodegradable Substances on the Environment

The environmental effects of biodegradable materials are as follows:

  • Biodegradable waste decomposition is accompanied by an unpleasant odor that enters the environment and affects nearby people.
  • The amount of biodegradable garbage is a shelter for house flies and other insects that serve as vectors of disease spread.

The environmental effects of non-biodegradable materials are as follows:

  • The excessive use of non-biodegradable herbicides and fertilizers impacts soil fertility.
  • A few non-biodegradable wastes get biomagnified, enter food chains, and impact the diverse biotic elements of the environment.

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