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Biodegradable and Non-Biodegradable Substances

Garbage collection

Collect garbage from your house before it is thrown into the dustbin. Separate the garbage into two groups.

In one group, include wastes such as polythene bags, broken glass, aluminium foil, metal pieces etc. In the second group, include only kitchen wastes like peels of fruits and vegetables, waste food, newspaper, and garden wastes like dead leaves and other plant parts.

Bury this material separately in two pots and label them as A and B. Remove the top soil after one week, and check the status of the garbage. Then, approximately after four weeks, check the condition of the garbage again.

Observation

It will be observed that the waste in pot B decomposes, while the waste in pot A does not decompose.

The waste in pot B does not rot completely. However, it gives a bad odour after one week. But, after four weeks the waste rots almost completely and becomes odourless. It no longer has the original material and is now dark brown in colour.

What is the reason for making this observation? What is the difference between the waste kept in pot A and waste kept in pot B?

The difference is that the waste kept in pot A is non-biodegradable, while the waste kept in pot B is biodegradable. But what does this mean? Let us find out.

Biodegradable substances: It includes substances mainly from plant and animal sources, which can be broken down by living organisms.

Non-biodegradable substances: It includes substances such as plastic, metal, broken glass etc., which cannot be broken down by living organisms.

Micro-organisms in soil break down (or decompose) the organic matter of pot B and co...

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