We known that human wants are unlimited but the resources to satisfy these wants are limited which, gives rise to the problem of scarcity. Resource is a briad term indicating all the materials that humans use in conducting their economic activities of production, exchange and consumption . Among the various types of resources ,natural resources are the major ones sources that are avaliable for human use . These are the the gifts of nature without which the survival of life is impossible .
The sunlight ,water air, forests,soil,bio-diversity, mineral ores, etc., are the natural resources which are vital for survival . However, with increase in global population to more than 7 billion , it is becoming very difficult to provide even the basic amenities to a large segment of population.
Natural reaources are naturally occuring substances that are considered valuable in their natural form. Thus the soil which grows food, water that supports many of our activities, the tress that give us many services, the air we breathe, the minerals that are raw materials for many products, etc., are all natural resources. Without these, our life would not have been so comfortable.
Natural resources are generally classified as falling into two types:
Some natural resources get replenished as we use them
These resources are called renewable resources.
Nature, through its natural processes, goes on replenishing them. They are also called non-exhaustible resources. Water, land, forests,air, sunlight and heat are some examples.
Some natural resources get depleted as we go on using them. Eventually they are emptied and cannot be created again. These resources are known as exhaustible resources. Minerals like iron ore, copper, gold, manganese ,bauxite etc.,mineral fuels like coal, petroleum, natural gas, Uranium, Thorium etc., resources Which get depleted and cannot be renewed. Nature cannot replenish them through its processes and so they are also known as non-renewable resources.
Resources can also be classified as boitic and abiotic resources. Biotic resources are those that are derived from living organisms and abiotic resources are those that are derived from non-living components of the nature. While plants and animals are biotic resources; water, soil,minerals,etc are abiotic resources.
All our basic needs like food, shelter ,clothes, etc., are met out of various natural resources like air, water,soil,minerals,coal,petroleum, animal, planets etc., but how long these precious materials of the nature will be avaliable for our use? The growing population, rapid industrialisation and urbanisation have created heavy demand on all these materials. Especially , in relation to our ever increasing wants, the avaliable resources are severely scarce. While the non-renewable resources are avaliable in fixed quantity, renewable resources are likely to be exploited beyond their regeneration rates. The main factors of increasing scarcity are:
Expanding urban areas
Water pollution and land degradation.