ES/HS 200 – Environmental Studies

Course Contents (ES 200)

Module A: Air Pollution

Description: An introduction to understanding air quality management, fundamental processes of meteorology, Gaussian plume model. Air Pollutants – Gaseous and particulate, Criteria pollutants, ambient and source standards, Aerosols: Characterisation of aerosols, size distributions, measurement methods; Transport behaviour: diffusion, sedimentation, inertia; Visibility; principles of particulate control systems.

Goal: To help students understand the key steps in managing air quality

Module B: Water Treatment

Description: Discussion of water quality constituents and introduction to the design and operation of water and wastewater treatment processes.

Goal: To help students develop basic understanding of physical, chemical, and biological phenomena involved in design and operation of water and wastewater treatment facilities.

Module C: Solid Waste Management and Climate Change

Description: First part of the module would cover different aspects of solid and hazardous waste management. Second part would focus on the climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, and how different technologies would reduce the greenhouse gas emissions.

Goal: To help students develop basic understanding of solid and hazardous waste management, and the climate change and its possible causes.

Course Contents (HS 200)

Module A: Sociology/Environmentalism

Description: Environmentalism in sociological tradition, Sustainability, North-South divide, Political economy approaches in environmental studies, Debates over environmental issues

Module B: Economics

Energy economics and financial markets, Market dynamics, Energy derivatives, Energy efficiency, Cluster Lending, Sustainable Development: Concept, Measurement & Strategies, Interaction between Economic Development and the Environment

Module C: Philosophy

Environmental ethics, Deep ecology, Practical ecology, Religion and attitude towards environmental ethics, Ecofeminism and its evolution

Overview

The ES/HS 200 courses are compulsory for every department as per government norms, and are quite easy compared to other courses since they involve no conceptual content. Every detail is present in the slides provided by the instructors (six of them for the two courses combined), and there is no need for any external reference material.

The exams are entirely multiple choice type/short objective type questions, and can be finished easily within the required time limit. Although the content is certainly not very challenging, it is one course(s) where the instructors are pretty lenient with grading schemes, which can boost one’s SPI.

The ES 200 section covers mostly environmental pollution aspects (air, water and solid waste). The content is simple and easy to understand, and there are two assignments to be submitted on the basis of watching three documentaries (two on global warming and one on the Bhopal Gas Tragedy). The number of quizzes depends on the instructors (there were two quizzes in the half-semester during my time), but the final end-semester exam for the course is for 50% of the weightage.

The HS 200 section covers the economics, ethics and sociological aspects of environmental studies. With this being the less interesting one of the two courses, people may find this course difficult, especially since the course slides have to be memorized. There are no quizzes for this half-semester course, and the entire grading is done on the basis of a 50 marks end-semester examination.

Overall, this course can be completed easily with just a little bit of effort.

(Written by Soovadeep Bakshi)

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