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Activity 13.6 Class 10 Science

Activity 13.6 from Chapter 13 of the NCERT Class 10 Science textbook focuses on understanding biodegradable and non-biodegradable substances. This activity encourages students to research and explore the environmental impact of different materials, particularly plastics.

Activity Description

Materials Needed

  • Access to a library or internet
  • Notebook for recording findings
  • Pen or pencil


  1. Use the library resources or internet to research biodegradable and non-biodegradable substances.
  2. Investigate the expected lifespan of various non-biodegradable substances in the environment.
  3. Research new types of biodegradable plastics and their environmental impact.
  4. Record your findings in your notebook.


Students should note down the following information:

  • Definitions of biodegradable and non-biodegradable substances
  • Examples of both types of substances
  • Estimated lifespan of common non-biodegradable materials
  • Information on new biodegradable plastics and their environmental effects


Biodegradable substances are materials that can be broken down by biological processes, typically involving microorganisms. These substances are naturally decomposed and reintegrated into the environment. On the other hand, non-biodegradable substances resist decomposition and persist in the environment for extended periods.

The decomposition of biodegradable materials can be represented by the general equation:

$\text{Organic Matter} + \text{O}_2 \xrightarrow{\text{Microorganisms}} \text{CO}_2 + \text{H}_2\text{O} + \text{Biomass} + \text{Energy}$


This activity helps students understand the difference between biodegradable and non-biodegradable substances and their impact on the environment. It also encourages critical thinking about new technologies, such as biodegradable plastics, and their potential benefits or drawbacks.

Questions and Answers

  1. Q: What is the main difference between biodegradable and non-biodegradable substances?
    A: Biodegradable substances can be broken down by biological processes, while non-biodegradable substances resist decomposition.
  2. Q: Name three common non-biodegradable substances and estimate their lifespan in the environment.
    A: Plastic bottles (450 years), Styrofoam (500+ years), and Glass (1 million+ years).
  3. Q: How do biodegradable plastics differ from conventional plastics?
    A: Biodegradable plastics are designed to break down more quickly in the environment, often through the action of microorganisms.
  4. Q: What are potential advantages and disadvantages of biodegradable plastics?
    A: Advantages include reduced environmental persistence. Disadvantages may include incomplete degradation or the release of microplastics.
  5. Q: Why is it important to study and understand biodegradability?
    A: Understanding biodegradability helps us make informed choices about materials and their environmental impact, leading to more sustainable practices.

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