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Question

Distinguish between biodegradable and non-biodegradable substances.

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Solution

Biodegradable substances Non-biodegradable substances
These are degraded naturally in an environment by the action of decomposing organisms. These are not degraded by the decomposing organisms.
Bacteria and fungi can bring about their decomposition. These are decomposed by the action of heat, water, pressure etc.
They can be used as manure, compost biofuels after decomposition. They are decomposed at a slower rate and recycling is an expensive task.
They do not accumulate in the environment, so they are not harmful. They accumulate in an environment and tend to become a part of the food chain through biomagnification. They are harmful.
Dead remains of plants and animals, paper, kitchen waste, animal excreta etc. are biodegradable. Plastics, chemicals, e-waste, metals etc. are non-biodegradable.
Their rate of decomposition is comparatively faster. Their rate of decomposition is very slow.

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