If you are preparing for a role as Environmentalist, then you will find these interview question and answers helpful for your next job interview.

Q.1 Name some of the causes of Environmental Change.
1. Exospheric Effects: The exosphere is the first source of environmental change since the interactions between the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, pedosphere, and troposphere produce environmental cycles, trends, and steady states. 2. Cosmic Effects: The sun is the most important source of the power of the exosphere. Steady-state changes about periodic fluctuations are promoted by solar influences. A number of exospheric processes are adjusted to solar cycles. Also, some exospheric processes are attuned to various astronomical pulses, such as orbital changes in the sun and the planets and the solar system’s passage around the galaxy. 3. Geological Effects: Cycles, steady states, and trends in the exosphere are also produced by geological forces. However, the core and mantle processes act through the agency of the lithosphere. The mechanism of plate-tectonics influences sea-level change, volcanic and mountain building activities, continental drift, and true polar wander.
Q.2 What is Ecology?
Ecology refers to the study of relationships between living organisms and the environments in which they live in the science of Ecology.
Q.3 Describe the types of Ecology?
Scientists have classified ecology into: Firstly, Autecology, which involves the study of one species of organism. Secondly, Synecology, which is the study of communities or entire ecosystems. Thirdly, Habitat ecology, which is the ecological study of various habitats on earth and their effects on the organisms living there. Then, Community ecology, which is the study of the local distribution of animals in different habitats, the recognition and composition of community units, and succession. After that, Applied ecology, which is the application of ecological concepts to human needs and requirements like forest conservation, animal husbandry, agriculture, wildlife management, etc. Lastly, Systems ecology, which is a relatively modern branch of ecology, deals with the analysis and understanding of the function and structure of ecosystems.
Q.4 What do you understand about the term Ecosystem?
An ecosystem can be considered as any unit that included within it all the organisms of a given area interacting with the physical environment so that a flow of energy results in a clearly defined trophic structure, biotic diversity, and material cycles.
Q.5 Name the gases present in the atmosphere.
Oxygen (O2) Nitrogen (N2) Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Ozone (O3)
Q.6 Define the term ozone.
Ozone is the triatomic form of oxygen which is the most efficient absorber of the burning ultra-violet radiation from the sun. The ozonosphere protects us from the effects of excessive quantities of UV rays. The composition of the atmosphere differs with height, latitude and time.
Q.7 What is Waste Management?
This can be defined as the collection, transport, processing, recycling, or disposal of waste materials, usually ones produced by human activity, in an effort to reduce their effect on human health or local aesthetics or amenity. However, waste management can involve solid, liquid or gaseous substances with different methods and fields of expertise for each. Further, the waste management practices vary for developed and developing nations, for urban and rural areas, and for residential, industrial, and commercial producers. That is to say, waste management for non-hazardous residential and institutional waste in metropolitan areas is usually the responsibility of local government authorities, while management for non-hazardous commercial and industrial waste is usually the responsibility of the generator.
Q.8 Explain the waste hierarchy.
The waste hierarchy can be defined as: Reduce Reuse Recycle This classifies waste management strategies according to their desirability. However, the waste hierarchy has taken many forms over the past decade, but the basic concept has remained the cornerstone of most waste minimization strategies. The focus of the waste hierarchy is to extract the maximum practical benefits from products and to generate the minimum amount of waste.
Q.9 What is the transportation of waste?
This can be defined as the movement of waste across a specific area by trains, tankers, trucks, barges, or other vehicles. The types of wastes that may be transported range from municipal garbage to radioactive or hazardous wastes.
Q.10 What is Biomedical waste?
This can be referred to as any kind of waste containing infectious materials like the waste associated with the generation of biomedical waste that visually appears to be of medical or laboratory origin as well as research laboratory waste containing biomolecules or organisms that are mainly restricted from environmental release. However, the biomedical waste may be solid or liquid. For example, discarded blood, sharps, unwanted microbiological cultures and stocks, identifiable body parts (including those as a result of amputation), other human or animal tissue, used bandages and dressings, discarded gloves, other medical supplies that may have been in contact with blood and body fluids.
Q.11 Define Hazardous waste.
Hazardous wastes can be defined as the waste containing toxic substances generated from industrial, hospital, some types of household wastes. These wastes could be corrosive, inflammable, explosive, or react when exposed to other materials. Some hazardous wastes are highly toxic to the environment including humans, animals, and plants.
Q.12 What are Radioactive wastes?
Radioactive wastes are created from the use of radioactivity, in many but not all cases. They can be defined as the material that contains or is contaminated with radionuclides at concentrations or activities greater than clearance levels as established by regulatory authorities. The higher the concentration of radionuclides above the established levels, the greater the hazard the waste possesses. The hazard of radioactive waste also depends on the nature of the radionuclides, and, at the same concentration, different radionuclides have different levels of hazard.
Q.13 Share your views on the Stockholm conference.
The 1972 United Nations Conference on the Environment in Stockholm was the first world conference for making the environment a major issue. The participants adopted a series of principles for sound management of the environment including the Stockholm Declaration and Action Plan for the Human Environment and several resolutions. And, the Stockholm Declaration, which contained 26 principles, placed environmental issues at the forefront of international concerns and marked the start of a dialogue between industrialized and developing countries on the link between economic growth, the pollution of the air, water, and oceans, and the well-being of people around the world.
Q.14 What was the main action plan in the Stockholm conference?
The Action Plan contained three main categories: Firstly, Global Environmental Assessment Program Secondly, Environmental management activities Lastly, International measures to support assessment and management activities are carried out at the national and international levels. However, one of the major results of the Stockholm conference was the creation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Q.15 What do you understand by Earth Summit?
Earth Summit was built as a response for member states for cooperating together internationally on development issues after the Cold War. Due to issues relating to sustainability being too big for individual member states to handle, Earth Summit was held as a platform for other member states to collaborate. Since its creation, many others in the field of sustainability show a similar development to the issues discussed in these conferences, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Q.16 Define environmental auditing.
Environmental auditing is essentially an environmental management tool for measuring the effects of certain activities on the environment against set criteria or standards. Based on the types of standards and the aim of the audit, there are different types of environmental audits. Organizations of all kinds now recognize the importance of environmental matters and accept that their environmental performance will be studied by a wide range of interested parties. Environmental auditing is used for investigating understanding identifying
Q.17 Define Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
This refers to a process of assessing the likely environmental impacts of a proposed project or development, taking into account inter-related socio-economic, cultural, and human-health impacts, both beneficial and adverse. Further, UNEP defines Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as a tool used for identifying the environmental, social, and economic impacts of a project prior to decision-making. It aims to predict environmental impacts at an early stage in project planning and design, find ways and means to reduce adverse impacts, shape projects to suit the local environment and present the predictions and options to decision-makers.
Q.18 Name some of the methods of EIA.
The important methods for examining the impacts of any developmental activity on the environment: Adhoc method Checklist method Matrix method Network method Overlay method Environmental index using factor analysis Cost/Benefit analysis Predictive or Simulation methods
Q.19 What is Environmental Management Systems (EMS)?
An Environmental Management System (EMS) can be defined as a set of processes and practices that allow an organization to lower its environmental impacts and increase its operating efficiency. This provides information and resources related to an EMS for small businesses and private industry, as well as local, state, and federal agencies.
Q.20 Explain the EMS Model.
An EMS follows a Plan-Do-Check-Act, or PDCA, Cycle. That defines the process of first developing an environmental policy, planning the EMS, and then implementing it. The process also includes checking the system and acting on it. The model is continuous because an EMS is a process of continual improvement in which an organization is constantly reviewing and revising the system. Further, the model can be used by a wide range of organizations like manufacturing facilities, service industries, and government agencies.
Q.21 What do you understand about ISO 14001?
This sets out the criteria for an environmental management system and can be certified. Moreover, it plans out a framework that a company or organization can follow to set up an effective environmental management system. Further, it can provide assurance to company management and employees as well as external stakeholders that environmental impact is being measured and improved.
Q.22 What are Environmental ethics?
This can be considered as a branch of applied philosophy that studies the conceptual foundations of environmental values as well as more concrete issues surrounding societal attitudes, actions, and policies for protecting and sustaining biodiversity and ecological systems. Further, there are many different environmental ethics one could hold, running the gamut from human-centered views to more nature-centered perspectives.
Q.23 What does carbon management identify for an organization?
Areas for reduction in emissions and potential energy efficiency projects.
Q.24 What's the harmful effect of POPs on humans
Endocrine disruption and Gene mutation
Q.25 What is the first step in ISO 14000 certification process
Creating an EMS
Q.26 Which act makes EIA clearance mandatory for big projects undertaken by the Government or public sector undertakings?
Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986
Q.27 What does the waste handling and transport system of Envac, uses?
They use underground conduits with a vacuum system.
Q.28 What is the crucial feature of EMS?
1. A systematic way of managing an organization’s environmental affairs
2. A tool, or process, to improve environmental performance and information
3. Order and consistency for organizations to address environmental concerns
Q.29 What are the features that are considered important to maintain the physical environment that we exist in?
This is purely an open-ended question that permits the interviewer to have an insight into the philosophical position on environmental issues. You are required to give a balanced diplomatic answer and only express marginal beliefs only if you can back them up with some suitable real-time illustrations. Also if you state an issue currently in the news to reinforce your answer it will do in your favour.
Q.30 What do you understand about environment management?
Environmental management refers to a system that integrates processes for summarizing, monitoring, reporting, developing, and executing environmental policies. The main focus of encouraging an environmental management system is to ensure the healthy state of our planet for future generations. This also operates towards maintaining all forms of life.
Q.31 Why do you want to work in the environmental sector?
You should consider this as a good opportunity to get across to the employer and convince him that you are motivated to work. One of the best approach would be to say that you find environmental issues interesting and this is the reason you want to pursue employment in this sector. In case there is a particular issue you are concerned with, or hold expertise, be sure to highlight this. Also ensure you are up to date with environmental issues in the news.
Q.32 Define Sustainable development.
Sustainable development can be defined as an organizing principle for meeting human development goals while simultaneously sustaining the ability of natural systems for providing the natural resources and ecosystem services on which the economy and society depend. Further, there are sustainability goals like the current UN-level Sustainable Development Goals, that address the global challenges, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace, and justice.
Q.33 According to you, what is the most pressing environmental issue currently?
This type of question may appear to be a right or wrong answer but does not fall in this category. The question give you the opportunity to discuss your beliefs and what you consider as the most pressing issue in the environmental sector. It really does not matter what you discuss or consider as long as you have a viable justification for your choice. Some of the issues you may wish to discuss could include global warming, energy resources, deforestation, desertification or declining bio-diversity.
Q.34 Define Pollution Control.
Pollution control is used in environmental management that is the control of release and effluents into air, water, or soil.
Q.35 What do you like about being an environmentalist?
Clearly the intention of the interviewer is to understand what you enjoy most about being an environmental scientist. This factor is likely to motivate you on the toughest of day and move forward. Sample Answer - It is very important for me to be on top of environmentally related issues and finding solutions for them, as it is very exciting to be a part of the process. Also the ever-changing landscape of the environment is extremely fast-paced and helps to keep me engaged and motivated on a daily basis.
Q.36 Describe the main cause of Pollution.
The main cause can be the burning of coal which leads to air pollution because the smoke coming from factories, chimneys, wood-burning, and vehicles releases sulphur dioxide into the air. Another cause can be the disposal of industrial waste in the ocean.
Q.37 What do you consider as the most challenging part of supervising as an environmentalist?
As an environmental scientist you may face difficulties with the other employees. There could be interpersonal conflicts on a team or having employees with adverse attitudes towards approaching a given issue. You are suggested to demonstrate the interviewer that you are capable of handling challenging leadership situations. In case you do not have experience in a leadership role, then site examples you have had in the past from a great supervisor. State that you would like to emulate that person's leadership style. Sample Answer - One of the most challenging part as environmentalist with reference to supervising is to figure out the style of communication works for each person and finding out each persons style of management.
Q.38 Explain the process for controlling Noise Pollution.
Some of the methods can be: Firstly, lowering down the source of the noise. Secondly, the path of transmission of sound must be stopped and the receiver of noise must be safeguarded. Thirdly, the amount of traffic must be reduced near the residential homes, educational institutes, and hospitals. Next, machinery must be redesigned and the vehicles must be properly maintained in a way that the voice must not be passed directly to the receiver and must be diverted upwards. Lastly, the industries must be built away from the residential areas and legal laws must be established and observed to protect humans from noise pollution.
Q.39 What can we do to control Radioactive Pollution?
Radioactive pollution can be controlled by: Firstly, stoppage of leakage from the radioactive materials including the nuclear reactors, industries, and laboratories. Secondly, the disposal of radioactive material must be done in a secure way. Thirdly, the wastes with very low radiation must be put into the sewage. Lastly, nuclear power plants must follow all the safety instructions.
Q.40 What do you understand by salinization of soil?
Salination is the process of increase in the concentration of salts in soil that are soluble. This depends on factors like the poor drainage of soil leads to the accumulation of salts on the surface of the soil. And, the irrigation water is rich in soluble salts which results in the movement of the salts from the lower to upper layers by the capillary action.
Q.41 What are the methods for controlling soil pollution?
There are many factors for controlling soil pollution. Firstly, there must be limited use of fertilizers and pesticides. Secondly, there must be the implementation of the biological control method. Thirdly, afforestation and reforestation must be done. Next, there must be the use of windbreaks and shields in the areas of wind erosion. Then, the industrial wastes must be dumped in the low-lying areas. Lastly, there should be an improvement in the mining ways along with their transportation.
Q.42 Explain the factor using which we control water Pollution?
Water pollution can be controlled in many ways. Firstly, the pollutants must be treated chemically and must be transformed into nontoxic substances. Secondly, the shallow ponds must be used for storing domestic and industrial wastes. Thirdly, the retrieved polluted water can be used in making fertilizers as it is rich in phosphorous, potassium, and nitrogen. Next, there must be a law that ensures that the industries must treat the waste before the water is discharged into the rivers and seas.
Q.43 What can we do to control Air Pollution?
Firstly, there should always be a distance between the industrial and residential areas. Secondly, the chimneys must be tall in size so that the emissions must be released higher up in the environment. Thirdly The ash production must be reduced by the high-temperature incinerators. Then, the railway track must be electrified. Next, the mining area must be rich in trees. Lastly, gas fuel must be used instead of coal fuel and the waste must be removed and recycled in the industrial plants and refineries.
Q.44 Define pollutants.
A pollutant refers to a waste material that pollutes air, water, or soil. Three factors determine the severity of a pollutant: its chemical nature, concentration, and persistence.
Q.45 What do you understand by Industrial Pollution?
Industrial pollution is the contamination of the environment by businesses, particularly plants and factories, that dump waste products into the air and water. However, this is one of the largest contributors to the global pollution problem endangering people and the environment.
Q.46 Explain the main constituents of Earth.
The main constituents of the earth can be considered in four groups: Firstly, the lithosphere, which is the outer skin of the earth created from rocks and minerals. Secondly, the atmosphere, which is the gas envelope around the earth. Then the hydrosphere, which is the liquid area of the earth, including the water present in oceans, seas, rivers and lakes, and in rocks. Lastly, the biosphere, which is the world of living organisms that reside on land, in water, and in the air that we breathe.
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