Soil Pollution Definition Causes Effects And Prevention Pdf
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- What Is Soil Pollution?
- SOIL POLLUTION
- Soil Contamination, Risk Assessment and Remediation
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When many of us think of pollution, images of smoggy cities and litter-infested oceans come to mind. While littering and gasoline-fueled cars are a major contributor to pollution, there are many other influences that are important to be aware of. Essentially, pollution occurs when substances are introduced to the environment that have harmful effects, damaging the quality of land, water, and air. The cause is the accumulation of solid and liquid waste materials that contaminate groundwater and soil.
What Is Soil Pollution?
What on earth is not polluted? How far this is going to bother us and our coming generations? We need to be prepared when the coming generations point their fingers to us for contaminating the earth so badly. Even the soil, the richest form of earth is polluted, how?
Let us look in to what is soil pollution, its causes , types , prevention and effects. Soil pollution is the addition of chemicals to the soil in quantities that are toxic to the environment and its residents. This addition is mostly by human activities such as mining, modern practices in agriculture, deforestation, indiscriminate dumping of human generated trash and unregulated disposal of untreated wastes of various industries.
Pollution by agricultural practises has come up ever since the demand for food has increased, proportional to the increase in population. To increase the yield of farms and fields the farmers have had to resort to additional chemical fertilizers, pesticides, weedicides, hormonal treatments for the animals, nutrient laden feed and many such practices which changed the way farming was done traditionally. Soil pollution does not stand alone. It mostly is accompanied by the water pollution and air pollution.
These are mostly nitrogen and phosphorus based chemicals like ammonia and nitrates that are most often than not, used in larger than required quantities and tend to accumulate in the soil. Pesticides and insecticides like organochlorines, organophosphates and carbonates are used regularly.
These also contaminate the ground not only in the fields, but also in the places of manufacture, storage and disposal. They also tend to bio accumulate i. Some pesticides also are absorbed naturally by the plants themselves and stored their different parts. Cadmium, fluoride, radioactive elements like uranium are regularly found in the parent minerals from which the fertilisers are obtained. Dangerous metals such as Mercury, Lead, Arsenic, Chromium, and Nickel are seen in traces in Zinc rich wastes from the steel industries which are used as fertilizers.
These are often not removed from the because of the high cost involved. Overturning, digging or stirring leads to release of greenhouse gases produced in the ground such as nitrous oxide. Loss of soil material due to poor management causes soil to become infertile.
Soil erosion is followed by deforestation, storm water runoff, overgrazing and excess of agriculture practices, constructions, mining. The soil sediments settling elsewhere on land or in water cause differences to occur in the environments there.
In water it causes murkiness reducing visibility for fish and other animals sourcing their food. It leads to reduced penetration of sunlight and affects the process of photosynthesis causing reduction in oxygen levels of the water. Heavy pollutants and nutrients are bound to the sediment particles and carried into the water contaminating it.
Faster rate of soil erosion changes the topography of a place. The disposal of manure and other associated waste material from animal farms are also a reason for soil pollution. They cause pollution of the air as well as the water. The large amounts of manure created, carry pathogens that are harmful for humans too. Human generated sewage is a major cause for soil pollution. At the same time waste products such as plastics, glass, metals, Batteries, paper, fibres and rubber etc.
Much of the trash can be recycled such as paper, metal and glass, etc. Leaching of toxic materials occur at landfills. The more dangerous substances found in landfills are oils, battery metals, heavy metals from smelting industries and organic solvents. Air pollutants, sulphur dioxides, nitrous oxide and others combine with rain water, form acids and reach the soil.
This is called acid rain. It reduces the pH of the soil ie it makes it acidic. It changes the nutrient content of the soil. When chemicals accumulate in the soil, depending on its water solubility and soil structure it percolates through reaching the ground water, causing its contamination.
This also depends on the rainfall. For example after applying pesticides on crops in sandy areas, if excessive irrigation is done , the pesticide chemicals leach into ground. Leaching occurs not only in the fields, but also at the manufacturing, mixing and disposal sites. Only a fraction of fertilisers and other chemical additives are utilised on the fields. The major bulk mixes in the runoff water and flows into the nearby watercourses. This is mainly in the form of nitrates and phosphates.
Many times the ground becomes barren and cannot support any flora or fauna on it. Use of excessive fertilizer progressively reduces the nutrient content of the foods such as proteins and vitamins in grains and vegetables. Since soil pollution is not a lone standing entity, its effects are carried over as water pollution and air pollution. It affects every aspect of the environment and every organism from the earthworm to humans.
Some of the adverse effects are as follows:. Since we are dependent on the land for our food, pollution from the soil is transferred to us in this manner. Bio accumulation of toxins occurs in our bodies, causing chronic poisoning, and leading to various diseases.
Reproductive health, birth and developmental defects, neurologic effects, malnutrition, and mutations in the cells of the body leading to cancers; all these are on the increase today. Plants will not be able to adapt to sudden changes occurring in the soil. Fungi and bacteria found in the soils cannot bind the soil due to chemical changes and this causes soil erosion. Large tracts of land become barren; unable to support any life on it.
Even the plants that do grow on these lands will absorb the toxins and transfer to the food chain. Toxic dust rises from landfills along with foul odour, pollutes the air and causes adverse effects to the people who live near them. Since every living being is dependent on the land for their nourishment, everyone is affected. As soil pollution continues unabated, malnourishment is a very real occurrence. The irony of high yield of crops versus decreased nutritional content in them is lost on many, who are in a position to bring about changes.
Soil pollution also causes heavy economic losses. Medical expenses, rising costs of dwindling stocks of food, famines are all realities that have to be faced. Much research and technological advances are helping to control soil pollution. Farmers are opting for more traditional organic methods of farming to reverse the damage caused to the lands. Hardier indigenous plants are now being grown again in the place of the hybrid ones.
The consumerist in us must reduce and the conservationist must increase. Toggle navigation Natural Energy Hub. Related posts: What is Agricultural Pollution? Its causes and effects What is Industrial Pollution?
We tend to look skywards when talking about pollution, but this problem is not confined to our skies. The soil in which our fruit and vegetables grow is also suffering its consequences, the effects of which getting to us directly, for instance, through the aforementioned foodstuffs. The time has come to look after what lies under our feet! Soil pollution is mostly caused by chemical substances produced by human activity. The soil is the skin of the earth, a mantle full of scars, thousand-year-old wrinkles and more recent injuries caused both by man and nature itself. Some of these ulcers are incurable — such as the extinction of species —, whereas others jeopardise health and food security, all of which threaten the well-being of the world's 3. This invisible affliction appears when the concentration of pollutants on the surface becomes so high that it harms land biodiversity and endangers health, particularly through food.
What on earth is not polluted? How far this is going to bother us and our coming generations? We need to be prepared when the coming generations point their fingers to us for contaminating the earth so badly. Even the soil, the richest form of earth is polluted, how? Let us look in to what is soil pollution, its causes , types , prevention and effects.
Soil Contamination, Risk Assessment and Remediation
You were introduced to wastes and pollutants in Study Session 1, where we discussed the interactions between humans and our environment. Pollution was defined as the introduction into the environment of substances liable to cause harm to humans and other living organisms. Many human activities pollute our environment, adversely affecting the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the soil in which we grow food. In this and the next study session we will look more closely at pollution.
Soil contamination refers to the destruction of land that could be used constructively by human activities, either directly or indirectly. Presently, , ha of UK land is thought to be contaminated by toxic elements such as lead and arsenic. The same goes for the other industrialized nations which are the worst hit.
Environmental Risk Assessment of Soil Contamination. Environment pollution is a burning topic of the day. Air, water and soil are being polluted alike. Soil being a "universal sink" bears the greatest burden of environmental pollution.
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Soil contamination or soil pollution as part of land degradation is caused by the presence of xenobiotics human-made chemicals or other alteration in the natural soil environment. It is typically caused by industrial activity, agricultural chemicals or improper disposal of waste. The most common chemicals involved are petroleum hydrocarbons , polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons such as naphthalene and benzo a pyrene , solvents , pesticides, lead , and other heavy metals. Contamination is correlated with the degree of industrialization and intensity of chemical substance. The concern over soil contamination stems primarily from health risks, from direct contact with the contaminated soil, vapours from the contaminants, or from secondary contamination of water supplies within and underlying the soil. In North America and Western Europe the extent of contaminated land is best known, with many of countries in these areas having a legal framework to identify and deal with this environmental problem.
With the rise of concrete buildings and roads, one part of the Earth that we rarely see is the soil. It has many different names, such as dirt, mud, and ground. However, it is definitely very important to us. The plants that feed us grow in soil, and keeping it healthy is essential to maintaining a beautiful planet. However, like all other forms of nature, soil also suffers from pollution. The pollution of soil is a common thing these days, and it happens due to the presence of man-made elements.
Lets have a look at various causes, effects and solutions of soil pollution. However, the road ahead is quite long, and the prevention of soil pollution will take.