Pollutants or contaminants present in soil at such high concentrations that they endanger human health as well as the ecosystem are referred to as soil pollutants. Or, to put it another way, soil pollution is the degradation of the natural soil as a result of human activity. Soil pollution illnesses, such as leukaemia, can be exacerbated by exposure to high amounts of benzene in the soil.

Compounds that are toxic to humans and other organisms are found in all soils. In unpolluted soil, the quantity of such compounds is so low that they offer no danger to the surrounding environment, however when the quantity of such poisonous substances gets large enough to cause harm to living beings, the soil is said to as contaminated.

Human activities or natural processes both have the potential to contaminate soil. Human activity, on the other hand, is primarily to blame. There are various factors that can lead to soil depletion, including the abuse of pesticides and the existence of excess chemicals, which can lead to an increase in acidity or alkalinity.

Soil Pollution Categories

Pesticides and insecticides used in agriculture contribute to soil degradation.

Soil pollution due to chemical discharges from mines and factories producing and assembling products.

Soil pollution caused by solid waste/poor waste management/inefficient waste disposal.

Land degradation as a result of human activity in cities, etc.

Causes of Soil Pollution

Pollution from the workplace

Soil pollution can come from industrial waste being dumped into the ground. Soil degradation is escalating in tandem with rising mining and manufacturing activity in India. Taking minerals from of the earth has a negative impact on the fertility of soil. Waste products from mining iron ore and coal are both contaminated and disposed of in an unsafe manner. This results in a long-term accumulation of industrial waste that renders the soil unsuitable for future use.

Activities related to farming

Pesticides and insecticides used for a lengthy period can pollute the soil. Insects and pests can develop resistance to pesticides after repeated exposure. To the contrary, it damages soil quality rather than eradicating pests and invertebrates They contain substances that aren’t found in nature and can’t be broken by our bodies. Soil fertility is gradually depleted when minerals seep into ground when they are mixed with water. Most of these pesticides are absorbed by plants and then pollute the soil as they decompose.

Getting Rid of the Junk

Due to the presence of toxic substances, the disposal of electrical devices such as batteries has a negative impact on soil quality when plastics as well as other solid debris are thrown away. Lithium, for example, is known to seep from batteries and contaminate nearby soil. Waste such as human faeces and diapers is dumped into the ground without proper disposal. It pollutes the land as well as the water.

Toxic Smog

Pollutants in the air combine with rain and return to the ground, resulting in acid rain. Soil may become unfit for agriculture if dirty water dissolves away critical nutrients and alters the soil’s structure.

Metallica and other heavy metal

Heavy metals (including such lead and mercury) can become extremely harmful to humans if they are found in soil at high amounts.

Nuclear waste

Soil deterioration is another possibility.

Oil spills are a common occurrence

Chemochemicals present in gasoline can cause oil leaks, which degrade soil quality and render it unusable for future agriculture. Chemicals can also infiltrate groundwater thru the soil, making it unsafe to drink.

Pollution of the Soil

All living things are affected by polluted soil. On contaminated soil, crops and vegetation absorb hazardous substances from it, reducing agricultural output. Those who eat these foods or plants may be exposed to harmful substances.

Consumption of the these crops for a long period of time may result in chronic ailments that cannot be cured. It is always a good idea to do a soil quality test before allowing children to play in an industrialised region.

Soil Pollution and Human Health Consequences

Human health suffers greatly as a result of soil contamination. Polluted soil absorbs most of the pollution, which is subsequently passed on to humans via crops and plants growing on it. Contaminated soil can cause respiratory and skin ailments, as well as other health issues when walked on or played in. Irritation of the skin and eyes, Headaches, nausea, vomiting, Coughing, tightness in the chest, and wheezing are all symptoms of soil pollution.

The Effects on Plants

Plants can’t adjust to the soil’s new chemistry in a short amount of time. Soil-binding fungi and bacteria begin to disappear, resulting in an increase in soil erosion. In the long run, the use of chemical fertilisers, herbicides, and inorganic fertilisers will deplete the soil’s fertility and change its structure. Poor crop quality will result from a decline in the quality of the soil. Soil fertility gradually decreases, rendering the area unusable for agriculture and the survival of any local vegetation.

Ecological consequences of climate change

Microorganisms, birds, or insects all use the soil as a habitat. Changes in the soil chemistry can have a deleterious impact on living creatures, and the eventual death of several organisms can be the outcome.

Solutions to Pollution of the Soil

Soil pollution is just a multifaceted problem that requires comprehensive solutions. We must all be aware of the critical role soil plays in our well-being. The easier it is to deal with soil pollution if we notice it sooner rather than later. Everyone, from individuals to a government, must contribute to solving this difficult situation. The following are a few ideas for minimising soil pollution.

Chemical Fertilizers Are Being Used Less

There is more harm than good in using chemical fertilisers. The soil can benefit from the appropriate amount, but if you add too much, it could poison the soil. Chemical fertilisers can affect the soil in either a number of ways if they are used in excessive amounts. It has the power to alter the pH levels of the soil.

Promotion of reforestation and afforestation is necessary

A major source of soil pollution is deforestation-induced soil erosion. This is only logical that humans needs more and more space to expand their civilisation as the population grows. Soil health is frequently sacrificed in order to achieve this goal. To avoid this from occurring, reforestation should be encouraged in areas that have been cleared.

Product Reuse and Recycling

Soil pollution is reduced as a result of these actions as well as waste generation reductions. Plastic currently accounts for a sizable chunk of the waste stream. The vast bulk of this material is sent to landfills where it will decompose.

Promote the use of natural manure

Natural manure is among the greatest sources of nutrients again for soil. It’s completely safe and natural. Improves the overall health of the soil by restoring its essential nutrients. Toxic byproducts are not produced by this method.

The natural ecosystem would be incomplete without soil. Although water pollution have received the most attention in the past, soil pollution prevention and control are just as vital. Due to its diversity of life and importance in plant dispersal, soil has the potential to have a significant impact both air and water quality.

In addition, the soil serves as both a source as well as a repository for gases. Additionally, it has an effect on the exchange of chemical compounds and liquid water between the planet’s surface and the atmosphere. Because of human activities like pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides, the quality of soil has declined over time. Other factors, such as industrial and urban activity, contribute to soil pollution.

Improper industrial waste disposal, household drainage problems, and trash disposal issues all contribute to soil contamination. When soil is contaminated, plants & microorganisms may have difficulty adjusting to the new chemical characteristics of the soil, which can have a negative impact on the ecological system. Soil pollution can be prevented and controlled in ten different ways.

Understanding The Soil Environment’s Quality Baseline Is The First Step

To prevent and control soil erosion, all stakeholders must be aware of the soil environment’s baseline quality, which can be accomplished by conducting soil pollution sensitizations and surveys. Technical requirements for such survey should be developed, including the regularity of the survey, in order to ensure that the results will be consistent.

Another option is to set up soil environmental quality surveillance networks in order to increase the frequency of monitoring. It is also required to improve the administration of soil environmental data in order to enable a broader and more dynamic update of the information. Making data sharing more robust would assist ensure that when the need comes, answers can be found quickly.

Ensure That Soil Pollution Control Legislation Is In Place

Soil pollution control is being worked on, however legislation should be drafted sooner rather than later to expedite the process. It is necessary to review and update existing registrations to reflect current soil pollution prevention and control strategies, including such urban and rural planning, agriculture, and land management.

There should be an overhaul of regulations on pesticide use, toxic areas, and agriculture soil management. It is also essential that soil pollution management requirements are continually improved.

Organic farming and land management are two of the most important aspects of sustainable agriculture.

Soil pollution can be prevented and controlled if land is not properly utilised. Because of the depletion of organic matter, topsoil, nutrients, and the soil’s ability to retain moisture, pollution of agricultural land typically results in decreased fertility. In farmland management, mechanical and biological soil conservation strategies are ideal.

Forestry and crop soil management are also included in the biological method. Organic composts and agricultural wastes are among the crop-related control strategies that can be employed. Keeping soil from being eroded is an important function of forests.

Increasing soil fertility or formation can be achieved by establishing forests in previously unforested areas. Reforestation is recommended in places with high levels of pollution or degradation of the land’s surface. Contour holding systems, gully management, and building bunds are all examples of mechanical soil pollution control. Bunds can be built across steep slopes to help prevent erosion.

Treatment Of Solid Waste In The Correct Manner

Solid waste must be properly disposed of before it can harm the environment. As an example, the neutralisation of acidic or alkaline waste can prevent soil pollution. Before releasing biodegradable garbage into the environment, it should be reduced down in a safe atmosphere. Sewage sludge treatment is a good illustration of this.

The level of contamination should also be considered while classifying the garbage. Mildly polluted materials must be treated in controlled situations before being released into the natural environment, whereas substantially contaminated materials should be subjected to strict management, treatment, or control.

Scientists and politicians around the world agree on the importance of healthy soils for human health, which is why Sdg Goal 3 calls for a healthy environment for all people (UN, 2017). At this time, there is no way to accurately analyse the criteria and or the goal 3.9, “By 2030 reduce the death rate and illnesses caused by harmful chemical pollution in air, water, and soil,” because there is no way to measure soil pollution.

The difficulty in establishing a link between soil contamination and adverse health effects necessitates the absence of an indicator. The link between soil contamination and disease is complex and depends on a number of different factors, including:

Humans are exposed to a variety of pollutants at different times and concentrations throughout their lives. Throughout our lives, we are exposed to a wide variety of contaminant mixes, some of which may have beneficial, some of which may be harmful, and some of which may be neutral.

Inhalation, ingestion, or dermal absorption are three of the most common methods of exposure, and they typically occur simultaneously.

As a source of exposure, soil pollutants can enter the human body through any of the following media: soil, dust, air, water, or food. All of the above can happen at the same time or separately.

persons with pre-existing illnesses and the most vulnerable members of society such as newborns and children are more vulnerable than healthy adults. Because of their eating culture, socioeconomic position, & proximity to pollution sources, geophagists are at a higher risk of exposure.

Recent scientific research shows that soil contamination has negative effects on human health and main exposure routes, and the need for increased surveillance of health hazards includes developing harmonised and accurate indicators of soil pollution.

It is estimated that just 49 countries get an entity with a mandate that collect health data that is impacted by the environment, but often the acquired data is not made available to the general public. An environmental disease burden indicator has been established by the World Health Organization (WHO) as part of a Global Health Observatory, which includes only those diseases and deaths caused by air, soil, as well as water pollution to chemicals and hazardous agents; ultraviolet and ionising radiation; built environments; noise as well as electromagnetic fields (WHO, 2020a). However, soil contaminants can enter the human body through the consumption of hazardous food, which is a common occurrence. Even though parasite-infested foods are included in the WHO indicator listed above, food polluted with high amounts of inorganic pollutants is not.

The most recent worldwide statistics is from 2012, however it shows that environmental causes were responsible for approximately 23% of global mortality (12.6 billion deaths), with the percentage rising to 28% for children under the age of four.