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.
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.
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.