Soil Pollution: Every year, the world on 5 December celebrates World Soil Day to raise awareness about the growing challenges in soil management and soil biodiversity loss, and to uplift governments, communities and individuals around the world to promise to improve soil health. Soil Pollution has been a major concern for the past few decades. Soil pollution( also called Soil contamination) is defined as the presence of toxic chemicals (pollutants or contaminants) in soil, in such high enough concentrations that it poses a risk to human health or to the ecosystem.
The soil is the mixture of organic substances, minerals, gases, and organisms that support life. This organic mixture contains compounds that are harmful to human beings and other living organisms. However, the concentration level of such substances in the soil is so low that they do not pose any serious threat to the surroundings but when the concentration of such toxic substances crosses its saturation level it starts to damage living organisms, and then the soil is said to be contaminated.
Soil Pollutants are such physical, chemical and biological agents that if present in such concentration in the soil that tends to damage the quality of the soil. Such pollutants can be industrial waste, urban waste, contaminants produced by agricultural practices, and Radioactive pollutants. Here Is the list of soil pollutants that contaminates the soil.
|Industrial waste||The products that are manufactured and produced in industries, factories, mills, etc are then dumped into the soil to produce harmful effects on the microorganism which are responsible for biological degradation.|
|Urban waste||Urban waste consists of garbage and rubbish materials which are dried sludge and sewage from domestic and commercial waste that have harmful effects on the texture of the soil if present beyond saturation level.|
|Radioactive Pollutants||Radioactive substances such as Radium, Thorium, Uranium, Polonium, etc. can penetrate through the soil and create toxic effects.|
|Biological Agents||Biological agents work inside the soil to introduce manures and digested sludge (coming from human, bird, animal excreta and other sources) into the soil.|
|Agricultural Wastes||The soil of the crops is polluted to a large extent by the use of high concentrations of pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, slurry, debris, insecticides, and weedicides which inturn contaminate the soil.|
Causes of Soil Pollution
Soil pollution is caused by the presence of anthropogenic chemicals or other alterations in the natural soil environment. This type of contamination is caused by various causes which are listed below:
Indiscriminate use of fertilizers: Soil Nutrients are essential for overall development of Plants. Plants obtain Carbon, hydrogen and oxygen from the surrounding. But other essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur and more are also necessary for plants' growth and development. Farmers generally use fertilizers to cure soil deficiencies. But the overuse of NPK fertilizers reduces the quality as well as the quantity of vegetables and crops grown on soil over the years. Further, It also affects the protein content of different crops grown on that soil.
Indiscriminate use of pesticides, insecticides and herbicides: Plants upon which we depend for our basic necessities are affected by the insect, fungi, weeds, bacteria and viruses. So to get rid of such microbes farmers use pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides. Over the years using such chemicals has made insects resistant. and also chemicals used have lowered their ability to decompose and hence this has reduced the fertility of the soil.
Dumping of solid wastes: Solid waste such as garbage, domestic refuse and discarded solid materials from commercial, industrial and agricultural operations. This solid waste disturbs the composition of the soil resulting in lowering the fertility of the soil.
Effects of Soil Pollution
The effects of Soil Pollution are:
|Effects of Soil Pollution on Human being||Headache, nausea, and vomiting, coughing, pain in the chest, and wheezing. Irritation of the skin and the eyes, Fatigue and weakness, Depression of the CNS (Central Nervous System), Damage to vital organs such as the kidney and the liver, Higher risk of developing cancer.|
|Effects of Soil Pollution on Plants and Animals||Reducing the fertility of the soil directly has an impact on humans as well as plants.|
|Effects of Soil Pollution on the Ecosystem||Acid rain, Soil erosion, affects the food chain, and alter the capacity to filter the soil.|
Control Measures to Reduce Soil Pollution
Some of the measures to control to reduce soil Pollution are-
- Reducing chemical fertilizer and pesticide use
- Reusing of materials
- Recycling and recovery of materials
- Solid waste treatment