What is Soil Pollution?
Soil pollution is defined or can be described as the contamination of soil of a particular region. Soil
pollution mainly is a result of penetration of harmful pesticides and insecticides, which on one hand
serve whatever their main purpose is, but on the other hand bring about deterioration in the soil
quality, thus making it contaminated and unfit for use later. Insecticides and pesticides are not to be
blamed alone for soil pollution, but there are many other leading causes of soil pollution too. Let us
have a look at some of them in the following text.
What Causes Soil Pollution?
Soil pollution is a result of many activities and experiments done by mankind which end up
contaminating the soil. Here are some of the leading soil pollution causes:
Industrial wastes such as harmful gases and chemicals, agricultural pesticides, fertilizers and
insecticides are the most common causes of soil pollution.
Ignorance towards soil management and related systems.
Unfavorable and harmful irrigation practices.
Improper septic system and management and maintenance of the same.
Leakages from sanitary sewage.
Acid rains, when fumes released from industries get mixed with rains.
Fuel leakages from automobiles, that get washed away due to rain and seep into the nearby soil.
Unhealthy waste management techniques, which are characterized by release of sewage into the large
dumping grounds and nearby streams or rivers.
The intensity of all these causes on a local or regional level might appear very small and you may
argue that soil is not harmed by above activities if done on a small scale! However, thinking globally,
it is not your region or my place that will be the only sufferer of soil pollution. In fact, it is the entire
planet and mankind that will encounter serious problems, as these practices are evident almost
everywhere in the world. Want to know what are those problems which can turn more serious in the
What are the Effects of Soil Pollution?
The effects of pollution on soil are quite alarming and can cause huge disturbances in the ecological
balance and health of living creatures on earth. Some of the most serious soil pollution effects are:
Decrease in soil fertility and therefore decrease in the soil yield. How can one expect contaminated soil
to produce healthy crops?
Loss of soil and natural nutrients present in it. Plants also would not thrive in such soil, which would
further result in soil erosion.
Disturbance in the balance of flora and fauna residing in the soil.
Increase in salinity of the soil, which therefore makes it unfit for vegetation, thus making it useless
Generally crops cannot grow and flourish in polluted soil. Yet, if some crops manage to grow, they
would be poisonous enough to cause serious health problems in people consuming them.
Creation of toxic dust is another potential effect of soil pollution.
Foul smell due to industrial chemicals and gases might result in headaches, fatigue, nausea, etc., in
Soil pollutants would bring in alteration in the soil structure, which would lead to death of many
essential organisms in it. This would also affect the larger predators and compel them to move to
other places, once they lose their food supply.
I hope the above discussion was enough to make you understand the severity of the soil pollution
causes and effects. Soil pollution can be cured by transporting the contaminated soil layer to some
remote place, thus making it once again fit for use. Harmful chemicals from the soil can also be
removed by aerating it. These are just 'tentative solutions'. However, let us remember the proverb,
'prevention is better than cure', and follow proper a soil management system, maintain sewage
systems, and avoid the overuse of fertilizers and pesticides in the soil. So let us begin the movement
of soil pollution prevention from our own lands itself!!!
Read more at Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/soil-pollution-causes-and-effects.html
Soil is the mixture of minerals, organic matter, gases, liquids and a myriad of micro- and macroorganisms that can support plant life. It is a natural body that exists as part of the pedosphere and it
performs four important functions: as a medium for plant growth and of water storage, supply and
purification; as a modifier of the atmosphere; and finally as a habitat for organisms that take part in
decomposition and creation of a habitat for other organisms.
Soil is considered the "skin of the earth" with interfaces between
the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. Soil consists of a solid phase (minerals &
organic matter) as well as a porous phase that holds gases and water.
Accordingly, soils are often
treated as a three-statesystem.
Soil is the end product of the influence of the climate, relief (elevation, orientation, and slope of terrain),
biotic activities (organisms), and parent materials (original minerals) acting over periods of time. Soil
continually undergoes development by way of numerous physical, chemical and biological processes,
which include weathering with associated erosion.
Most soils have a density between 1 and 2 g/cm . Little of the soil of planet Earth is older than
the Pleistocene and none is older than theCenozoic, although fossilized soils are preserved from as far
back as the Archean.
Soil science has two main branches of study: Edaphology and Pedology (from Greek: pedon, "soil";
and logos, "study"). Pedology is focused on the formation, morphology, and classification of soils in their
natural environment., whereas Edaphology is concerned with the influence of soils on organisms. In
engineering terms, soil is referred to as regolith, or loose rock material that lies above the 'solid
geology'. Soil is commonly referred to as "earth" or "dirt"; technically, the term "dirt" should be restricted
to displaced soil.
Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment that cause adverse change.
Pollutants, the components of pollution, can be either foreign substances/energies or naturally occurring
contaminants. Pollution is often classed as point source or nonpoint source pollution
SOIL POLLUTION CAUSES
1. Antropogenic – through human activity including:
Accidental spills and leaks during storage, transport or use of chemicals (e.g.,leaks and spills of
gasoline and diesel at gas stations);
Foundry activities and manufacturing processes that involve furnaces or other processes resulting in
possible dispersion of contaminants in environment;
Mining activities involving crushing and processing of raw materials (such as mining activity);
Agricultural activities involving the spread of herbicides/pesticides/insecticides and fertilizers;
Transportation activities (e.g., vehicle emissions)
Dumping of chemicals (accidental or intended – such as illegal dumping);
Storage of wastes in landfills (which may leak to groundwater or generate polluted vapors)
iCracked paint chips falling from building walls, especially lead-based paint;
Natural accumulation of compounds in soil due to imbalances between atmospheric deposition and
leaching away with precipitation water (e.g., concentration and accumulation of perchlorate in soils in arid
Natural production in soil under certain environmental conditions (e.g., natural formation of perchlorate
in soil in the presence of a chlorine source, metallic object and using the energy generated by a
Leaks from sewer lines into subsurface (e.g., adding chlorine which could generate trihalometanes such
What is Soil Pollution?
The soil pollution is defined as the presence of materials in the soil which are harmful to the living
beings when they cross their threshold concentration levels. In this case the factors or substances
which affect the soil are not static. It can be positive or negative. In the negative soil pollution there
occur an overuse of soil and erosion. The erosion occurs by water and air. The water erosion occurs
by the high speed rivers which remove the top layer of soil. It occurs near the hills. The floods are
very common in our country. They occur mainly due to the decrease in forest cover area. It leads to
overgrazing. It may also occur due to the high speed winds which brings the particles of sand from
dry areas. Nearly half of the land has become desert. Once the Thar desert of Rajasthan was a
fertile land around few thousand years back. The sand of Gujarat coast made the Thar desert of
Rajasthan into desert along with the overgrazing and felling of timber. It converts the land into a
desert at the rate of 9 kilo meter per year. The fertile land is also being affected by the roads,
houses, unplanned development of houses, garbage, empty bottles, furniture and ash. These
materials are dumped in an open area outside the town and they not only affect the land on which
they are dumped but also the nearby land. It is also referred as the third pollution or landscape
pollution. The best way to deal with this problem is to bury the waste in low lying areas. The garbage
is burnt and is changed to the compost and the rubbish is recycled.
Home & Garden »
Long Term Effects of Soil Pollution
Long Term Effects of Soil Pollution
See types of soil here!
By Sarah White
The long term effects of soil pollution are many and can be difficult to deal with, depending on the
nature of the contamination.
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How Soil Gets Polluted
Soil is a sort of ecosystem unto itself, and it is relatively sensitive to foreign matter being applied to it.
That's good for us in the case of wanting to add soil amendments, fertilizer and compost to make the
soil healthier, but not so good when it comes to soil pollution.
There are many different ways that soil can become polluted, such as:
Seepage from a landfill
Discharge of industrial waste into the soil
Percolation of contaminated water into the soil
Rupture of underground storage tanks
Excess application of pesticides, herbicides or fertilizer
Solid waste seepage
The most common chemicals involved in causing soil pollution are:
Soil pollution happens when these chemicals adhere to the soil, either from being directly spilled
onto the soil or through contact with soil that has already been contaminated.
As the world becomes more industrialized, the long term effects of soil pollution are becoming more
of a problem all over the world. It is thought that a full 150 million miles of China's farmland is
Soil Pollution Problems
Even when soil is not being used for food, the matter of its contamination can be a health concern.
This is especially so when that soil is found in parks, neighborhoods or other places where people
Health effects will be different depending on what kind of pollutant is in the soil. It can range from
developmental problems, such as in children exposed to lead, to cancer from chromium and some
chemicals found in fertilizer, whether those chemicals are still used or have been banned but are still
found in the soil.
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Some soil contaminants increase the risk of leukemia, while others can lead to kidney damage, liver
problems and changes in the central nervous system.
Those are just the long term effects of soil pollution. In the short term, exposure to chemicals in the
soil can lead to headaches, nausea, fatigue and skin rashes at the site of exposure.
Environmental Long Term Effects of Soil Pollution
When it comes to the environment itself, the toll of contaminated soil is even more dire. Soil that has
been contaminated should no longer be used to grow food, because the chemicals can leech into
the food and harm people who eat it.
If contaminated soil is used to grow food, the land will usually produce lower yields than it would if it
were not contaminated. This, in turn, can cause even more harm because a lack of plants on the soil
will cause more erosion, spreading the contaminants onto land that might not have been tainted
In addition, the pollutants will change the makeup of the soil and the types of microorganisms that
will live in it. If certain organisms die off in the area, the larger predator animals will also have to
move away or die because they've lost their food supply. Thus it's possible for soil pollution to
change whole ecosystems.
Dealing with Soil Pollution
There are some ways to get soil back to its pristine condition or to remove the spoiled soil so the
land can be used for agriculture again. Tainted soil can be transported to a site where humans won't
be exposed to the chemicals, or the soil can be aerated to remove some of the chemicals (which can
add the problem of air pollution if the chemicals can be released into the air).
Other options include what's known as bioremidiation, where microorganisms are used to consume
the pollution-causing compounds as well as electromechanical systems for extracting chemicals,
and containment of chemicals by paving over the tainted area.
None of these are an ideal solution. Preventing contamination in the first place is the best way to go.
It won't eliminate all potential pollution problems, but choosing to farm organically is a good way to
protect the soil (and yourself) from chemicals found in pesticides and other common garden