Causes and Effects of Soil Pollution

Almost all human activities have led to some kind of pollution in some or the other way. Air pollution and acid rain occur due to increase in toxic gases like carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, etc. or plastics and chemical wastes contaminates water bodies and causing eutrophication. One of the most serious problems existing on this planet today is Soil Pollution. There are huge consequences and effects of soil pollution which must be controlled to save the environment.

What is soil pollution?
Soil pollution is the contamination of the soil with toxic and harmful substances and chemicals that can affect the quality of the soil along with the health of those living on it. The contamination of soil can happen in a number of ways. Due to the increase in population, activities of humans are also increasing which in turn is increasing the waste materials produced by them like chemical wastes and toxic gases which is polluting the air, water, and soil.

The harmful substances that adversely affect the soil like chemical wastes, toxic substances, etc. are called as Pollutants. Soil pollution can be classified into two types: Organic and Inorganic Pollutant.

Organic Pollutants: These substances have a biological origin. Examples of organic pollutants are pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, acid rain, etc.

Inorganic Pollutants: These are man-made pollutants. Examples of inorganic pollutants are cosmetics, detergents, chlorinated solvents, heavy metal wastes, hydrocarbons, etc.

Causes of Soil Pollution
Some causes of air pollution are mentioned in the points given below.

  • Overuse of Chemical Fertilizers
    Chemical fertilizers are usually phosphorus and nitrogen-based chemicals like nitrates and ammonia. Excessive use of chemical fertilizers has a very harmful effect on the soil.
  • Use of Chemical Pesticides
    Pesticides are used by farmers to control the pests which destroy crops. The pesticides, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, etc. contaminate the soil and also the land where they are manufactured.
  • Soil Erosion
    The displacement of the layer of soil due to poor soil management is called as soil erosion. Due to soil erosion, pollutants are contaminated quickly in the soil causing soil pollution.
  • Waste Dumping
    Sewage generated by humans is one of the main causes of soil pollution. Human-generated wastes are mostly non-biodegradable such as plastic, metals, glass, batteries, etc.
  • Acid Rain
    Toxic pollutants like nitrous oxides, sulfur dioxide, etc. combine with rainwater and form acid rain. Due to acid rain, the pH of the soil becomes acidic which changes the nutrient content of the soil. It adversely affects the life of plants, insects, and animals living on it.

Effects of Soil Pollution

  • Reduce the fertility of soil.
  • Natural nutrients are lost due to soil pollution.
  • An imbalance is created among the flora and fauna of the soil.
  • The pH level becomes acidic due acid rain.
  • Due to soil pollution, toxic dust are formed
  • Crops growing in the polluted soil causes health problems.
  • Due to soil pollution, the salinity of the soil increases making it unfit for cultivation.
  • Chemical wastes and pesticides cause an alteration in the soil leading to the death of various soil organisms which affects the food chain.

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