Soil pollution or soil contamination as a direct result of intensive agricultural activity or other land destruction is generally caused due to the presence of soilborne chemical contaminants or other disturbance in the soil environment. It is usually caused by agricultural chemicals, industrial activity or improper disposal of industrial waste. Soil pollution can also be caused due to human intervention.
It can also be caused due to the introduction of transgenic plants and animals into the soil environment. This kind of contamination by chemicals, either synthetic or natural can seriously contaminate the soil, affecting its quality and quantity of nutrients and thereby affect the productivity and living conditions of the people living in that particular area.
In most instances, soil pollution happens as a result of improper or insufficient disposal of industrial waste. Other times, the pollution comes from mining operations that dispose of waste in a way that contaminates not only the soil but can also affect rivers and streams.
Regardless of the cause, the result is the same: contaminated soil. In order to solve these issues, you need to have the right knowledge of soil pollution. Fortunately, there are several remedies to soil pollution which you can consider.
Chemical contamination in soils can either occur naturally or chemically
It generally occurs due to the accidental spills of agricultural chemicals into the soil or contamination of water bodies either on their way to a nearby municipality or through natural means like seepage and rainwater.
Though most chemicals do not have any lasting effect on the soil, they can cause significant harm to the living organisms living in the soil and also pollute the groundwater if untreated. They pollute the air, water, plants, and human health.
Soil erosion and waterlogging are the two major direct results of chemical pollutants
- The excessive use of water for irrigation, farming, and industry
- The improper use of pesticides, the improper disposal or dumping of wastes and other solid wastes
- The compacting and shifting of the land for agricultural purposes
- The use of toxic materials for the treatment of soil is all responsible for the contamination of soils and natural resources.
The natural sources of soil are being depleted at an alarming rate, both in natural and man-made ways and ultimately, will have an adverse impact on the global food supply, the health of the people, and their environments. Thus, the need for soil remediation is of critical importance.
There are a lot of ways to control the pollution of your land
One of these is through proper implementation of policies and regulations regarding the handling, storage, and disposal of hazardous materials such as pesticides and fertilizers. These chemicals are known to disrupt the food chain.
This is especially true for farmers who use these chemicals on a regular basis. You can help solve the problem by making sure that your farm is not subjected to unnecessary stress and using proper safety equipment when disposing of these chemicals.
Controlling the use of chemicals can help reduce the problems of soil pollution. However, it might not be enough to completely solve these problems. You should also make sure that the chemicals you are using are very clean and do not pose any threat to the environment in any way.
Some chemicals can linger in the air or water for years, causing damage to aquatic systems and potentially poisoning people who come in contact with the water or land. Thus, you need to be extra careful when handling dangerous chemicals.
Aside from controlling the use of chemicals, you can also address soil pollution by improving your drainage system
This involves digging trenches around the fields and installing channels to drain away excess groundwater. This will ensure that groundwater does not stagnate.
In the event that this happens, you can easily refill it with more soil. If you have the money, you can also build septic tanks and install them beneath the soil so that water can drain away from your property.
Another major cause of soil pollution is the transportation of heavy metals from one area to another. For example, there are trucks that transport lead and zinc from China and other countries to Europe, Asia, and the United States. These metals can be easily consumed by animals and humans, increasing the risk of being contaminated by them.
Some people are not aware of the effects of chemical fertilizers and the degradation of the soil quality due to them. In fact, many farmers in the European Union have been sued for what they claim is soil pollution.
In order to increase production levels, farmers often use high quantities of chemical-based fertilizers and pesticides. These chemicals can pollute the soil, thereby transforming it into an unfit for human consumption.
Acid rain is also a major problem, as it frequently disables crops and homes
There have been claims that acid rain is the result of the overuse of pesticides, although this remains unproven. Acid rain causes the soil to break down and hence the water cycle is interrupted. This can seriously affect the global economy.
The best way to protect the environment from soil pollution is through preventing degradation of the soil. By reducing the amount of soil pollution and enhancing its ecological functions, you can help prevent soil pollution.
However, it is only possible if we reduce the number of people who are responsible for degrading the contaminated land and stopping the rapid expansion of the settlements that produce more polluted land.
By developing and implementing better management systems at the local as well as the national level, you can effectively save the environment from further environmental damage.
Through participatory involvement and environmental awareness campaigns, you can significantly reduce your personal contribution towards contaminated site remediation and contamination.