Soil Pollution: Causes and Effects

Soil Pollutions – The soil is an essential nutrient for the existence of plants and for agriculture. It is very important for maintaining an ecological balance in nature and keeping our environment green. But with the current trend of increasing population, there is a consequent increase in demand for land and other resources. Like all other forms of nature, soil too is suffering from degradation. The addition of harmful or toxic chemicals to the soil which renders it unproductive is called soil pollution. In this article, we will discuss its major causes and effects.

Soil Pollution

The above image is the soil pollution occurred in a mining site of Brukunga town in Adelaide Hills, which is located in the southern parts of Australia. This pollution took place in the year 1992.

Causes of Soil Pollution

  • Man-made wastes are the major cause of soil pollution.
  • The ever-increasing use of synthetic toxic chemicals such as pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers, which are used on plants, alters the nature of the soil and gradually decrease its productivity.
  • Industrial activities generate different kinds of wastes. Some of them are highly toxic in nature. The by-products are contaminated and are emitted into the land bodies nearby.
  • Waste disposal is becoming a concern since a number of wastes generated from various activities related to household, farm, industrial, construction, etc. are increasing day by day. They are disposed of by the means of the landfill, which harmfully affects the fertility of the soil.
  • Accidental oil spills happen during the transport of fuels or deforestation activities. These chemicals enter in the soil and deteriorate its quality.
  • Acid rain, which is caused by air pollution, deposits acids in the soil through water runoffs. The acids are particularly harmful to the soil.

Effects of Soil Pollution

  • There is a substantial decrease in soil fertility due to soil pollution. This is because the addition of contaminants alters the chemistry of the soil and of the microorganisms responsible for its productivity.
  • The plants which thrive and obtain their food and nourishment from soil also suffer from a setback. The chemicals which are absorbed into the soil also get absorbed by the plants. This might be fatal because a number of plants are unable to adapt to the changed soil environment.
  • The plants when consumed by animals, lead to the pollutants getting absorbed in animal bodies. Similarly, they also enter human bodies through food either in the form of plants or as meat and pose serious health issues.

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Practise This Question

Which of the following statement is true about the ozone layer?