Land pollution is the result of dumping garbage, landfilling, and getting rid of other toxic chemicals, contaminating the lands. Human activities result in land pollution. Industrial activity, chemical experiments, agricultural waste, and other such activities can directly result in a polluted environment. When the waste is not properly processed before dumping, it causes major chemical imbalance.
What is Land Pollution and the Different Types of Land Pollution?
Land pollution is the main type of pollution that is destroying the land and life on Earth. It is referred to as the degradation of the land and the Earth’s surface. The deposition of solid or liquid substances on or under the Earth’s surface has the potential of polluting and contaminating the soil.
There are a few types of land pollution; some of the main types are as follows;
Agricultural Land Pollution
We use insecticides and pesticides for agriculture, these might kill the pests and insects, but they also stripe the land of its natural nutrients.
- Non-Biodegradable Solid Waste
The waste produced in the offices, houses, and the community is non-biodegradable, which means that it will take years to decompose. This waste includes shreds of glass, plastics, etc.
- Industrial Waste
The waste produced by the factories and industrial units which include; plastic, chemical remains, metals, paints, etc.
When we cut down trees to either use the timber or to expand our colonies, we are adding to the land pollution. Eliminating the greenery disrupts the natural habitats.
Mining extracts natural elements from the soil; we dig large pits and holes, take out gold, metals, oil, etc. and then leave the soil barren. This land is exposed to erosion.
What are the Causes of Land Pollution?
There are many reasons and causes of land pollution. Some of the main causes are as follows;
- Deforestation is carried out on a large scale as well as soil erosion.
- Agricultural activities using harmful pesticides and fertilizers
- Mining activities
Some other causes are urbanization, construction activities, nuclear waste, sewage treatment, littering in general, and overcrowded landfills.
Why Should We Avoid Soil Pollution?
There can be varied answers as to why we need to avoid soil pollution. But the simplest answer would be that pollution is taking away the natural nutrients from the soil. It reduces the fertility of the soil, which harms the crops that are grown in the region or anything that is grown in that soil.
- Effects of Land Pollution on the Environment
Land pollution is undoubtedly the most visible kind of pollution. When you step outside, heaps of garbage at the gate of your building or dumpsters on the street not only pose a threat to hygiene but also hurt mental health. These piles of garbage in the surroundings spoil the beauty of the environment and can be extremely dangerous for the streets animals as well. By throwing this garbage outside, we are violating natural habitats around us. Other types of land pollutions like agricultural pollution, mining, etc. are also damaging the ecosystems as they pollute the soil and water with the chemical discharge that they produce. Methane is largely produced by landfills, which is a greenhouse gas and a leading cause of global warming. These gases damage the ozone, which is resulting in temperature shifts. The results of global warming are getting more evident with each passing day.
- Effects of Soil Pollution on Human Health.
Different types of land pollutions around us can cause several life-threatening diseases. The harmful chemicals released are mixed in the water and soil and can cause skin diseases, cancers, etc.
- Effects of Soil Pollution on Wildlife Animals.
Land pollution and other kinds of pollutions are responsible for the extinction of many natural habitats, and hence several species have gone extinct. Our colonies have spread rapidly; resultantly, we have invaded wildlife habitats and then polluted these natural habitats with plastic and garbage.
Why are Contaminants in Soil Hard to Remove?
Trichloroethylenes or TCE is the organic soil contaminants that are trapped within the soil and very hard to remove. These were once used to clean the aerospace electric components. TCE has been labeled as a suspected human carcinogen; a very little amount of these can pollute a great surface area of water or soil.
Facts about Land Pollution.
Some facts about land pollution are:
- In the year 2010, only the US produced 250 million tons of waste, out of which only 85 million tons were recycled.
- The amount of trash produced per person has significantly dropped in the US in the last 10 years. This is a clear indicator that recycling has increased.
- The easiest way for a manufacturer or company to reduce waste is to use less packaging material. Materials like straws, bottle caps, thin plastic, when thrown into the water bodies, can suffocate or choke the animals and marine creatures.
- Litter and water waste can suffocate and choke the animals when they come in contact with it. Several sea turtles get killed with plastic bags and straws every year. Sea lions and seals can ingest plastic, which chokes them to death.
- About 40% of the lead in landfills is not properly disposed of, and that is why it results in more soil pollution. The improper disposal of computer chips and electronic equipment in the landfills seeps deeper into the soil when it rains.
How Can We Prevent Soil Contamination?
There are several ways through which soil contamination, if not eliminated, can be significantly reduced. Some of the ways through which it can be prevented and reduced are:
- Reduce, recycle, and reuse; three concepts that need to be endorsed more.
- Reusing more materials will mean that less material will need to be produced in the first place. The things that cannot be reused need to be recycled.
- In agricultural activities, the use of insecticides and pesticides needs to be reduced.
- Promote the use of biodegradable products. Switch to cloth bags instead of plastic bags. Plastic is one of the most significant constituents of the waste, and reducing it will bring down the waste produced.
- Buy products that have very little packaging; minimal packaging means less waste produced.
- Install disposal bins at all public places to reduce littering.
- Restrict the selling of non-biodegradable products.
- Maintain your organic gardens even if they are small, so you do not consume produce that is grown in harmful chemicals.
- Dumping grounds and landfills should be maintained away from residential spaces.
- Water and land are interconnected. When life on the land is disrupted, it has a domino effect on life in the water. Due to our activities on the land, several species underwater have reached the stage of extinction.
- When cleaning your house or building, it is also important to take care of your vicinity. It is important not to litter the places around your residence.
- Education is paramount in fighting against land pollution. Children from a very early age need to know the importance of clean Earth. We abuse the natural resources that are provided to us; it is high time that we actively work towards preserving the Earth.
We Only Have One Earth.
The bounties bestowed upon us by the Earth are inexhaustible. Man is driven by greed and has been manipulating these resources, but as the population is rising exponentially, we are facing a shortage of these. Even the resources that are available to us have been polluted to an unimaginable extent. The resources may be innumerable, but there is only one Earth, and we need to conserve it for our future generations. The pace at which the glaciers are melting and the ozone is depleting, it won’t be long before all the living conditions change. Already the temperature shifts are causing drastic changes, and sooner or later, it will get worse. We must do everything in our power to preserve the Earth’s environment. Reducing our carbon footprints can be the first step in that direction.