Mixing of different types of substances in soil which affects its natural qualities and causes reduction in its fertility, is called as soil pollution. Some environmentalists define soil pollution as – build up of toxic chemical compounds, salts, pathogens or radioactive materials in soil that can affect plant and animal life adversely, is called as soil pollution.
A polluted soil often contains varieties of germs of diseases. Some of those diseases are – anthrax, typhoid, leptospirosis, bacillary dysentery, cholera etc. A big amount of soil is lost due to soil erosion, storms, overgrazing and deforestation activities. This loss of soil is often called as negative soil pollution.
Sources or Causes of Soil Pollution
There are many different sources of soil pollution. These are being introduced below.
A. Domestic Sources of Soil Pollution: Wastes produced due to domestic activities are called as domestic wastes. Food leftovers, peeling of fruits and vegetables, ash, paper bits, packets, polythene bags, glass bottles, tin cans, used tyres, expired medicines etc. are some examples of domestic wasted that are often dumped on the ground. These wastes alter the soil composition and make it bad for the growth and development of plants.
B. Municipal Sources: Different types of municipal wastes dumped on the ground cause bad effects on soil. These wastes act as shelter homes of various types of insects and germs of diseases.
C. Industrial Sources: Industries dump lots of wastes on land. These wastes create ugly scenes on ground and contaminate soil making it unfit for productive utilization. A number of toxic wastes seep into the ground and cause underground water pollution.
D. Agricultural Sources: Agro- chemicals used in agriculture produce adverse effects on soil. Synthetic fertilizers, if used continuously for a long time alters the composition of soil, making it unfit for the growth and development of plants.
Faulty irrigation practices cause water logging. The water is evaporated in the sun leaving behind salts in the soil. Thus soil gradually becomes saline and unfit for plant growth.
E. Mining Sources: Mining activities cause long lasting damages to the soil. Tailings, slags, stones etc. that come out of mines are dumped near them. Besides these, different types of toxic chemicals are exposed due to mining which further cause serious soil and water pollution during rains.
F. E. Wastes: The electronic wastes generated through the disposal of electronic goods, like computers, televisions, wires, and plastic cabinets etc. which are often dumped on the ground, create serious pollution on land.
Major Soil Pollutants
(i) Toxic Chemicals from industries,
(ii) Pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers,
(iii) Fly ash from thermal power stations,
(iv) Chemicals from sugar mills, pulp and paper mills, refineries, distilleries etc.
(v) Wastes from leather and rubber industries,
(vi)The domestic garbage dumped on land,
(vii) E- Wastes.
Key Words: soil, sources, soil pollutants