What is soil pollution?
Soil pollution is generally caused by human ignorance and negligence such as industry, farming and deposing of waste improperly. Soil contamination is both a risk to nature and human health. Some contaminants naturally occur in soil, but when the levels of contaminants are higher than they naturally should be, the soil is viewed as polluted.
Causes of soil pollution?
Soil pollution can be caused by both natural and man-made pollutants. The main cause of soil pollution is man-made but not always. The environment of the soil is complex and natural occurrences can raise levels of toxins. This can lead to the soil being naturally polluted. This has been recorded on very few occasions.
The vast majority of reasons for our soil is polluted is due to humanity and not nature. Some cause of soil pollution are:
- Farming – Both chemical treatment of land and animal excrement.
- Industrial activity.
- Waste being dumped and not disposed of correctly, both urban (landfills) and industrial.
- Environmental disasters caused by human actions.
- Radioactive pollutants.
- Acid rain.
- Soil erosion.
- Increased carbon dioxide levels.
- Fuel leaks washed away by rain and into the ground.
Effects of soil pollution?
All of these causes result in soil contamination leading to a loss of biodiversity and negative effects on human health.
Due to the ground being contaminated plant growth is effected and this effects animals too. If there is no food for them to eat then they may not be able to sustain themselves. Even when animals do have access to food if it comes from contaminated soil it is possible their food is poisonous. This the enters the food chain which we are a part of. This can be ranging from meat, vegetables, nuts and beyond. It is believed that soil pollution could be the explanation of human populations suddenly becoming unwell. Long-term exposure to contaminated food from polluted soil can lead to sickness and food poisoning. Plants are generally unable to adapt to soil pollution which can lead to fruit and vegetables being produced that are either low in nutrients or in worse case scenario, poisonous. However, if crops aren’t able to grow at all this can lead to famine.
Other effects are environmental such as “toxic dust” which can lead to unpleasant smells and sickness. Another environmental issue while not directly due to soil pollution but part of the cycle is acid rain. Acid rain is caused by poisonous gas emissions but when acid rain falls it contaminates our soil this leads to it entering our water systems. It is particularly devastating to fish and wildlife. Soil erosion is another environmental issue that can devastate communities. When the top layer of the soil is destroyed it can alter the structure of the ground. This can lead to land and mud slides destroying houses and habitats.
What can we do?
- Reuse and recycle. If we use less material then this will slow landfills being filled up so quickly.
- Purchase re-usable items.
- Choose glass and paper over plastic.
- Avoid plastic where possible, particularly single use.
- Be aware and reduce your own “Carbon Dioxide Footprint.”
- Buy organic – Each purchase is a choice so create a demand for cleaner and more environmentally friendly products.
- Dispose of waste properly. Both as an individual and make your voice heard to your local council if you think there is a issue with waste disposal.
- Local litter picks.
- Making sure your car isn’t leaking fuel or oil to avoid it entering our soil and water systems.
We can all make One Change Now? What are you already doing and what can you do? Leave a comment and let the community know. Not just environmental community but the human community. We are the problem and the solution.