Soil Pollution

Topics: Pollution, Waste, Biodegradable waste Pages: 2 (713 words) Published: June 23, 2013
More than five billion people live on the earth. All of these people use natural resources such as air, soil and water. When people use these resources they change them. Some of these changes are useful but many are harmful to human health. As the number of people on earth increases so they need more food, more energy and more. space in which to build homes, schools, parks and so on. Each person regularly produces large amounts of solid waste which they throw away. These waste products include food, paper, garden waste, glass bottles, metal cans, cloth and plastics. Some of this waste is quickly broken down by bacteria (decomposers), but much of it, including plastic, metal and glass, remains unchanged since it cannot be broken down by bacteria. We call material that cannot be broken down by bacteria non-biodegradable. If we carelessly throw away such material then’ it pollutes the environment, often for a very long time. However, waste such as paper, wool, vegetables and food are soon broken down by bacteria. Because of this they are deseribed as biodegradable. People dispo se of large amounts of their waste by burning or burying it. In the past most trash was collected and then thrown onto open rubbish dumps. However, this kind of disposal caused problems, since the dumps looked ugly and smelled badly. Sometimes the trash in open dumps was burned causing air pollution. If a lot of fertilizer is added to the soil, it may drain into lakes and rivers from the soil. Fertilizers contain nitrate and other nutrients which cause water pollution. Bacteria and algae grow rapidly in water and use up most of the oxygen. As a result, the fish and other organisms become ill and die. Some of the nitrate may get into peoples drinking water leading to cancers. Pesticides are used on farms to kill insects, but they pollute the soil. Plants take in chemicals (pesticides) from the soil, animals and people then eat the plants and become ill. Detergents get into the soil from homes...
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