soil pollution

Topics: Waste, Pollution, Soil Pages: 11 (2512 words) Published: January 15, 2014

Soil pollution is defined as the build-up in soils of persistent toxic compounds, chemicals, salts, radioactive materials, or disease causing agents, which have adverse effects on plant growth and animal health.

Soil is the thin layer of organic and inorganic materials that covers the Earth's rocky surface. The organic portion, which is derived from the decayed remains of plants and animals, is concentrated in the dark uppermost topsoil. The inorganic portion made up of rock fragments, was formed over thousands of years by physical and chemical weathering of bedrock. Productive soils are necessary for agriculture to supply the world with sufficient food.

There are many different ways that soil can become polluted, such as: •

Seepage from a landfill
Discharge of industrial waste into the soil
Percolation of contaminated water into the soil
Rupture of underground storage tanks
Excess application of pesticides, herbicides or fertilizer
Solid waste seepage

The most common chemicals involved in causing soil pollution are: •

Petroleum hydrocarbons
Heavy metals

Types of Soil Pollution
• Agricultural Soil Pollution
i) pollution of surface soil
ii) pollution of underground soil

• Soil pollution by industrial effluents and solid wastes i) pollution of surface soil
ii) disturbances in soil profile
• Pollution due to urban activities
i) pollution of surface soil
ii) pollution of underground soil

Causes of Soil Pollution
Soil pollution is caused by the presence of man-made chemicals or other alteration in the natural soil environment. This type of contamination typically arises from the rupture of underground storage links, application of pesticides, percolation of contaminated surface water to subsurface strata, oil and fuel dumping, leaching of wastes from landfills or direct discharge of industrial wastes to the soil. The most common chemicals involved are petroleum hydrocarbons, solvents, pesticides, lead and other heavy metals. This occurrence of this phenomenon is correlated with the degree of industrialization and intensities of chemical usage.

A soil pollutant is any factor which deteriorates the quality, texture and mineral content of the soil or which disturbs the biological balance of the organisms in the soil. Pollution in soil has adverse effect on plant growth.

Pollution in soil is associated with
• Indiscriminate use of fertilizers
• Indiscriminate use of pesticides, insecticides and herbicides • Dumping of large quantities of solid waste
• Deforestation and soil erosion

Indiscriminate use of fertilizers

Soil nutrients are important for plant growth and development. Plants obtain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen from air and water. But other necessary nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur and more must be obtained from the soil. Farmers generally use fertilizers to correct soil deficiencies. Fertilizers contaminate the soil with impurities, which come from the raw materials used for their manufacture. Mixed fertilizers often contain ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3), phosphorus as P2O5, and potassium as K2O. For instance, As, Pb and Cd present in traces in rock phosphate mineral get transferred to super phosphate fertilizer. Since the metals are not degradable, their accumulation in the soil above their toxic levels due to excessive use of phosphate fertilizers, becomes an indestructible poison for crops.

The over use of NPK fertilizers reduce quantity of vegetables and crops grown on soil over the years. It also reduces the protein content of wheat, maize, grams, etc., grown on that soil. The carbohydrate quality of such crops also gets degraded. Excess potassium content in soil decreases Vitamin C and carotene content in vegetables and fruits. The vegetables and fruits grown on overfertilized soil are more prone to attacks by insects and disease.

Indiscriminate use...
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