All life on Earth is anchored by soil, which is the Earth's delicate skin. It is made up of many species that form a complex and dynamic ecosystem, and it is one of humanity's most valuable resources. Increased demand for agricultural commodities encourages the conversion of forests and grasslands to farmland and pastures. Many plants, such as coffee, cotton, palm oil, soybean, and wheat, can actually exacerbate soil pollution beyond the soil's ability to maintain itself as a result of the shift to agriculture from natural vegetation.
Soil contamination occurs when undesired chemicals are incorporated into the soil as a result of human activity. The use of insecticides and pesticides removes nitrogen molecules from the soil, rendering it unfit for plant feeding.
Toxic substances (pollutants or contaminants) in high enough concentrations in soil, endanger human health and/or the environment. Even if the amounts of contaminants found naturally in soil are not high enough to constitute a risk, soil pollution is defined as when the levels of contaminants in soil surpass the levels that should be present naturally.
The presence of man-made trash is the primary source of contamination in the soil. The waste created by nature, such as dead plants, animal corpses, and rotten fruits and vegetables, only adds to the soil's fertility. Our waste products, on the other hand, are full of chemicals that aren't present in nature and cause soil pollution.The soil is also exploited by the emission of industrial waste, mining, and deforestation. Plants that are unable to grow effectively are unable to hold the soil in place, resulting in soil erosion.
SOIL POLLUTION HAS DEVASTATING CONSEQUENCES/EFFECTS:
Soil has an impact on practically every element of our life. We don't always understand it. As a result, we are sometimes oblivious to the impact of soil pollution on our daily life. Polluted soil leads to stunted crops and, in some cases, a toxic subsurface water table. The following are some of the most significant consequences of soil pollution.
1. Human Health Consequences:
Given that soil is the source of our ability to survive, its contamination has far-reaching implications for our health. Plants and crops growing in dirty soil absorb much of the pollution and then pass it on to humans. This may account for the abrupt increase in minor and fatal ailments.
Long-term contact to such soil can alter the body's genetic make-up, resulting in congenital disorders and chronic health problems that are difficult to treat. In fact, it has the potential to sicken cattle to a significant degree and cause food poisoning over time. If plants are unable to grow due to soil contamination, widespread famines may result.
2. Impact on Plant Growth
The widespread pollution of the soil has an impact on the ecological equilibrium of any system. When the chemistry of the soil changes dramatically in a short period of time, most plants are unable to adapt. The fungi and bacteria in the soil that hold it together start to deteriorate, causing soil erosion as a result.
The soil's fertility gradually declines, rendering the land unfit for cultivation and preventing any local vegetation from surviving. Large swaths of land have become contaminated, posing a health risk. Unlike deserts, where native vegetation thrives, such land is unsuitable for most types of life.
3. Reduced Fertility of the Soil
Toxic substances in the soil can reduce soil fertility, resulting in a reduction in soil production. The polluted soil is then utilized to grow fruits and vegetables that are deficient in nutrients and may contain a dangerous material that can cause major health issues in those who consume them.
4. Contaminated Dust
The release of hazardous and foul gases from landfills pollutes the environment and has a negative impact on people's health. Furthermore, the foul odor causes inconvenience to others.
5. Soil Structure Changes
The death of many soil organisms (such as earthworms) can cause changes in soil structure. Apart from that, it may push other predators to travel in quest of food to new locations.A variety of solutions have been proposed to reduce the existing level of pollution. Such efforts to clean up the environment necessitate a significant investment of time and resources. Regulations for the disposal of hazardous waste have been imposed on industries, with the goal of reducing the amount of polluted land.
Organic farming, which avoids the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, is encouraged. Plants that can remove contaminants from the soil are urged to be used. However, there is still a long way to go, and preventing soil pollution will take many more years.
6.The poisoning of the underground water table
The contamination of the subsurface water table is also a result of soil pollution. Because this water is held beneath the soil layers, contaminants in the soil could easily percolate into the water table over time.
We must also keep in mind that this is the water that can be obtained from wells and tube wells for consumption and use. When such poisonous water is utilized over time, it has a number of negative consequences for human health. Long-term ingestion of this hazardous subsurface water causes diseases such as arsenic poisoning, food poisoning, and others. These illnesses have the potential to be lethal.