Soil pollution, also commonly referred to as soil contamination, is defined as a phenomenon characterised by the loss of structural and biological properties by the soil layers as a result of numerous human and natural factors, such as wind, deforestation, chemical use, among others. Soil pollution is generally found to be more prevalent in developed countries, such as England and the United States, as compared to the other developing countries, such as India. Soil pollution can lead to serious repercussions on both the plant and animal species and thus indirectly humans. Preventive measures are being employed to curb and negate the phenomenon of soil pollution. Various factors contribute towards soil pollution, and some of them are elucidated below.
Man-made Factors of Soil Pollution
Man-made factors, such as deforestation, excessive and indiscriminate chemical usage, discharge of industrial waste products and more, are often considered to be major causes leading to soil pollution. Indiscriminate use of chemicals, such as pesticides and insecticides and industrial discharge, often result in soil pollution, as these chemicals get accumulated on the top layer ans increase the salinity of the soil, resulting in reduced and stunted crop growth due to irreversible chemical alterations in the structure of the soil. On the other hand, deforestation leads to the loss of the top layer of the soil as a result of soil erosion. It is often considered to be one of the possible factors contributing towards soil pollution.
Natural Sources of Soil Pollution
Natural factors, such as wind, soil erosion, acid rains and forest fires, are often considered to be causes leading to the phenomenon of soil erosion. Most of the above mentioned factors often contribute towards the loss of fertility of the soil due to the deposition of chemicals or salts in the soil layers--causing soil pollution and as a result crop production is reduced.
Other Common Causes of Soil Pollution
Some of the other possible causes leading to soil pollution include percolation of salty and contaminated water into the soil layers, improper soil waste discharge, oil and petroleum leakages from the vehicles, among others.
Soil pollution has various serious negative effects on the health of individuals as well as from an economic perspective. Some of the common effects on individuals include development of health disorders, such as cancer, skin disorders and development disorders, depending upon the chemicals present in the soil. From an industrial perspective, soil pollution can lead to various effects, such as reduction in the soil fertility, significantly reducing the crop production, imbalance in the plant and animal species and deposition of silt in the underwater deposits.
Prevention and Solution
Countries all over the world are employing various preventive measures in order to curb the process of soil pollution. Banning usage of chemicals, such as DDT, promoting a forestation, and using microorganisms, such as rhizobium, to help increase the soil fertility among others are some of the steps taken to negate the effect of soil pollution.