Major sources of land pollution

Written by debashree sen
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Major sources of land pollution
Land pollution (pollution n°5 image by Emmanuelle Guillou from

The major sources of land pollution are activities like littering, industries disposing of industrial wastes, agriculture-generated wastes, oil refineries, mining and human sewage. Apart from being an eyesore, land pollution has adverse effects on human health, wildlife and the ecosystem. Toxic substances may seep into water bodies and cause groundwater pollution.


Litter is misplaced waste and trash. The primary sources of litter are pedestrians dropping garbage in the street or gutter, motorists discarding garbage out of windows, household garbage cans spilling over, trucks with uncovered loads, construction sites, poorly secured commercial dumpsters, illegal dumping and intentional or habitual littering by human beings.


Industrial waste is one of the biggest contributors to land pollution. This is waste generated by industries during the manufacturing process, such as chemicals, paints and foundry wastes, which are sometimes dumped directly into the soil. This is more prevalent in developing countries, where industrial waste disposal is often not regulated, than in countries where the laws are stricter.


The pesticides and fertilisers used by farmers for crop enhancement seep into the land, polluting it. Agricultural wastes produced by crops and animals and other residues from farm operation also contribute to land pollution.


Mining gas and petroleum also pollutes the land. Petroleum extraction and manufacturing contaminates the soil with bitumen, gasoline, kerosene and mining brine solutions. Opencast mining, which is a process where the surface of the earth is dug open to bring out the underground mineral deposits, destroys the topsoil and contaminates the area with toxic metals and chemicals.

Other Sources of Land Pollution

In underdeveloped countries where the sewage system is not maintained properly, human waste accumulates in the soil. Overcrowded landfills, deforestation, construction debris and oil and antifreeze leaking from cars also contribute to land pollution.

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