Land pollution can be defined as the contamination of land. It is also known as soil pollution. It is basically about contaminating the land surface of the earth by the dumping of urban waste materials indiscriminately, dumping of industrial waste, mineral exploitation and misusing of the soil by harmful agricultural practices. Land pollution includes all visible waste materials and litter along with the land or soil itself being polluted.
The land gets polluted by the chemical substances that can be found in different types of pesticides and herbicides used for agricultural purposes along with waste matter being littered in urban areas such as roads, parks, streets etc.
Causes of Land Pollution
There are different activities and elements which cause land pollution in the environment. Some major causes are mentioned below:
- Land pollution is mostly caused by chemical substances that can be found in pesticides, such as poisons that are used to kill agricultural pests like insects, and herbicides that are used to get rid of weeds.
- The waste products from agricultural activities which comprise of waste matter produced by crops, animal manures and farm residues also help in land pollution.
- The waste materials that are formed from mining also cause land pollution. These waste materials are the piles of coal refuse and heaps of slag.
- The industrial wastes that give rise to land pollution include different substances like paints, chemical substances and so on.
- Biomass sludge and settled solids which are left over after the treatment of sewage also play an important role in degrading the quality of land.
- The residual matter that remains after the burning of solid fuels also cause land pollution.
- The waste materials from food that are decomposable and other waste materials that are not decomposable also help in land pollution. The non-decomposable materials include glass, metal, cloth, plastic, wood, paper etc.
- The increasing degree of air pollution may lead to acid precipitation due to which the reaction with the basic soil occurs. This reaction changes the soil composition and also accelerates the erosion as well as loss of useful microorganisms that are present in the soil.
- Improper system of agriculture in hill slopes and change in land use pattern also deteriorates or degrades soil fertility.
- In rural areas and touristic areas, the metallic cylinders, tin cans, wrappers of food beverages, polythene etc. thrown carelessly by tourists and mountaineers also cause land pollution.
Effects of Land Pollution
Land pollution gives out many consequences or effects which are listed and described below:
- Foul, bad and poisonous smell from the polluted land easily pollutes the surrounding environment and spreads different types of diseases.
- Land pollution caused due to the chemical substances affects the plants and animals that are present in the land. Such chemical substances get accumulated in the body of living organism through food chain. This badly affects the health of living organisms.
- Land pollution gives rise to the contamination of water and water sources. Different harmful chemical substances that are mixed to water through wastes dumped on land affect the life of aquatic animals which depend upon water for their lives.
- Degradation in the natural quality of the soil is brought by soil pollution. Besides this, change in the physical and chemical properties of soil also occurs due to soil pollution. This reduces the productivity of the soil.
- Land pollution reduces the natural beauty of the environment. It also affects the value of cultural heritages and religious places.
Methods to control Land Pollution
The methods in order to control and minimize the problem of land pollution are given below:
- Landfill is a site of soil waste disposal where solid wastes are allowed to be decomposed in a safer way. This site is selected very far away from human residential areas. The waste may be dumped in a trench and spread in layers. At the end of each day, the waste materials are covered with a layer of clay. Decomposition occurs at the landfill.
- Reduction in the use of different pollutants and recycling of those pollutants in best possible manner also helps to control land pollution. The use of effective mechanism so as to increase soil fertility can be implemented.
- The chemical fertilizers and different pesticides should be used in wise manner in minimum amount. Biological and Eco-friendly methods to control pests can be used.
- The treatment of solid and liquid wastes before discharging to the soil helps to reduce the toxicity of the wastes which in turn helps to decrease harmful effects on the soil.
- The land should be used properly and wisely and scientific agricultural system can be introduced too which may help in the minimization of land pollution.
- Reduction, reuse and recycling of non-biodegradable wastes help to minimize the burden of waste materials on the land.
- Provision of compost preparation from different biodegradable waste materials from different sources also helps to reduce land pollution.
- Awareness generation programmes can be organized in order to make people known about land pollution, its causes, effects and control measures.
- Formulation as well as effective implementation of legislative measures to control and mage waste materials also helps to control the problem of land pollution.