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Soil Pollution


Soil is a natural body consisting of layers that are primarily a mixture of broken rocks and minerals ( formed as a result of weathering process), living organisms, and decaying organic matter called humus. Humus is dark, soft and rich in nutrients. Soil also includes air and water.the early scientists sum up all the collective terms such as winds running water,change in temperature and living organisims which are more close to atmosphere,biosphere and hydrosphere by weathering process to give the origin of the soil. Organisms in the soil need air and water to survive. Having these essential materials - air, water, and organic matter - makes it possible for plants, bacteria, fungi and small animals like earthworms and insects to live in the soil. ( wikipedia ) ( Incredible bar,life on our feet)

Types of soils
Different types of soils are present like loam soil (in valleys), sandy soil (in mountains, foothills) and clay soil (in urban areas). These types have different composition of minerals ,water,air and organic matter. (ehow home)

Good quality soil is one that is 45% minerals (sand, silt, clay), 25% water, 25% air, and 5% organic material, both live and dead. The mineral and organic components are considered a constant while the percentages of water and air are the only variable parameters where the increase in one is balanced by the reduction in the other. (Wikipedia)

Soil pollution
Soil pollution is the contamination of soil with harmful substances that can adversely affect the quality of the soil and the health of those living on it. Pollution can be the result of an accident or carelessness, or done on purpose through illegal dumping. Pollution is also a by-product of activities as normal as driving or maintaining a farm. (

Types of soil pollution Types of soil pollution are agricultural soil pollution ,solid waste, urban areas soil pollution. Agricultural soil pollution is when Many different agricultural processes contribute to soil pollution, which occurs both on the site itself and in nearby areas. Chemical fertilizers provide extra nutrients to increase crop yield, but also cause pollution that negatively impacts crops and soil quality over time. Pesticides kill insects that impact crop growth, but also harm animals and plants by contaminating the soil. Long term soil pollution in the agricultural areas is very harmfull for the

humans for growing foods .because the soil is no more fertile.

Urban activities
Many everyday human activities lead to soil pollution, both directly and indirectly. Paving and development prevent proper drainage and increase runoff, which spreads construction-related contaminants to nearby land areas or streams. Increased waste disposal contaminates both landfills and public spaces. Trash that is improperly disposed of eventually breaks down into the soil, where it deposits any number of chemicals and pollutants into the earth. These pollutants may seep into groundwater or wash away into local waterways during a storm.

Industrial Wastes
According to the Indian Government Department of Education, 90 percent of soil pollution is caused by industrial waste products, while much of the remaining 10 percent comes from dry cleaning and gas station waste. When this waste is improperly disposed of, it contaminates the soil with harmful chemicals. These pollutants impact plant and animal species and eventually reach local water supplies, where they contaminate drinking water. Even when this waste is sent to regulated landfills, it releases toxic fumes that may harm nearby residents. These fumes also contain chemicals that can fall back to earth in the form of acid rain, which may damage soil and other objects across the entire region. Bioremediation is one method of removing industrial pollution from the soil, according to the University of Massachusetts. This technique requires cleanup crews to introduce healthy bacteria into the soil, where they gradually break down harmful materials and restore the balance of the soil.


Soil contamination or soil pllution is caused by the presence
of xenobiotic (human-made) chemicals or other alteration in the natural soil environment. It is typically caused by industrial activity, agricultural chemicals, or improper disposal of waste. The most common chemicals involved are petroleum hydrocarbons, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (such as naphthalene and benzo(a)pyrene), solvents, pesticides, lead, and other heavy metals. Contamination is correlated with the degree of industrialiation and intensity of chemical usage.

Soil contamination can be caused by: Corrosion of underground storage tanks (including piping used to transmit the contents) Application of pesticides and fertilizers Mining Oil and fuel dumping Disposal of coal ash Leaching from landfills Direct discharge of industrial wastes to the soil Drainage of contaminated surface water into the soil sewage The most common chemicals involved are petroleum hydrocarbons, solvents, pesticides,lead, and other heavy metals.

Underground Sorage Tank

An Underground Sorage Tank (UST), in United States environmental law, is a tank and any underground piping connected to the tank that has at least 10 percent of its combined volume underground. Tank types:
Underground storage tanks generally fall into four different types: Steel/aluminum tank Composite overwrapped Tanks made from composite material, fiber glass/aramid or carbon fiber with a metal liner (aluminum or steel).

Composite tanks such as carbon fiber with a polymer liner (thermoplastic).

Petroleum underground storage tanks:

USTs, used to store petroleum, are regulated in the United States to prevent release of petroleum and contamination of groundwater. They are used throughout North America at automobile filling station, and many have leaked, allowing petroleum to contaminate the soil and grondwater. Many USTs installed before 1980 consisted of bare steel pipes, which corrode over time and may eventually result in leakage. Faulty installation and inadequate handling may also cause leaks. President Ronald Reagan in 1984 required the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop regulations for the underground storage of motor fuels. These amendments required EPA to develop regulations to minimize and prevent environmental damage, by requiring owners and operators of UST systems to verify, maintain, and, if necessary, clean up sites damaged by petroleum contamination

Pesticides are substances or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest. Pesticides are a special kind of products for crop protection. Crop protection products in general protect plants from damaging influences such as weeds, diseases or insects. A pesticide is generally a chemical or biological agent (such as a virus, bacterium antimicrobial or disinfectant) that through its effect deters, incapacitates, kills or otherwise discourages pests. Although there are human benefits to the use of pesticides, some also have drawbacks, such as potential toxicity to humans and other animals. According to the Stockholm Convention on Persistant organics pollutants, 9 of the 12 most dangerous and persistent organic chemicals are pesticides. Pesticides are categorized into four main substituent chemicals: herbicides; fungicides; insecticides; bactericides.

Type of pesticide Algicides or Algaecides Avicides Bactericides Fungicides Insecticides Miticides or Acaricides Molluscicides Nematicides Rodenticides Virucides

Target pest group

Algae Birds Bacteria Fungi and Oomycetes sectes Mites Snails Nematods Rodents Viruses

Subclasses of pesticides include: herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, rodentcides,

Fertilizer (or fertiliser) is any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin (other than liming materials) that is added to a soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants. A recent assessment found that about 40 to 60% of crop yields are attributable to commercial fertilizer use. They are essential for high-yield harvest: European fertilizer market is expected to grow to 15.3 billion by 2018 Fertilizers typically provide, in varying proportions: six macronutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and sulfur (S); seven micronutrients: boron (B), chlorine (Cl), copper (Cu), iron(Fe), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), and zinc (Zn).

Synthetic fertilizers are commonly used for growing all crops, with application rates depending on the soil fertility, usually as measured by a soil test and according to the particular crop. Legumes, for example, fix nitrogen from the atmosphere and generally do not require nitrogen fertilizer.

Soil acidification:
Nitrogen-containing inorganic and organic fertilizers can cause soil acidification when added. This may lead to decreases in nutrient availability which may be offset by liming.

Persistent organic pollutants:

Toxic persistent organic pollutants ("POPs"), such as Dioxins, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), and polychlorinated dibenzofyrans (PCDFs) have been detected in agricultural fertilizers and soil amendments.

Heavy metal accumulation:

The concentration of up to 100 mg/kg of cadmium in phosphate minerals (for example, minerals from nurans and the Christmas islands) increases the contamination of soil with cadmium, for example in New Zealand. Steel industry wastes, recycled into fertilizers for their high levels of zinc (essential to plant growth), wastes can include the following toxic metals: lead arsenic, cadmium, chromium, and nickel. The most common toxic elements in this type of fertilizer are mercury, lead, and arsenic.

Concerns have been raised concerning fish meal mercury content by at least one source in Spain.

Radioactive element accumulation:

Uranium is another example of a contaminant often found in phosphate fertilizers (at levels from 7 to 100 pCi/g). Eventually these heavy metals can build up to unacceptable levels and build up in vegetable produce. Average annual intake of uranium by adults is estimated to be about 0.5 mg (500 g) from ingestion of food and water and 0.6 g from breathing air. Also, highly radioactive Polonium-210 contained in phosphate fertilizers is absorbed by the roots of plants and stored in its tissues; tobacco derived from plants fertilized by rock phosphates contains Polonium-210 which emits alpha radiation estimated to cause about 11,700 lung cancer deaths each year worldwide. For these reasons, it is recommended that nutrient budgeting, through careful observation and monitoring of crops, take place to mitigate the effects of excess fertilizer application

Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an orebody, lode, vein, (coal) seam or reef, which forms the mineralized horizon and package of economic interest to the miner. Coal ash: Historical deposition of coal ash used for residential, commercial, and industrial heating, as well as for industrial processes such as ore smelting, were a common source of contamination in areas that were industrialized before about 1960. Coal naturally concentrates lead and zinc during its formation, as well as other heavy metals to a lesser degree. When the coal is burned, most of these metals become concentrated in the ash (the principal exception being mercury), Coal ash and slag, may contain sufficient lead to qualify as a "characteristic hazardous waste", defined in the USA as containing more than 5 mg/L of extractable lead using the TCLP. procedure. In addition to lead, coal ash typically contains variable but significant concentrations of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs; e.g., benzo(a)anthracene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, benzo(k)fluoranthene, benzo(a)pyrene, indeno(cd)pyrene, phenanthrene, anthracene, and others). These PAHs are known human carcinogens and the acceptable concentrations of them in soil are typically around 1 mg/kg. Coal ash and slag can be recognized by the presence of off-white grains in soil, gray heterogeneous soil, or (coal slag) bubbly, vesicular pebble-sized grains.

A landfill site (also known as tip, dump, rubbish dump or dumping ground and historically as a midden) is a site for the disposal of waste materials by burial and is the oldest form of waste treatment. landfills have been the most common methods of organized waste disposal and remain so in many places around the world. Some landfills are also used for waste management purposes, such as the temporary storage, consolidation and transfer, or processing of waste material (sorting, treatment, or recycling). A landfill also may refer to ground that has been filled in with rocks instead of waste materials, so that it can be used for a specific purpose, such as for building houses. Unless they are stabilized, these areas may experience severe shaking or liquefaction of the ground in a large earthquake.

Industrial waste:
Industrial waste is the waste produced by industrial activity, such as that of factories, mills and mines. It has existed since the outset of the industrial revolution. Much industrial waste is neither hazardous nor toxic, such as waste fibre produced by agriculture .

Drainage is the natural or artificial removal of surface and sub-surface water from an area. Many agricultural soils need drainage to improve production or to manage water supplies.

Groundwater is water located beneath the earth's surface in soil pore spaces and in the fractures of rock formations. The study of the distribution and movement of groundwater is hydrogeology, also called groundwater hydrology. Typically, groundwater is thought of as liquid water flowing through shallow aquifers, but technically it can also include soil moisture, permafrost (frozen soil), immobile water in very low permeability bedrock, and deep geothermal or oil formation water. Groundwater may not be confined only to the Earth. The formation of some of the landforms observed on Mars may have been influenced by groundwater. There is also evidence that liquid water may also exist in the subsurface of Jupiter's moon Europa.

Treated sewage sludge, known in the industry as biosolids, has become controversial as a fertilizer to the land. As it is the byproduct of sewage treatment, it generally contains more contaminants such as organisms, pesticides, and heavy metals than other soil.

In the European Union, the urban waste water treatment directive allows sewage sludge to be sprayed onto land. The volume is expected to double to 185,000 tons of dry solids in 2005. This has good agricultural properties due to the high nitrogen and phosphate content.
Advocates say there is a need to control this so that pathogenic microorganisms do not get into water courses and to ensure that there is no accumulation of heavy metal in the top soil.

How to control soil pollution?

There are many factors which control the soil pollution. It includes : The limited use of fertilizers and pesticides. The biological control method must be known and implemented. The grazing must be controlled and forest management should be done properly. The afforestation and reforestation must be done. In areas of wind erosion wind breaks and shields must be used. The soil binding grass must be planted and the large trees must be placed along the banks. The industrial wastes must be dumped in the low lying areas. There is a definite technique of cropping which does not allow the weeds to settle on the fields. The mining ways must be improved along with their transportation. The area must not be left barren and dry.