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Chapter 4

Land and Soil


Section 1
Conserving Land and Soil
3 uses that change the land are agriculture,
development, and mining.
Less than 1/3 of Earth can be farmed. New
farmland must be created for the growing
In the U.S. about a million hectares of
farmland is developed each year.
Development is the construction of
buildings, roads, bridges, dams and other


Mining is the removal of nonrenewable resources

such as iron, copper, and coal from the land.

Strip mining removes a strip of land to obtain minerals, and

then replacing the strip. This exposes the soil and can be
washed or blown away. These areas can remain barren for
years before they are rich enough to support the growth of
new plants.

Protecting the Soil


soil management can result in 3

problems: erosion, nutrient
depletion, and desertification.


Litter: The very top layer of dead leaves and

Topsoil: A mixture of rock fragments, nutrients,
water, air, and decaying animal and plant matter.
Subsoil: Below the topsoil, contains rock
fragments, water and air, but less animal and
plant matter.
Bedrock: Soil that makes up Earths crust.
It takes hundreds of years to form just a few
centimeters of new soil.

Is the process by which water, wind, or
ice moves particles of rocks or soil.

Nutrient Depletion

Nutrient Depletion: When farmers plant the

same crops in a field year after year. As a result,
the plants use more nutrients than the
decomposers can replace. The soil becomes less


advance of desertlike conditions

into areas that previously were

Restoring the Land


Reclamation: The process of

restoring an area of land to a more
natural, productive state.
Smooth and replace strip mines with
new topsoil.
Plant grass.


three ways that people use land.

What are 3 problems that can occur
when topsoil is not properly
Describe the effects of strip mining.
Describe two methods for reducing
soil erosion.

Section 2
Solid Waste

Every hour people throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles.

Every year people throw away enough white paper to build
a wall 4 meters high that stretches coast to coast.
Every year people throw away 1.6 billion pens, 2.9 million
tons of paper towels, and 220 million automobile tires.

Problem of Waste Disposal


solid waste : Waste

materials produced in homes,
businesses, schools, and other places
in a community.

Three methods of handling solid waste.

You can bury it, burn it, or recycle waste.

Leachate: Polluted liquid, from the rainwater that has

dissolved chemicals from the waste.


Landfills: Holds municipal

solid wastes, construction debris, and
some types of agricultural and
industrial waste.


The burning of solid waste is called incineration.

The advantages of incinerators is that they do not

take up as much space as landfills, they do not
pose the risk of polluting groundwater, and the
heat they produce can generate electricity.

Disadvantage is that they are more expensive to


Recycling: The process of reclaiming raw
materials and reusing them.
Biodegradable: A substance that can be
broken down and recycled by bacteria and
other decomposers.
Most recycling focuses on 4 major
categories of products: metal, glass,
paper, and plastic.

Products to Recycle


Metals such as iron and aluminum can be melted

and reused. Recycling metal saves money and
causes less pollution than making new metal.


Glass is one of the easiest products to recycle

because it can be melted down over and over to
make new glass containers.
Recycling glass is less expensive than making
glass from raw materials. Less energy is
required. It also reduces the environmental
damage caused by mining for sand, soda, and


Most paper products can only be recycled a few

Each time the paper is recycled to make pulp, the
new paper is rougher, weaker, and darker.
It takes about 17 trees to make one metric ton of


When oil is refined to make gasoline and other

petroleum products, solid materials called resins
are left over.
These resins can be heated, stretched, and
molded into plastic products.
Numbers are found on the bottom of plastic
containers. The numbers 1 & 2 are made from
plastics that are often recycled.

What Can You Do?

These are sometimes called the 3 Rs
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
Reduce: Refers to creating less waste in
the first place. (Use cloth shopping bags
than disposable paper or plastic bags.
Reuse: Find another use for the object
rather than discarding it.( Example ???)
Recycle: Reclaiming raw materials to
create new products.


Composting: Is the process of helping the

natural decomposition processes break down
many forms of waste.
Compost is an excellent natural fertilizer for
Examples: (Raked leaves, grass, food waste,
eggshells, coffee grounds and cow manure)

Section 3
Hazardous Wastes

wastes are classified into

4 categories: Toxic, Explosive,
Flammable, and Corrosive.

Toxic Waste

poisonous wastes that an

damage the health of humans and
other organisms.

Explosive Waste

waste that react very quickly

when exposed to air or water, or that
explode when they are dropped.

Flammable Waste

waste that catch fire easily and

can begin burning at fairly low

Corrosive Waste

waste that dissolve or eat

through many materials.

Radioactive Waste

Are waste that contain unstable atoms. They require

special disposal.

Health Effects

exposure to hazardous
wastes, may cause irritation or more
severe health problems.
Long-term exposure to hazardous
wastes, may cause diseases, such as
cancer,, and may damage body
organs, including the brain, liver,
kidneys, and lungs.

Disposal of Hazardous Waste


of hazardous waste disposal

include burial in landfills,
incineration, and breakdown by living
organisms. Another method involves
storing liquid wastes in deep rock
Scientists have not been able to
develop completely safe methods for
disposing of radioactive waste.