A change or alteration in the natural physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil because of human activities degrades the quality and productivity of the soil. This is known as soil pollution. Sources and Effects of Soil Pollution are
Sources of soil pollution
- Discharges from industries such as used chemicals and fly ash are dumped into the ground polluting the soil.
- Municipal wastes, hospital wastes, and market wastes lead to soil pollution.
- Use of chemical fertilizers which contain nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus results in soil pollution as it contaminates soil with impurities.
- Disposal of biomedical wastes such as hospital wastes and domestic wastes contaminates the soil with pathogens (disease-causing bacteria) which may affect human health. Intestinal parasites cause the most serious soil pollution problems in third-world countries.
- Pesticides and weedicides which are used for controlling pests and weeds on agricultural fields may settle on soil permanently, passing these toxic materials to plants
Effects of Soil Pollution
Soil pollution affects humans and animals through the process of the food chain.
- Industrial effluents and chemical wastes cause pollution of underground water.
- Crops and plants which grow on infected soil absorb the pollutants and then pass it on to animals and humans. This can result in chronic illnesses.
- Nitrogenous fertilisers produce toxic concentration of nitrate and nitrite in the leaves.
- Soil pollution results in the loss of soil fertility and hence affects its productivity.
Effects of Soil Pollution on Human Health
- Polluted soil may contain pathogens, viruses, and intestinal worms which may enter the human body through the consumption of fruits and vegetables. These bacteria and viruses may cause many types of diseases among humans.
- If humans consume animals that graze on grass and leaves of trees which are grown on soil affected with radioactive elements, it may create several abnormalities in human organs.
- Human and animal excreta also contain pathogens. This may contaminate the soil and crops which may indirectly affect human health.
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