Man has successfully lived through many civilizations, but with the change of each civilization he has moved further away from the earth and its conservation. Air, water or soil, nothing has been left untouched by the barbaric intervention of human beings. While the other two can be purified to an extent, soil is something which cannot be substituted with anything else or purified. Environmental historian Donald Worster correctly said that “fertilizers are not a substitute for fertile soil.” Human beings who arrogantly proclaim that anything can be built under a microscope, even with tons of chemicals cannot make a bucket full of pure soil. Sadly, even after all the hue and cry environmentalists make (or sadly, even after the environmentalists have been crying themselves hoarse), man is quick to forget that soil cannot be made again. Earth has become more like one giant garbage bin, filled with plastics, chemicals and all manners of non-biodegradable rubbish, polluting it to the core. Now that humans know that they can never be successful in making pure soil they are trying a plethora of other ways for enhancing the fertility of soil through various processes.
Soil is the thin layer covering the earth’s crust, containing both organic and inorganic materials covering it. While the organic part is made from the decayed remains of plants and animals, the inorganic part is made up of rock fragments. A productive soil is necessary for everything from food to the survival of any animal as it is a vicious circle. But soil pollution can deteriorate the quality, texture and even the mineral content of the soil causing a biological imbalance altogether.
Factors Causing Soil Pollution
Excessive Use Of Fertilizers
Plants need nutrients for growth and for nutrients other than carbon, hydrogen and oxygen that they get from the atmosphere farmers have to rely on chemical fertilizers. Soil deficiencies are corrected by farmers through artificial means like the chemical fertilizers, not knowing the harmful effects of these fertilizers on soil. The trouble starts when mixed fertilizers are used in the soil and the non-degradable metals that accompany the essential nutrients slowly begin to get amassed in the soil above preferred toxic levels. Like the damage phosphate fertilizers are notorious for doing.
Use Of Pesticides, Insecticides, Weedicides
These might kill the weeds or insects that can hinder the proper growth of the plant, but these harsh chemicals are also are also often responsible for depleting the fertility of the soil. The chemicals that are not easily broken get accumulated in the soil that can be a threat not only to the plants but also to the animals consuming it.
Waste in the form of garbage, plastic, non-biodegradable things not only pollutes fertile land but also alters the chemical and biological properties of soil. Even factory waste in the form of harmful chemicals, oils, or things that cannot be recycled can prove harmful to the soil.
Deforestation And Soil Erosion
Deforestation and soil erosion are very much interlinked. Many a factor can lead to soil erosion ranging from human activities to acid rain to floods. And most of these can be well attributed to deforestation. In the rage of building more of concrete jungles humans selectively forget about the harm it is doing to the environment.
Reducing Soil Pollution
There are other ways to add necessary nutrients to the soil other than chemical fertilizers. ‘Organic’ is the word of the day and what else will save the day other than organic fertilizers. Not only are they harmless to nature but they also nourish the soil unlike chemical fertilizers. The latest to be added to the list is bio-fertilization. In this form of fertilization, certain microorganisms are used to increase the soil fertility along with nurturing it.
Try to avoid pesticides as much as possible. Instead, try organic pesticides which help control pests without damaging the environment.
Recycling is the best option for clearing away unwanted things like paper, plastic and other things that can reduce piling up, but be used as landfill. This is a serious matter of concern in urban areas where there is no proper place for waste disposal.
For every tree that you cut another should be planted. Re-forestation is one way you can get rid of soil erosion and by which the lost fertility of the land can be regained to a certain limit.
Weeds absorb the necessary minerals out of the soil. Reducing weed growth can decrease soil pollution to a great extent.
Making compost pits can help reduce waste getting accumulated in places. Treating them chemically and biologically into less hazardous and less toxic materials can prove really beneficial for clearing away a lot of solid waste.