Land pollution refers to the degradation of the Earth’s surface. Well, the unfortunate fact is that the leading cause of deterioration of the Earth’s surface is by humans, either direct ways or in indirect ways.
To support biodiversity on the planet, we have to treat this global issue immediately. . The unwanted contaminants accumulate to minimize the quality of the land. Before you implement the preventive measures to control land pollution, you must be aware of what causes land pollution and how it affects the environment. If you know the root cause of any problem, it helps to treat the particular problem much effectively, like land pollution.
Table of Contents
Causes of Land Pollution
Many causes contribute to land pollution, such as industrial waste, agricultural waste, household waste, etc. Some of the significant causes of land pollution include-
Deforestation is one of the significant causes of land pollution. Forest lands are losing the trees sometimes due to natural causes like forest fire but most of the time due to man-made reasons.
We carried out deforestation for various developmental reasons, but the sad truth is ‘once the land converted into barren land will not be able to gain its fertility again.’
The conversion of land leads to modification of its original properties that may hamper the land quite severely. Well, the population also triggers the deforestation. Forest lands are getting hampered in arranging permanent settlements for the increasing population across the world.
- Chemicals from agricultural activities
The use of fertilizers & pesticides has been increased a lot these days to improve productivity and to protect the crops from insects, fungi, bacteria, etc. This is happening again due to the increasing population worldwide.
Population increase is increasing the consumption level & demands at higher rates. As a result, agricultural activities have more involved in the use of hazardous toxins & chemicals to improve productivity.
The harmful chemicals used in the form of pesticides & fertilizers ultimately contaminate the land when mixed with the soil.
- Industrial disposal
The industrialization has increased our demands and the industries have to produce more & more goods to fulfill our desires. As the industrial activities have increased the amount of waste creation (especially manufacturing factories) has also been raised remarkably.
The factories and industries do not dispose of their waste correctly. They mostly dispose of their waste in water bodies or landfills. The improper disposal of industrial waste eventually ends up causing land pollution or water pollution.
- Mining activities
The mining activities involve several processes to extract various minerals and materials such as coal, iron, gold, etc. These extraction procedures can create substantial open spaces under the Earth’s surface which may lead to land caving disrupting land’s integrity.
Mining activities sometimes require harmful chemicals to extract natural resources from the Earth’s surface. These chemicals may have adverse implications on the soil that may ultimately hamper the plant & animal life.
Landfills majorly affect the soil and are one of the leading causes of land pollution. The dumps filled with garbage are the center of toxins that eventually goes deep inside Earth’s surface.
Especially during the rainy season, the toxins from landfills washed away with rainwater to other areas and spread land pollution from one place to another. The amount of wastes in landfills is increasing rapidly with the increase in population.
- Human sewage disposal
Sewage disposal is one of the big problems to avoid land pollution. It has to be treated in a professional way to safeguard the soil and more importantly, groundwater which is one of the essential sources of water for us.
If sewage is not treated correctly, it can produce harmful toxins that seep into the ground, causing land pollution. It contaminates the soil causing negative impacts on the organisms.
- Construction works
The world is developing every day. Every day there is new construction work going on to meet the expectation and needs of the people. Construction works involve several activities using many by-products such as metals, plastic, wood, etc.
If we do not dispose of these by-products properly after completion of the task, then it may cause harm to the ground. As a result, it will be affecting the flora & fauna of the region that comes in contact with these disposed of materials.
- Disposal of Nuclear waste
Nuclear waste is a hazardous way to contaminate the land. It may become a massive problem in the upcoming generations with the increase of technology. Most of the time, the radioactive waste are disposed beneath the ground. This way of disposal causes severe consequences by contaminating the land for many years.
Effects of Land Pollution
Land pollution affects all the components that rely on fertility, nutrients, and other natural resources of the land, whether it is plant, animals, or human beings. The main effects of land pollution are-
- Soil pollution
Land pollution is directly related to soil contamination. The agricultural activities like the use of pesticides or fertilizers damage the upper layer of the soil. If it continues for many years, then the land will lose its fertility and will not be used for agricultural purposes. Infertile land will no longer be used for cultivation and will be left as a barren land only.
- Climate change
It may sound a little awkward that land pollution affects the climate pattern, but it happens. Well, land pollution is not directly responsible for climate change, but indirectly, it affects the climatic conditions of the globe. Land pollution indirectly leads to global warming.
For example – if deforestation occurs in the rain forest, it will increase global warming as trees absorb carbon dioxide. When we cut the trees, it releases a massive amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and becomes responsible for global warming.
- Degrading the quality of groundwater
The harmful chemicals & toxins that reach the groundwater level beneath the Earth’s surface affect the purity of the groundwater.
These toxins contaminate the groundwater that ultimately affects our health, causing various health implications. Even plants and animals also have to suffer a lot due to groundwater contamination.
- Alteration in topsoil composition
The topsoil of the land plays a vital role in agricultural activities. It helps to maintain the productivity of the crops to fulfil the world’s need for food. The chemicals & toxins from various sources mix with the soil causing land pollution.
These chemicals alter the topsoil composition, and the soil becomes susceptible to harmful fungus. Hence, we must conserve the soil to maintain the fertility & productivity of the land.
- Impacts on human health
Pollution is harmful to our health in any way whether it is air pollution, water pollution, or land pollution. The uses of chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, etc. are in trend these days to increase productivity, but these chemicals are extremely hazardous for human health.
We pull groundwater from deep inside the Earth’s surface that we consume in broad stages. The groundwater has also been contaminated due to various human activities and disposal of waste. When we consume this contaminated groundwater, it causes multiple health problems for us.
- Impacts on the environment
The environment is getting affected quite adversely by the harmful impacts of land pollution. When deforestation happens in particular land, it directly affects the rain cycle. The imbalance in the rain cycle affects the fertility of soil due to the scarcity of water. As a result, the plants and trees have to suffer a lot that leads to various environmental issues such as global warming, climate change, greenhouse effects, extreme weather events, etc.
- Causes air pollution
Land pollution is also responsible for causing air pollution. A vast number of landfills and burning of garbage releases various harmful gases in the atmosphere. These gases decrease the quality of air. When we breathe in such unhealthy air, it causes various health issues such as respiratory problems, lung problems, etc.
- Impacts on wildlife
Since wildlife is an integral part of our ecosystem, how can it be safe from land pollution? The animal kingdom is equally paying for the land pollution caused mainly by human sources. One of the underlying problems that wildlife animals are facing is the ‘loss of habitat’.
Various human activities are releasing harmful toxins in the land due to which the animals have to move to other places. The animals find it quite tough to adjust to new regions. As a result, many species become endangered that increases the chances of their extinction.
Apart from this, the other environmental issues caused by land pollution like climate change, global warming, etc. are also affecting wildlife. These animals are finding it very tough to survive in the adverse conditions of climate change.
- Impacts on plants
Plants are majorly affected by land pollution as their survival depends on the soil itself. The harmful toxins alter the soil property that creates a big problem for the vegetation of the plant.
The poor-quality soil becomes a sensitivity issue for the plants and trees. In some cases where the plants fail to cope with soil alteration, it often leads to the extinction of these plant species.
For example – excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides causes more acidic soil. The local plants are not used to high acidic soil; hence they may not be able to reproduce efficiently and unfortunately died at the end.
- Impacts on tourism
The vast number of landfills not only affects the environment by polluting the land, but it also affects the tourism industry. These landfills decrease the attraction of a particular city that causes loss of revenue for the state governments.
Solutions to Control Land Pollution
We should take some preventive measure now to maintain the stability of the soil properties. Everybody’s cooperation is needed to tackle any environmental issue and so is required to treat land pollution. Here are some of the solutions to control land pollution.
- Fertilizers play one of the vital roles in destroying the soil properties. If we can minimize the use of fertilizers, we will be able to control land pollution to some extent.
- Similarly, minimizing the use of pesticides will also protect the land from getting polluted. It also pollutes the water bodies when these fertilizers or pesticides washed away from the contaminated area.
- 3Rs is a crucial practice to minimize the amount of waste in the landfill. Just make sure before you dump anything if you can go for any of the 3Rs options, i.e. reduce, recycle, and reuse.
- What is the main reason that is increasing the amount of waste in dumping yards? Yes, increasing the rate of consumption is one of the main reasons that increase the amount of garbage in landfills. To fight against land pollution, minimizing our consumption level is an effective way to control land pollution.
- Organic food will also help to prevent land pollution. If we switch to organic food, we will be able to avoid the use of pesticides and fertilizers. It also prevents water pollution.
- Plastic has become a significant issue for the entire world. It is a big environmental issue that not only pollutes the land but also destroys aquatic culture by polluting our oceans, river, and other water bodies.
- It is essential to throw this unhealthy material out of our lifestyle. We can start with single-use plastic. We should at least ‘say no to single-use plastic’ in our daily activities to protect our land.
- Waste disposal is also affecting the quality of land quite severely. Hence, proper waste disposal is crucial to tackling land pollution.
- Try not to purchase packaged products as they will end up increasing the landfills instead prefer to buy biodegradable items.
- Raising awareness always makes a difference to mitigate land pollution. You can share information or discuss the causes, effects, and solutions to treat land pollution.
- You can organize clean-up events to remove waste from the ground surface so that the soil can maintain its natural properties free from harmful pollutants.
Land pollution has become a huge environmental issue, especially after the industrial revolution. It is affecting plants, animals, and humans hampering their health. Many species of plants & animals are even finding it very difficult to manage the changes that occurred due to land pollution.
As we are majorly responsible for causing land pollution, hence it is our responsibility to mitigate this problem. It will help to sustain a healthy life for our future generations.