Soil pollution is a form of pollution which affects the soil and the organisms living in the soil. This is also a part of land degradation which is caused by human made, chemicals, or when there has been an alteration in the soil environment. This form of pollution is largely caused by improper dispose of waste, agricultural chemicals or the presence of heavy human industrial activity. The most common chemicals which causes soil pollution are; solvents, pesticides, lead, hydrocarbons, and other heavy metals. This type of pollution is often associated with high level of chemical usage and presence of industries.
This type of pollution has stemmed up from health risks, vapours from the contaminated soil environment, contamination of water supplies, direct contact with the soil which has been adversely contaminated.
CAUSES OF SOIL POLLUTION
Agrochemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.
Mining and heavy industrial activities
Spilling of oil residues into the soil
HERBICIDES AND PESTICIDES
Pesticides are substances used in killing pests. These substances could either be microbial, antimicrobial, chemical, or biological substances for the sole aim of killing pests. These pests may include birds, weeds, mammals, nematodes, fish, insects which compete with humans for food. They also destroy farm produce, cause problems, spread diseases on the farm or they themselves are carriers of vector causing diseases. These pesticides although beneficial to the plants also cause problems as they are toxic to both humans and organisms also posing serious health challenge to individuals.
Herbicides are a mixture of substances used to kill weeds. They are easily biodegradable by soil bacterias and are similar to auxins. Some of these herbicides are very toxic and may cause serious health problems even in low concentrations. Paraquat which is a herbicide is highly toxic but it degrades rapidly in the soil due to the effect of bacteria and does not kill the soil fauna.
Insecticides are used to get rid of pests on the farm which damage farm produce. These insects damage not only the crops but also damages the ones stored up in barns and silos and this is one of the major causes of the short supply of food in the world today.
HEALTH EFFECTS OF SOIL POLLUTION
The effects of polluted soil cannot be over emphasized as they pose serious health challenges to individuals. Some of these effects are stated below
They affect directly the human health through direct contact with the contaminated soil.
They cause chronic conginental disorders
They are carcinogenic to the body.
They are major sources of hazards in groundwater and soil.
High exposure to pesticides causes leukemia
They induce changes in the liver, kidney and depresses the central nervous system.
They are linked to liver toxicity
There should also be a clean-up of areas which have been adversely affected by soil pollutants.
Bioremediation should be applied when cleaning up the areas.
Land farming should be introduced to bring a balance in the soil as microorganisms flourish there.