The soil contamination It occurs when products and chemicals that the soil cannot decompose are released onto the ground. These substances pollute and degrade the soil and make your land infertile. Soil contamination endangers the ecosystem and the health of all living things.
The substances or elements that pollute soils can be solid, liquid or gaseous and are not biodegradable. For example: pesticides, plastics, petroleum derivatives.
Most of the polluting substances reach the soil as a product of human activity, either through household waste; or waste from industrial, agricultural and mining activities.
The alteration in the ecosystem that produces soil contamination destroys the crops, the flora and fauna typical of the place and produces an imbalance in the ecosystem. On certain occasions, soils are completely infertile and toxic.
Causes of soil contamination
Soil contamination can be caused by: direct contamination, when toxic waste, chemicals, pesticides are released on a certain area; or indirectly, when said substances are buried in landfills or garbage dumps, which also pollutes groundwater.
The main sources of pollution are: inadequate or faulty urban garbage disposal systems; waste from industries such as mining, construction, agriculture; atomic tests or nuclear accidents; deforestation.
On the other hand, soil contamination can occur naturally, as a result of the decomposition of some rocks that have heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, mercury and chromium; or gases released in volcanoes or fires that reach the ground.
Risks of soil contamination
- underground water pollution.
- Landscape degradation.
- Soil erosion and loss of its nutrients.
- Risks for the flora and fauna that inhabit these soils.
- Accumulation of pollutants in plants consumed by humans that can cause a risk to your health.
- Abandonment of agricultural activity.
Examples of soil pollutants
- Urban garbage.
- Petroleum derivatives.
- Pesticides: insecticides, herbicides, fungicides.
- Plastic bottles and containers.
- Metals like mercury, lead, arsenic, chromium.
- Pathogenic microorganisms.
- Acids and solvents.
- Nuclear waste.
- Gases produced by industries and transportation.
- Gases produced in fires and volcanoes.
- More examples in: Main soil pollutants