Land Pollution is the degradation of Earth’s land surfaces often caused by human activities and their misuse of land resources. It occurs when waste is not disposed properly. Haphazard disposal of urban and industrial wastes, exploitation of minerals, and improper use of soil by inadequate agricultural practices are a few factors. Urbanization and industrialisation are major causes of land pollution. The Industrial Revolution set a series of events into motion which destroyed natural habitats and polluted the environment, causing diseases in both humans and animals.
Examples of Land Pollution
Soil pollution is mainly due to chemicals in herbicides (weed killers) and pesticides (poisons which kill insects and other invertebrate pests). Litter is waste material dumped in public places such as streets, parks, picnic areas, at bus stops and near shops.
The accumulation of waste threatens the health of people in residential areas. Waste decays, encourages household pests and turns urban areas into unsightly, dirty and unhealthy places to live in.
Sources of Land Pollution
Some of the main contributors to land pollution are:
- Chemical and nuclear plants
- Industrial factories
- Oil refineries
- Human sewage
- Oil and antifreeze leaking from cars
- Overcrowded landfills
- Construction debris
Facts about Land Pollution
Here are a few facts about land pollution:
- Every year one American produces over 3285 pounds of hazardous waste
- Land pollution causes us to lose 24 billion tons of top soil every year
- Americans generate 30 billion foam cups, 220 million tires and 1.8 billion disposable diapers every year
- We throw away enough trash every day to fill 63,000 garbage trucks
- Every day Americans throw away 1 million bushels of litter out their car window
- Over 80% of items in landfills can be recycled, but they’re not
Causes of Land Pollution:
- Increase in urbanization. Construction uses up forestland. More constructions means increase in demand for raw materials like timber. This leads to the exploitation and destruction of forests. There is more demand for water. Reservoirs are built leading to the loss of land.
- Increase in agricultural land. As the human population grew there was a greater demand for food. This caused more land allocated to agriculture. Forests were cut down for this purpose.
- Domestic waste. Every single day, tons and tons of domestic waste is dumped ranging from huge pieces of rubbish such as unused refrigerator to fish bones. If all these wastes are not disposed of properly, the damage they can do to the environment and humankind can be devastating. While waste collected from homes, offices and industries may be recycled or burnt in incinerators, a large amount of rubbish is neither burnt nor recycled but is left in certain areas marked as dumping grounds. We throw away more things today and there is an increase in the quantity of solid waste. This has given rise to problems as new dumping grounds have to be found.
- Agricultural activities. Besides domestic waste, pesticides and herbicides used by farmers to increase crop yields also pollute the land when they are washed into the soil.
- Industrial activities. Industrial activities also are a contributing factor to land pollution. For example, in open cast mining, huge holes are dug in the ground and these form dangerously deep mining pools. Heaps of mining waste are left behind and these waste often contain several poisonous substances that will contaminate the soil.
Pollution sources include plastics factories, chemical plants, oil refineries, nuclear waste disposal activity, large animal farms, coal-fired power plants, metals production factories and other heavy industry.
Effects of Land pollution
- exterminates wild life
- acid rain kills trees and other plants.
- vegetation that provides food and shelter is destroyed.
- it can seriously disrupt the balance of nature, and, in extreme cases, can cause human fatalities.
- pesticides can damage crops; kill vegetation; and poison birds, animals, and fish. Most pesticides kill or damage life forms other than those intended. For example, pesticides used in an effort to control or destroy undesirable vegetation and insects often destroy birds and small animals. Some life forms develop immunity to pesticides used to destroy them.
Reducing Land Pollution
We can take the following steps:-
- encourage organic farming
- proper garbage disposal
- recycle garbage
- reduce use of herbicides and pesticides
- Avoid overpackaged items
- efficient utilization of resources and reducing wastage