Soil Pollution: a hidden reality. Rome, FAO. pp. The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the. REPORTING LAND. POLLUTION. To report land pollution, including suspected illegal dumping call EPA's hour. Pollution Hotline on. EPA VIC. Land Pollution Can. Harm Plants and. Animals. How does land pollution affect plant and animal? It can affect plants and harm animals that come into contact.
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A global Analysis of Land-Based Pollution Sources and the IW:Science Land- based Pollution Sources Working Group members: caite.info). 8 Chua . PDF | 20 minutes read | On Jan 1, , Zerrin Savaşan and others published Pollution, Land. An easy-to-understand guide to the causes and effects of land pollution.
However, the chemicals can cause the land to become barren. Narrowly defined, it's another term for soil contamination for example, by factory chemicals or sewage and other wastewater. Detailed information about the federal program to clean up hazardous waste sites in the United States. Without taking measures now to reduce pollution levels, permanent changes to the land can occur. The soil becomes more susceptible to harmful fungus species and begins to erode. Or people might get their water from rivers supplied by groundwater contaminated by landfill sites, mine workings, or otherwise polluted land some distance away. More to explore on our website
Without the protection of the trees, the land becomes barren over time and starts to erode.
Part of the farming process often involves the use of harmful pesticides and insecticides to protect crops. However, the chemicals can cause the land to become barren. The once-fertile soil is then more susceptible to environmental elements, such as the wind. The Industrial Revolution may have resulted in significant positive changes to the economy and society, but it also led to significant pollution of the land.
Through unsafe disposal practices for chemicals used in manufacturing, poor regulation, and the overwhelming number of industries and factories that are polluting the land daily, industrialization has become one of the main contributors to the pollution problem. The mining process can lead to the creation of large open spaces beneath the surface of the earth.
This can result in the land caving in, which compromises the integrity of the land. Mining also results in harmful chemicals, such as uranium, being disturbed and released into the environment. The garbage found at landfills is filled with toxins that eventually seep into the earth. During rains, the toxins are washed into other areas and the pollution is spread. As the population grows, the amount of garbage filling landfills also grows.
Untreated human waste can produce toxic gases that can seep into the ground. As with air pollution, the soil quality is negatively impacted, and land nearby can be contaminated. In addition to this, the probability of human illnesses occurring increases.
The contamination of the land has far-reaching consequences that can be catastrophic for water, soil, and animals. There are several possible consequences of land pollution to the environment and animals, including these top five:. Depending on the soil and whether the chemicals were improperly disposed of on the land, the chemicals could end up in the ground water.
The process is known as leaching. It can occur on farms, industrial sites, and landfills. Chemicals, such as nitrogen, are used frequently on farms. Only a small portion of the nutrients end up benefitting the crops. The remainder usually ends up in water that is populated by fish, algae, and other lifeforms.
The nutrient-heavy water saps up most of the oxygen in the water, which leaves little for fish and other life. When this happens, the water is unable to support most lifeforms. For more information on water polution, click here. The soil becomes more susceptible to harmful fungus species and begins to erode. It is important to conserve our soil to maximize land productivity.
As deforestation and soil erosion progress, animals are forced to move to find shelter and food.
For some animals, the change is too traumatic, and this has led to some dying. As a result, some species are at a greater risk of extinction. The dry conditions created by pollutants in the soil help to create the perfect environment for wildfires. The fires can grow quickly because of the dry conditions and widening area of polluted land.
The impact of land pollution is not limited just to the earth and animals. Humans can also experience negative consequences that can influence quality of life and health.
Some of the potential consequences include birth defects, the development of breathing disorders, skin diseases, and cancer. Most of these develop after exposure to waste from water poisoning and soil contamination.
Land pollution has also been linked to developmental deficits in children. There are several possible solutions to land pollution, including conservation. Conservation focuses on preserving natural resources, such as soil and plants.
The efforts to conserve resources can start with utilizing sustainable practices. Add up that effect for every major city in the world and you get an idea of how big an impact urbanization has had. Today's figures are staggering. According to the Global Footprint Network, the ecological footprint of most countries what they use hugely exceeds their biocapacity what they can produce: One of the problems of urbanization is that, by concentrating people, it concentrates their waste products at the same time.
So, for example, crudely disposing of sewage from a big city automatically creates water or land pollution, where the same number of people and the same volume of sewage might not create a problem if it were created in 10 smaller cities or small towns.
Concentration is always a key factor when we talk about pollution. Having said that, it's important to remember that urbanization, when it works, can also help people to live very efficiently.
Thus, New York has the lowest ecological footprint of any state in the USA, largely because people there have smaller homes and make greater use of public transportation . Greenfield to brownfield: This once-green field will soon be a large housing estate. People need homes to live in, but they also need green spaces—and agricultural land to feed them.
Those of us who are lucky enough to live in rich countries take our basic survival for granted: The reality is that seven billion hungry people consume a vast amount of food. Feeding the world on such a scale is only possible because agriculture now works in an industrial way, with giant machines such as tractors and combine harvesters doing the work that hundreds of people would have done in the past, and chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides herbicides that kill weeds and insecticides that kill bugs increasing the amount of food that can be grown on each piece of land.
Unfortunately, most pesticides are by definition poisons, and many remain in the soil or accumulate there for years. One infamous and now widely banned pesticide, DDT , is not ordinarily biodegradable so it has remained in the environment ever since it was first used in the midth century and even spread to such places as Antarctica .
DDT is just one of many organic carbon-based chemicals that remain in the environment for years or decades, known as persistent organic pollutants. Air pollution doesn't remain air pollution forever. Ideally it disperses, so the concentration of problematic chemicals becomes so low that it no longer constitutes pollution.
Sometimes, though, it falls back to the ground and becomes either water pollution if it enters the oceans, rivers , and lakes or land pollution. Pollution created "deposited" in water or land from existing pollution in the air atmosphere is known as atmospheric deposition.
Land can become polluted by deposition in some very unexpected ways. For example, a corridor of land either side of a highway or freeway becomes systematically polluted over time with all kinds of harmful byproducts of road travel—everything from fuel spills and brake linings to dust worn from the pavement and heavy metal deposits such as lead washed from the engines. These chemicals accumulate in the soil where they can undergo reactions with one another and form substances that are even more toxic .
Two important things are worth noting about atmospheric deposition. First, it means no land on Earth—not even the most isolated island—can be considered completely safe from pollution: Second, if you're doing something that causes pollution maybe spreading weedkiller on your garden or perhaps running a factory where ash is discharged from a smokestack , the effects are not necessarily going to be confined to the place where the pollution is first produced.
It's important to remember that pollution knows no boundaries. Soil erosion turns fields into deserts.
If you define "land pollution" as irreversible damage to the land, you have to include soil erosion as a type of pollution too. Many people think soil is soil, always there, never changing, ever ready to grow whatever crops we choose to bury in it. In reality, soil is a much more complex growing habitat that remains productive only when it is cared for and nurtured. Too much wind or water, destruction of soil structure by excessive plowing, excessive nutrients, overgrazing, and overproduction of crops erode soil, damaging its structure and drastically reducing its productivity until it's little more than dust.
At its worst, soil erosion becomes desertification: How serious is the problem? Deforestation doesn't only harm the place where the trees are cut down.
A study by Princeton University researchers found that if the Amazon rainforest were completely destroyed, it would have a dramatic effect on the atmosphere, which would carry across to places like the United States, causing drought and potentially desertification there as well .
Unfortunately, because soil erosion has so far affected developing countries more than the developed world, it's a problem that receives relatively little attention. Accelerating climate change will soon alter that.
In a future of hotter weather and more intense storms, it will become increasingly difficult to maintain soil in a fertile and productive state, while heavy rainstorms and flash floods will wash away topsoil more readily.
Meanwhile, agriculture may become impossible in coastal areas inundated by saltwater carried in by rising sea levels. We might think of global warming as an example of air pollution because it's caused mostly by humans releasing gases such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
But if it leads to dramatic sea-level rise and coastal erosion, you could argue that it will become an example of land pollution as well. With luck and the right atmospheric conditions, air and water pollution disperse and disappear. What makes land pollution such a problem is that land is static, so land pollution stays exactly where it is until and unless someone cleans it up. Land that's polluted stays polluted; land that's urbanized almost invariably stays urbanized.
As we've already see, plastics take hundreds of years to disappear while radiation can contaminate land for ten times longer.
That means landfill sites and radioactive waste dumps remain that way pretty much indefinitely. The simplest effect of land pollution is that it takes land out of circulation. The more land we use up, the less we have remaining. That might not sound a problem where there's plenty of land in rural areas, but it's certainly a concern where productive agricultural land is concerned, especially as the world's population continues to increase.
The biggest problem comes when contaminated land is returned to use, either as building or agricultural land. Houses might be built on brownfield former industrial sites that haven't been cleaned up properly, putting future owners and their families at risk.
Or people might get their water from rivers supplied by groundwater contaminated by landfill sites, mine workings, or otherwise polluted land some distance away. Illnesses such as cancer develop over years or decades for a variety of reasons and it's extremely difficult to prove that they've been caused by something like local environmental pollution, especially when people move homes during their lifetime. No-one knows how much land is contaminated, how contamination varies from one place to another, or how land contaminants react with one another once they enter watercourses and become water pollution.
So the scale of the problem and its ultimate effects are impossible to determine. However, we do know what effect individual pollutants have. We know, for example, that lead is a toxic heavy metal that has all kinds of unpleasant effects on human health; it's been implicated in developmental deficits such as reductions in intelligence in children .
We know that some chemicals are carcinogenic cancer-causing  while others cause congenital defects such as heart disease . At the very least, it seems prudent not to introduce dangerous chemicals, such as persistent organic pollutants, into the environment where they may mat harm people's health for many years into the future. Why does land pollution matter? Although Earth might seem a pretty big place, only about a third of its surface is covered in land, and there are now over seven billion people trying to survive here.
Most of our energy around 85 percent worldwide  still comes from fossil fuels buried under the ground and, since we haven't yet figured out how to mine in space, so do all our minerals. Much of our food is grown on the surface of the planet; the water we need comes from the planet's surface too or from rocks buried just underground. In short, our lives are as intimately tied to the surface of Earth as the plants that grow from the ground.
Anything that degrades, damages, or destroys the land ultimately has an impact on human life and may threaten our very ability to survive. That's why we need solutions to the problem. What kind of solutions?
Ideally, we'd look at every aspect of land pollution in turn and try to find a way of either stopping it or reducing it. With problems like waste disposal, solutions are relatively simple. We know that recycling that can dramatically reduce the need for sending waste to landfills; it also reduces the need for incineration, which can produce "fly ash" toxic airborne dust that blows may miles until it falls back to land or water. We'll always need mines but, again, recycling of old materials can reduce our need for new ones.
In some countries, it's now commonplace to require mine operators to clean-up mines and restore the landscape after they've finished working them; sometimes mine owners even have to file financial bonds to ensure they have the money in place to do this. Greater interest in organic food and farming might, one day, lead to a reduction in the use of harmful agricultural chemicals, but that's unlikely to happen anytime soon.
Even so, public concerns about food and chemical safety have led to the withdrawal of the more harmful pesticides—in some countries, at least. Ideally, we don't just need to stop polluting land: In the United States, a program called the Superfund has been decontaminating hundreds of polluted sites since Where sites can't be completely restored, it's possible to "recycle" them and benefit the environment in other ways; for example, a number of contaminated sites and former mines in the United States have now become wind farms or sites for large areas of solar panels .
New technologies will almost certainly make it easier to "recycle" polluted land in future. For example, the relatively new form of waste disposal called plasma gasification makes it possible to "mine" former landfills, converting the old waste into an energy-rich gas and a relatively safe solid waste that can be used as a building material. Bioremediation is another very promising land-cleaning technology, in which microbes of various kinds eat and digest waste and turn it into safer end-products; phytoremediation is a similar concept but involves using plants, such as willow trees, to pull contaminants from the soil.
All these things offer hope for a better future—a future where we value the environment more, damage the land less—and realize, finally, that Earth itself is a limited and precious resource. Thankfully, microorganisms don't mind tackling the kind of waste we'd prefer to dump and ignore.
Woodford, Chris. Retrieved from https: You are here: Land pollution. Sponsored links. Detailed information about the federal program to clean up hazardous waste sites in the United States. UK Environment Agency: Land contamination: Official information about the UK's policy of cleaning up contaminated land. Articles Land degradation threatens human wellbeing, major report warns by Jonathan Watts. The Guardian, March 26, Over 3. One fifth of China's farmland polluted by Jennifer Duggan. The Guardian, April 14, Report Says by Elisabeth Rosenthal.
The New York Times, June 28,