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Soil Pollution Essay

Soil Pollution is soil contamination with chemicals and toxic substances that risk human health. It is a severe environmental problem that has a long-lasting impact on human health. When humans get exposed to highly benzene-contaminated soil, it poses the risk of humans getting affected by the leukemia crisis. It is worth knowing that all dirt has some compound with a little element of toxicity. However, such concentration of effluents in the ground is minimal and poses a minimum threat to the environment. When a poisonous substance is mixed in soil in massive amounts, then the soil is polluted and will cause tremendous damage to a living organism.

Soil Pollution Essay

Some of the contributing factors to this problem are:

  • Poor management/inefficient disposal of waste
  • Agriculture (excessive use of pesticides)
  • Huge Industrial Waste

Pollutants That are Contaminating the Soil

Xenobiotics: These pollutants are the most hazardous. They are not present in nature but are created due to human intervention. The word has a Greek origin, and 'Xenos' means foreigner and Bios (life). They are also known as carcinogens. Some of the major pollutants that are present in the soil are:

  • Hydrocarbons (42%)
  • Mineral Oil (20%)
  • Heavy Metals (31%)
  • Others (7%)

Various types of pollutants that are present in the polluted soil are:

  • Polycyclic Aromatic Carbons
Soil Pollution Essay

These are organic compounds, and they have:

  1. Contain more than one aromatic ring in their chemical structure.
  2. Presence of only one carbon and a hydrogen atom.

The name is PAH, i.e., Polycyclic Aromatic Carbons, which includes phenalene, naphthalene, and anthracene. Exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon will give rise to different forms of cancer. These organic compounds can cause cardiovascular diseases in human beings. The source of PAHs could be credited to vehicle emissions, coke(coal), extraction of shale oil, and cigarette smoke.


Pesticides are used in soil to disinfect, kill, or resist pests. Primarily used pesticides in agriculture are:

  • Fungicides: Used in the destruction of parasitic fungi or to resist their growth.
  • Herbicides: Used in the destruction/controlling of weeds.
  • Insecticides: Applied for the destruction of insects.

An unintended sprinkling of pesticides in the field is called pesticide drift, an extreme cause of concern and degrades soil and water quality. Contaminants that are available in pesticides are:


  • Pyrethrum
  • Organophosphates
  • Arsenic-containing compounds
  • Chlorinated Hydrocarbons


  • Copper Sulphate
  • Mercury-containing compounds
  • Thiocarbamates


  • Aliphatic acids
  • Triazines
  • Amides
  • Carbamates
  • Phenoxyalkyl acids

Such chemicals pose high threats to human health and have a long-lasting environmental impact. Such chemical directly damages the central nervous system and rise to disease like congenital disabilities and immune systems disease.

Process of Causing Soil Pollution

Soil Pollution is primarily classified in two ways:

  1. Anthropogenic Soil Pollution
  2. Naturally Caused Soil Pollution

Anthropogenic Soil Pollution

Most of the cases that have come to scientists are anthropogenic in nature. A lot of human activities contribute to this problem. Some of the processes are:

  • The destruction of old buildings may damage the quality of the soil.
  • Lead-based paint in construction activities contaminates the soil with the hazardous presence element called a lead.
  • Spilling diesel and petrol during transportation would contaminate soil as hydrocarbon is present in the petroleum.
  • Underground mining activities facilitate and promote the degradation of soil.
  • Sewage generated in Urban areas also degrades the quality of the soil. The wastes have the presence of carcinogenic substances.
  • Irregular and Improper treatment of Industrial waste left in an open field would severely contaminate the soil. For example, Storing toxic wastes in a landfill would facilitate the seepage of waste into the soil. It may pollute the groundwater as well.
  • Metal casting industries generally suppress their metallic waste into the soil. There are instances reported in the country that metallic substances have been found in the water.
  • Chemical pesticides are a great contributor to facilitating soil pollution. Excessive, irrational, and inefficient use of pesticides has caused too much destruction to the soil and environmental ecosystem.

Other pollutants include e-waste, coal ash, and nuclear waste.

Negative Results of Soil Pollution

Soil Pollution Essay

Soil Pollution

Soil Pollution has negative consequences on human beings, plants, and animals. Children are more vulnerable to diseases, which pose an immense risk to them.

Effects on Plants and Animals

Degradation of soil is closely associated with loss of nutrients in the soil. In case of the unavailability of nutrients present in the soil, the plant does not thrive. Inorganic aluminium-contaminated soils hurt plants. This form of contamination has the probability of increasing the salinity of the soil. The salinity of the soil makes it unfavorable for the plants to grow. Plants that thrive on polluted soil possess a high quantity of pollutants, and the whole process is called bioaccumulation. These plant that has grown in a contaminated atmosphere is consumed by the herbivores and get directly emitted into the food chain. It would lead to the extinction and loss of some animals. Some pollutants can reach the top level of the food chain and enter a human being.

Effects on Human Beings

Soil Pollution Essay

Soil Pollutants are present in all three mediums: liquid, solid, and gas. It makes a suitable way to reach the human body. They could reach through inhaling contaminated soil dust and direct skin contact. Short-period effects that can be seen after humans get exposed to contaminated soil include:

  • Weakness and Fatigue
  • Headaches, vomiting, and nausea
  • Irritation of the skin and the eyes
  • Coughing, wheezing, and pain in the chest

Lots of long-term diseases are directly connected to soil pollution, and such disease is:

  • High chances of getting cancer
  • Depression of the CNS (Central Nervous System)
  • Exposure to a high level of lead can cause permanent damage to the nervous system.
  • Damage to vital organs such as liver and kidney

It is interesting to know that contaminants like industrial solvents and petroleum hydrocarbon are directly connected to a congenital disorder.

Side-Effects on Environment Ecosystem

  • Acidic soils are most unfavorable for most microorganisms, and it helps improve soil texture and play a significant role in the decomposition of the soil, which is the most important condition for the absorption of air and water.
  • Soil pollution is one of the factors in acid rain (as it generates a lot of ammonia in the atmosphere)
  • It affects crop yield directly. Chinese 12 million tons of grains were found unfit for consumption as the grains were contaminated.

Ways to Control Soil Pollution

Prevention of soil pollution is a challenging task for the Government and society. It is a very complex issue and involves a multifaceted approach. The issue is getting bigger with each passing day, and concrete, viable and visible action needs to be taken. We are seeing the side effects of soil erosion worldwide, and the world needs to be more conscious of the problem. Some listed methods to prevent soil pollution are:

  • Rational and Reduced Usage of Chemical Fertilizer: Excessive use of Chemical Fertilizers harms the soil more. It degrades the quality, fertility, and texture of the soil. Farmers need to switch to manure and natural fertilizer. They do not have much impact on the soil, and they are eco-friendly.
  • Afforestation and Reforestation: Due to the mass cutting of trees, the soil gets eroded easily and is a major cause of concern. Afforestation and reforestation have to be undertaken at a massive scale. Afforestation has to be encouraged and promoted at the grassroots level.
  • Infusion of the Latest Technology in the mining sector to avoid maximum damage to the soil and environment.
  • Phytoremediation or Bioremediation: It uses plants and microorganisms to decontaminate the soil. The usage of fungi for treatment of accumulation of heavy metals waste is called Mycoremediation.
  • Contaminated particles could be extracted from the soil with a thermal remediation process. In this process, the temperature is increased to move the pollutants into the vapor phase, and here, the contamination is collected through the vapor extraction process.

Government Role in Preventing Soil Erosion

Soil pollution cannot be prevented without support and intervention from the Government. The problem of soil erosion directly affects the food security of the nation. The food security issue is the top priority of any government. The Government is compelled to take initiatives in this direction.

Central Government supported the plans

  1. Integrated Watershed Management Program
  2. Integrated Wasteland Development Programme
  3. National Mission for Green India
  4. Soil Conservation in the catchment of the River Valley Project
  5. Soil Health Cards Plans
  6. Command Area Development and Water Management program
  7. Fodder and Feed Development Scheme component of Grasslands Development including Grass Reserves
  8. National Watershed Development Project for Rainfed Areas (NWDPRA)
  9. National Afforestation Program, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
  10. Nagar Van Yojana
  11. Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana
  12. National Innovations on Climate Resilient Agriculture

Desertification and Land degradation atlas was launched to compare the situation between 2016 and (2003-05) and (2011-2013). The Government prepared National Action Programme for fighting desertification. Along with innumerable mega outreach events, the Government conducted seminars and programs to create awareness among the people.

NGOs Working for Land Pollution

  • Gram Chetna Kendra
  • Tropical Research and Development Center
  • Sankalp Taru Foundation
  • Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group
  • Janmitram Kalyan Samiti

Government-Backed Institute Working for Land Pollution

  • Indian Council for Agricultural Research
  • Indian Institute of Soil and Water Conservation
  • Central Arid Zone Research Institute
  • Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (Karnal)
  • Central Soil and Material Research station
  • All India Coordinated Research Project
  • National Afforestation and Eco-Development Board (Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change)
  • Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority

Frequently Asked Questions on Soil Pollution

Ques: What is the importance of the soil?

Ans: Water filtering, plant development, and Human nourishment depend on the soil. Soil helps regulate climate and houses more carbon than all of the world's forests combined. Human Survival entirely depends on the health of the soil.

Ques: What are the ways to control soil pollution?

Ans: Some of the well-known ways to control pollution are:

  • Proper recycling of batteries
  • Eat sustainable foodstuffs
  • Farming and Stockbreeding
  • Encourage eco-friendly models for the Industries.

Ques: What is Soil Conservation?

Ans: It is a combination of practices used to protect the soil from degradation, treat it as a living ecosystem, and return to the use of organic matter on a continued basis.

Ques: What are the good reasons to practice soil conservation?

Ans: Some of the good reasons to practice soil conservation are:

  • To improve soil quality
  • To improve wildlife habitat
  • Help in to develop an environment that is free from pollution
  • For the upcoming generation, there could be enough soil to support life
  • To have secured food supply at a reasonable price.
  • To improve water quality.

Ques: What are the techniques of soil conservation?

Ans: Some of the well-known soil conservation techniques are:

  • No-till farming
  • Conservation Tillage
  • Strip Farming
  • Contour Farming
  • Windbreak
  • Crop rotation

Ques: What are the major pollutants of the soil?

Ans: Some of the major pollutants of the soil are heavy metals such as lead and mercury, pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics used for livestock management, inorganic and organic solvent, and hydrocarbons.

Ques: What are the consequences of soil pollution?

Ans: Some of the dangerous consequences of soil pollution are:

  • Population Displacement
  • Species Extinction
  • Water and Air Pollution
  • Desertification
  • Poorer Harvests
  • Climate Change
  • Huge damage to health

Ques: What are some facts related to soil pollution?

Ans: Some of the unknown facts related to soil pollution are:

  • From 2001-2005, the US lost 831 square miles of forests
  • Americans comprise only 5% of the population but generate 30% of waste at the world scale.
  • Five hundred years is required for the regeneration of 2.5 cm of topsoil.

Ques: What are the different types of soil?

Ans: Different types of soil present are:

  • Sandy Soil
  • Silty Soil
  • Peaty Soil
  • Saline Soil
  • Loamy Soil

Ques: Which soil is most fertile?

Ans: The most fruitful and fertile soil is porous loamy soil. In this soil, clay, silt, and sand are available in equal amounts. The soil is rich in organic content and can hold water. It offers a nutrient-rich environment to the soil.

Ques: What is land degradation? How does it happen?

Ans: It is the loss of soil quality due to biological, physical, and chemical factors. Some visible features of the degraded soil are alkalinity, organic matter loss, and reduction in soil fertility.

Ques: Lists soil deposits found in India.

Ans: Eight soil deposits are found in India, and they are:

  • Laterite Soil
  • Alluvial Soil
  • Desert or arid soil
  • Black soil
  • Red Soil
  • Alkaline Soil
  • Mountainous Soil

Ques: What is Zero Budget Natural Farming?

Ans: The term Zero Budget Natural Farming means raising crops without the use of pesticides or any other external materials, and the word zero refers to zero cost involved in the production of all crops

Ques: What are the principles involved in Zero Budget Natural Farming?

Ans: Principals involved in the Zero Budget Natural Farming are:

  • Mixed Cropping
  • Pest Management through Botanical extracts
  • No external inputs
  • Minimal Disturbance of the soil
  • Integrate organic residues on the soil
  • Usage of indigenous seed
  • Integrate animals into farming
  • Water and Moisture Conservation
  • Biostimulants as necessary catalysts
  • Soil to be converted with crops 365 days
  • No synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides

Ques: Which states follow the Zero Budget Natural Farming model (ZBNF)?

Ans: Some of the states that are following the ZBNF model are:

  • Himachal Pradesh:
  • Karnataka
  • Andhra Pradesh

Ques: Is Zero Budget Natural Farming practical?

Ans: This method looks simple, doable, and easy. However, there are fundamental challenges, and even if farmers get input freely present in nature, farmers have to spend on labor and transportation.

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