Definition & facts of Land Pollution
Land pollution refers to the ruining of the Earth’s land surfaces caused by human actions such as dumping urban waste matter indiscriminately, mineral exploitation and misuse of soil by using dangerous agricultural practices. The components of land pollution are visible litter and waste that is within the soil itself.
Land pollution includes
1 Solid Waste
The solid matter which is created by human actions or animal activities and is disposed because it is of no use to them is known as solid waste. Solid waste could include paper, wood, bottles, plastic wrappers, cloth, and sometimes even old cars and electronic gadgets. Some of these wastes are not biodegradable. This means that organic or inorganic processes are not able to break them down. These wastes accumulate and become a threat for people’s health. The sources of solid waste are:
a Mining wastes: Piles of slag and refuse remaining from the processing of coal.
b Agricultural wastes: Waste matter left by fertilizers, manure, crops and farm.
c Industrial wastes: Paints and chemicals remaining from industrial activities.
d Ashes: Matter released when solid fuels are burned.
e Garbage: Materials disposed by households which include cloth, glass, paper, plastic and so on.
2 Soil Pollution
Soil Pollution is caused by chemicals present in pesticides which are used to kill pests such as herbicides and insects. Soil pollution is a result of:
a Unhealthy methods of managing the soil
b Practicing wrong methods of irrigation.
Land pollution can have an adverse affect on the environment, human life, plants and animals. The toxic materials polluting the soil can directly get into the human body resulting in respiratory problems, skin infections, birth defects and also cancer.
There is an urgent need to control land pollution. For this, people should get into the habit of reusing or recycling household waste. Organic waste matter should be not be thrown close to residential places.
Land Pollution Facts
Though pollution has always been a part of the human landscape, the last 50 years have seen an explosion in industrial and urban development. With development came the use of synthetic and more toxic pollutants. Nonpoint source pollution (NSP) has worsened the effects. NSP is pollution that is dispersed through precipitation that makes it way into waterways.
According to the National Resources Defense Council, 2009 was the fourth consecutive year that beach closings have reached record numbers, totaling more than 20,000 closings.
According to a study by Yale Journal of Industrial Ecology, 70 to 80% of all environmental degradation is caused by transportation, food production, or energy production.
Heavy metals released into the environment from past industrial and mining activities, can enter the environment and circulate for many years due to atmospheric dispersal, making cleanup difficult and costly.
Mercury, released from coal by coal-burning power plants, is the greatest source of mercury emissions in the United States according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, causing toxic buildup in lakes and streams.
A Cornell University study estimates that 40% of deaths worldwide are caused by pollution, accompanied with a sharp increase in disease, setting up a scenario for continued human impact.