Soil pollution

Soil pollution

This animation demonstrates the main sources of soil pollution.

Geography

Keywords

soil pollution, soil, erosion, planting trees, environmental pollution, waste management, environmental protection, climate change, human activity, afforestation, deforestation, rubbish dump, settlements, agriculture, waste, composting, nuclear waste, sustainable development, radioactivity, animal husbandry, geography, plastic, chemical, transportation, industry, environment, society, nature

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Scenes

Soil pollution

  • garbage dump

Agricultural

  • - Animal fertilisers pollute the soil by filtering into it.
  • - pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, excessive fertilization

Industrial

  • - Incorrect radioactive waste management can lead to radioactive waste filtering into the soil and poisoning the environment for several thousand years.
  • - Waste resulting from industrial production processes is filtered into the soil by rain, thus polluting it.

Urban

  • - Urban areas produce a lot of waste. Due to incorrect waste management, toxic substances leaking from urban waste are washed into the soil.
  • - Fuel spilt by or seeping from vehicles used for urban and air transport filters into the soil.
  • diesel, gasoline, salting, runoff - Vehicles and industrial complexes emit sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxides. These chemical substances react with water droplets in the air and produce acids, which in the form of acid rain, fall to the ground and infiltrate the soil and seeps down to groundwater level as well.

Garbage dump

  • layers of garbage
  • - Environmentally harmful chemicals and radioactive waste infiltrate the soil.

Narration

The soil is the uppermost, fertile and loose layer of the Earth's crust. The substance and energy exchange between the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, and the biosphere take place in the soil. It is also essential for human life. Despite its importance, the soil is being polluted day by day. Soil pollution refers to the presence of foreign, mainly anthropogenic matter on the surface of the soil or permeating it.

The main sources of soil pollution are industry, agriculture and urban areas.

Around industrial complexes, heavy metals accumulate in the soil, which are later absorbed by plants and, as a result, these toxic substances enter the food chain as well. Radioactive pollutants filtered into the soil can poison the environment for several thousand years.

One of the main contributors to soil pollution is agriculture. Pesticides and fertilisers used in the fields filter into the ground. The most damage is caused by nitrogen washed into groundwaters, as it leads to the eutrophication of surface waters, and it also increases the nitrate content of drinking water. The excessive use of fertilisers, in the long term, can lead to the acidification of the soil, leaving barren lands.

Along roads, toxic matter, mostly heavy metals, accumulates in the soil due to traffic. The oil pollution of the soil is partly caused by oil leaking from millions of vehicles day by day.

Urban areas produce a lot of waste. Due to incorrect waste management, toxic substances leaking from urban waste are washed into the soil.

The decomposition time of certain types of waste is very long: in the case of paper and cotton, decomposition takes only several months, while in the case of plastic and metal, it takes decades. During the process of decomposition, toxic substances filter into the soil.

There are a whole lot of things you can do to protect the soil. First of all, try to produce less waste. Compost everything you can because this way you will turn food waste and other organic matter into precious resources for the soil. Use less chemicals in your garden and your entire household. Last but not least, grow more plants in your neighbourhood to protect the upper layers of the soil.

The protection of the soil is a challenge that has to be taken seriously by the entire society. It is important to preserve the vegetation: we should not burn plants nor cut down our forests, as this is one way to prevent the soil from eroding. By using crop rotation in the fields, we can maintain the fertility of the soil.
We have to reduce the amount of pollutants released into the air, the soil and the water. We have to pay more attention to wastewater treatment as well, that is, to purifying and recycling it. Correct waste management is also a crucial factor when it comes to protecting the soil.

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