Here is a compilation of essays on ‘Soil Pollution’ for class 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short essays on ‘Soil Pollution’ especially written for school and college students.
Essay on Soil Pollution
- Essay on the Introduction to Soil Pollution
- Essay on the Sources of Soil Pollution
- Essay on the Types of Soil Pollution
- Essay on the Effects of Soil Pollution
- Essay on the Prevention of Soil Pollution
- Essay on the Management Approaches to Soil pollution
1. Essay on Soil Pollution (Introduction):
Soil pollution is the alteration in the natural soil environment caused by the presence of human-made (xenobiotic) chemicals. All kinds of pollutants that cause degradation of soil resources also referred as soil pollution. Pollutants are the chemicals substances that bring about an undesirable change in the physical, chemical or biological characteristics of land or soil.
These changes are undesirable because they have harmful effects on the ecosystem. The most common chemicals involved are petroleum hydrocarbons, poly-nuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (such as naphthalene and benzopyrene), solvents, pesticides, lead mercury and other heavy metals.
Besides these soils contamination can be caused by application of pesticides and fertilizers, mining, oil and fuel dumping, disposal of coal ash, leaching from landfills, drainage of contaminated surface water into the soil, discharging urine and faces in the open.
Items such as plastic bags, plastic bottles and other plastic articles, nylon substances, cans and so on are all examples of waste which is considered ‘litter’ and which is not bio-degradable. These wastes can remain in an ecosystem for many-many years without breaking down or decomposing and cause soil pollution.
Soil is one of the major abiotic factors in an ecosystem. When the coal is burned, most of these metals become concentrated in the ash (the principal exception being mercury). Coal ash and slag may contain sufficient lead to qualify as a “characteristic hazardous waste”, Treated sewage sludge, known in the industry as bio-solids, has become controversial as a fertilizer to the land.
As it is the byproduct of sewage treatment, it generally contains more contaminants such as organisms, pesticides, and heavy metals than other soil. The pesticide is a chemicals substance or mixture of substances used to kill a pest.
A pesticide may be a chemical substance, biological agent (such as a virus or bacteria), antimicrobial, that used against any pest. Pests include insects, plant pathogens, weeds, mollusks, birds, mammals, fish, nematodes (roundworms) and microbes that compete with humans for food, destroy property, spread or are a vector for disease or cause a nuisance.
Although there are benefits to the use of pesticides, there are also drawbacks, such as potential toxicity to humans and other organisms. Trinitrotoluene (2, 4-D and 2, 4, 5-T), DDT, Aldrin, Dieldrin, Paraquat, and BHC are non-degradable pesticide and or herbicides. Industrial waste or man-made wastes of naturally occurring substances, such as nitrate and ammonia associated with livestock manure from agricultural operations, have also been identified as health hazards in soil and groundwater.
The organisms that live in most affected area i.e. high concentrated with pesticides and or herbicide. DDT found in fish that formed part of the human food chain and also found in the liver, kidney and brain tissues. Benzene at sufficient concentrations is known to be associated with leukemia. Mercury and cyclodienes are known to induce kidney damage.
Many chlorinated solvents induce liver, disorders, kidney disorders and depression of the central nervous system. There are several health problems such as headache, nausea, fatigue, eye irritation and skin rash for the above cited and other chemicals. At sufficient dosages a large number of soil contaminants can cause death by exposure via direct contact.
Contaminated or polluted soil directly affects human health through direct contact with soil. Potentially greater threats of soil pollutions are the utilization of groundwater, as we know that infiltration of soil contamination into groundwater aquifers used for human consumption.
Organic-phosphates and organic-carbonates contaminant ground water through soil can induce a chain of responses leading to neuromuscular blockage. High contamination of chromium, lead and other heavy metals, petroleum, solvents, and many pesticide and herbicide formulations are carcinogenic, and can cause cancer as well as congenital disorders, or can cause other chronic health conditions.
Local government agencies work within the policies and legislation of the provincial and national government. Special areas are analyzed and demarcated for dumps of toxic waste. When contravention of the Acts and laws is suspected, local government will investigate the process with the support of provincial and national departments. If people or companies are found to be guilty, they might face major fines and even imprisonment. Companies and factories might be closed down.
2. Essay on Soil Pollution (Sources):
Many of these organisms help in the decomposition of soil organic material and nutrient cycling. The soil itself acts as an ecosystem with diverse forms of life which can easily be arranged in various trophic tiers. The soil over the years has become contaminated by a number of ways and such soil is popularly known as soil pollution or land pollution.
Domestic wastes from our households include groceries, food scraps, vegetable remains, peels of fruits, packing materials, cans, cardboard, cartoons, rags, paper, cinders, ash, broken gadgets, wood, worn-out furniture’s, metals, bones of dead animals, plastics, polythene bags, ceramics, glass, aluminium, rubber, leather, and other junks.
Some of the above materials (paper, scrap metal, polythene, plastic etc.) can be used again but majority of them cannot be reused and must be got rid off. All these constitute the municipal refuse and are dumped into drains or lands. If these rubbish are not properly disposed they can prove perilous, filthy and unhygienic. In such places thrive mosquitoes, flies, rats, bacteria and many other vectors, which may spread numerous human diseases.
Hospital wastes have been the most neglected concern. Everyday numerous hospitals and health care centres produce millions of tonnes of waste. It is estimated that each patient generates 2 kg of waste each day. Out of this around 800-950 g constitute infectious pathological and anatomical wastes (Malik, 1992).
Hospital wastes consist of antibiotics cytotoxic drugs, used cotton, pads, syringe, plastic bottles, infected catheters, soiled dressings and also corrosive chemicals and radioactive substances. An alarming percentage of these lie in the open.
These act as breeding grounds for lethal virulence and epidemics. Although the amount of municipal waste is almost five times that of hospital waste, the potentiality of the latter in both vector generation and disease transmission is high. Its propensity to encourage growth of pathogens and ability to contaminate the non-hazardous solid wastes jeopardizes the efforts undertaken for municipal waste management.
3. Essay on Soil Pollution (Types):
Soil pollution is of two types:
A. Negative Soil Pollution:
It involves the loss of some useful components of soil and includes:
1. Soil erosion.
2. Overgrazing. Explained in Land degradation.
3. Developmental activities.
B. Positive Soil Pollution:
It involves addition of some unwanted materials in the soil making it less fit for human use.
It is caused by:
1. Pesticides and Weedicides:
(a) Chlorinated hydrocarbons like DDT, DDE, Chlordane, Aldrin, Dialdrin, Endrin, Heptachlor, BHC, etc.
(b) Organo-pesticides including organophosphates (e.g. malathion, parathion, diazonin, trithion, ethion, tetra ethyl phosphates) and carbonates.
(c) Inorganic pesticides usually contain arsenic and sulphur.
(d) Weedicides to control weeds in agriculture, horticulture and in forest management, e.g. Weeds of Aswan dam in Egypt were controlled by weedicides.
2. Industrial wastes being dumped into the soil.
3. Mine dust being the major source of pollution in mining areas and is added either during the transportation of the ores or during the purification process.
Excessive and unplanned use of chemical fertilizers deteriorates the soil.
5. Other Pollutants:
The soil also receives a number of air pollutants and many water pollutants, e.g., lead of automobile exhausts; fluorides from the polluted water, etc.
4. Essay on Soil Pollution (Effects):
1. The industrial pollutants increase the toxicity levels of the soil. In 1970, about 200 people died in Japan by cadmium poisoning of soil causing Itai-itai disease.
2. Soil pollution due to domestic sewage may cause diseases like giardiasis, tetanus, enteric fever, etc. in human beings.
3. Soil pollution may also cause several plant diseases.
4. Excessive and unplanned use of fertilizers cause accumulation of nitrates in the soil which may cause cyanosis or blue baby syndrome.
5. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) pesticides cause nervous disorders, diseases of lungs and even cancers.
6. Parthenium has now become a noxious pantropical weed. It reduces the crop yield by 31.5%, especially of kharif crops like sugar beet, carrot, onion, etc.
7. Eco-degradation of Himalayan ecosystems due to mushrooming of urban construction, soil erosion, faulty land use, etc.
8. Eupatorium—a rare parasitic and poisonous weed and locally called Assam lata, is threatening the genetic treasure of the Simipal Reserve Forest.
9. Weedicides act as metabolic inhibitors so reduce the plant yield. These also cause ecological boomerang or backlash (negative effects of substances in later period).
10. Mine dust causes many types of deformities in animals and human beings. It also destroys the vegetation in the area.
11. Excess of chemical fertilizers reduces natural bacterial population in the soil.
12. Nitrates of the chemical fertilizers cause methaemoglobinaemia in man and is characterized by decreased O2 transport by blood.
13. Excess of fluorides cause fluorosis.
14. A recent study of Tata Energy Research Institute has shown that the area covered by land degradation has increased by almost 800 lakh hectares, spelling down for agriculture productivity.
5. Essay on Soil Pollution (Prevention):
1. Improved agricultural methods might help to reduce the washing of fertilizers into water-ways.
2. An efficient system of disposal should be developed to deal with domestic solid waste.
3. Solid wastes should be pretreated and recycled and only minimum quantity of such wastes should be discharged.
4. Proper legislation should be passed and strictly enforced. Stringent laws should be imposed on defaulters.
5. Reforestation and plantation of grasses. Indian Forest Policy aims at 60% forest cover in hills and 20% in plains. In afforestation, native species should be preferred over exotic species.
6. Public awareness and involvement to combat the weeds like Parthenium and Eupatorium.
7. In October 1997, National Plastic Waste Management Task Force has recommended a ban on the production of carry bags with visible contamination.
8. In December 1996, the Supreme Court harmed all non-forest activities like saw-mills, ply wood mills and mining in the forest areas particularly in the north-east states.
9. Neem has shown promising results in halting desertification.
10. In January 1998, Indian scientists have developed a novel method of decontaminating effluents from pulp and paper industry (e.g. chemical oxygen) using chemical wastes (like hypo-sludge, alum-sludge and bamboo dust carbon) from the same factory.
11. Indira Gandhi Canal (also called Rajasthan canal) has transformed the barren deserts of Jaisalmer districts into rich and lush fields.
12. The National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) is working to develop fully biodegradable plastic bags.
6. Essay on Soil Pollution (Management Approaches):
Management of contaminated soils is a difficult prospect as it depends to a large extent on the geological and hydrological characteristics and size of the contaminated area. Such areas vary from large designated landfill sites with records of waste disposal activities, to industrial sites with a long and unclear history of pollution. Management option also depends on the nature of the contamination problem and whether it can be contained at the affected site, and whether gases and leaching threaten areas beyond it.
Bridges in 1991 outlined a number of management approaches to the problem of soil pollution which are:
(a) Use of physical stabilisation barrier:
Stabilisation technique involves treatment of the waste materials to reduce its solubility and mobility. It is achieved by the application of cement, lime, gypsum, silicate materials, epoxy-resins, polyesters or asphalt. These materials act as binding agents and help to stabilise the landform within which the contaminated waste is stored. Barrier systems rely on the use of steel or concrete pilling to prevent downward and lateral migration of toxic materials. Similarly, layered cover systems are also used to prevent upward migration of pollutants.
(b) Thermal techniques:
It involves heating of contaminated soil in rotary kilns or furnaces. It is used to convert the toxic waste materials into less harmful forms.
(c) Microbial techniques:
It involves the inoculation of microbiological communities into waste materials. The junk is readily degraded by the activity of microorganisms and the products are recycled except the non-degradable materials such as some metals, plastics, nylons and polythenes.
(d) Other approaches:
Other approaches to the control of contaminated soil include:
1. Chemical treatments of pollutants which may be used to hydrolyse or oxidize contaminant’s into less dangerous products. Acidic or alkaline wastes may be neutralized.
2. Physical methods may be employed to separate out contaminants according to particle size or density.
3. Garbage’s in the city are dumped into a natural or constructed pit or depression, marshy areas, canyons or ravines and left to disintegrate slowly.
4. Composting is a common practice in rural areas for the production of manure and bio-gas.
5. Incineration of effluents (industrial, biochemical etc.) is of common practice. The various effluents are initially converted into a slurry which is then pumped through an atomizer to a properly designated incinerator. The materials are then incinerated to produce sterile ash to be disposed on land and clean combustion gases (CO2 and water vapour) to be let out into the atmosphere. Burning of wastes and production of heat to warm residential units is a common practice in several places. For example, electricity is generated from garbage at Timarpur in Delhi.
6. In case of handling and management of biomedical wastes, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF), Government of India in the final draft of Rules (1997), have framed rules for segregation, packaging, storage, transportation, treatment and disposal of biomedical wastes. For the disposal, biomedical wastes have been categorized and accordingly to earmark them, type of container and colour codings have been assigned as given in Table 4.23.
The problem of hospital waste disposal is biological and the objective, thus, is to minimise the risk of disease caused by it. The MOEF have provided various treatment and disposal options for the different types of hospital wastes as given below (Table 4.24).