Pollution is a serious problem worldwide. Land pollution is one of the more serious pollutions because it affects many people, animals and plants.
There various causes of land pollution – 5 major causes are listed below :
1. Landfills and other sites
Landfills are well known for their pollution because of the composition of waste that goes into them. The composition can vary depending on the landfill. Some landfills do have specific regulations on the wastes that are allowed to be dumped.
One of the major causes of land pollution is the pollution of the soil that the landfills sit on. Toxic and hazardous substances are leaking into the soil and causing any change of supporting life to be nullified. The possible contaminates of soil are numerous and could include household waste, sewage waste, chemicals and waste materials from industries or factories, radioactive waste from nuclear plants and oily sludge waste from oil refineries.
Landfills are becoming over full and the conditions are becoming deplorable. People have taken dumping into their own hands and are dumping wastes of every kind into inappropriate containers and areas.
2. Construction activities
As populations increase and urbanization expounds, construction activities are on the rise. Construction activities are another major cause of land pollution.
Construction projects often require deforestation to free up land or to extract raw materials for projects. Large amounts of construction waste are also responsible for pollution.
Concrete and metal debris are pollutants that are put in landfills, increasing the burdens of the landfills that are close to capacity.
Other construction wastes are hazardous such as oils and paints. When they are not properly disposed, harmful chemicals can leach into the ground and cause land pollution.
3. Soil erosion due to deforestation
Deforestation is causing soil erosion and is on the rise as the need for raw materials rises. More and more forests are being removed to make space for people and their cities.
Land erosion causes land pollution. Without roots to hold the soil particles they are more prone to being dislodged by both wind and water. The soil loses the nutrients and organic matter which leaves the soil infertile.
Floods are also being linked to deforestation. As the trees disappear, water has no where to go. Thus the water will rush downstream causing severe flooding. This flooding will contain debris which flows into the rivers and then into the oceans, causing pollution.
4. Agricultural activities
Demand for food increases as the population grows. The pressure on farmers to increase their yields is rising with the population. Nutrients in the soil are necessary for plant development, fertilizers and such are used to maintain the crops. The fertilizers are used to correct soil deficiencies and then pesticides are used to kills unwanted insects and fungi.
The fertilizers and pesticides run off into the streams and rivers or seep into the groundwater. These fertilizers and pesticides are a form of land pollution.
Farmers are developing natural alternatives to fertilizers and pesticides. These natural alternatives will only slightly alter the make-up of the soil and will not cause harm to the water supplies.
5. One of the largest causes of land pollution is mining activities
As the demand for goods increases along with the growing population, the demand for raw materials also increases. Metals, coal and precious stones are raw materials that have to be extracted from the earth through mining.
Mining has a huge impact on the environment and is a large cause of land pollution. Surface mining causes the destruction of existing plant life.
Mining related activities destabilizes the land structures that are in the area of the mines and increases soil erosion. A large amount of waste rocks need proper disposal and they cause significant environmental problems. Mining wastes that are exposed to the elements can leech harmful substances into the ground and cause land pollution by soil contamination.