This is because these are the types of pollution that we face on a daily basis. We see the effects of these types of pollution in front of us. It is basic human tendency to believe what we see.
But there are other types of pollution that we ought to be aware of. One of this has to be land pollution. It is less heard of and people aren’t exactly aware of its existence.
What is land Pollution, what are the causes, what are the effects, what can we do about it, are just some of the questions that we have to ponder over when we think of it.
What is Land pollution?
In simpler terms, land pollution could be broadly defined as the contamination and deterioration of land quality by various factors.
The top layer of soil is the only layer capable of sustaining vegetation and plant life. Due to various natural and man-made factors, this top layer of the soil gets corroded and polluted.
What makes the top layer capable of sustaining plant life is the nutrients present in the layer. These nutrients compliment and support plant life.
So when the top most layer of our lands corrode, plants are left malnourished and they wither away very easily. Land pollution is as old as others forms of pollution, or we may say they are even older.
Since the time man began to use land for cultivation in an agrarian economy, the lands began to be exploited in uneven ways.
At earlier times, exploitation was not large scale and even if it was, sustainability was not an issue.
In today’s world of unlimited progress and steady development, manhandling and destruction of lands is limitless and causes one think of when there would be a full stop to it, or would there ever be one.
Unregulated and unprecedented use of irrigation techniques are one of the main reasons of land pollution. It is quite evident that the degree of land pollution greatly increased after the Industrial Revolution.
On one hand, rampant industrialization throws open many opportunities and helps overcome unemployment.
At the same time the economic sphere of the country is bound to run on fast wheels due to industrialization. But the side effects of urbanization, a result of rapid industrialization cannot be overlooked either.
Causes of land pollution
Just like many other forms of pollution, land pollution can also be attributed to pollutants, substances and contaminants that harm the environment.
Effluents from factories, industries and residential areas, when not properly segregated and managed, find their ways into the soil, depositing tonnes of chemical waste into the earth.
These substances pollute the top layer, depriving it of essential nutrients required by vegetation to sustain.
Deforestation is a major issue in today’s world. Forests are being cut down mercilessly as we see many concrete structures replacing these woods.
This is done to accommodate large factories and residential blocks that humans build for commercial purposes. Deforestation completely alters the land structure.
The forest areas that once filled the green cover are now messed up in dry and fragile lands, receiving very less or scanty rainfall and turning to arid zones.
Once the fertile lands are converted to barren landscapes for the purpose of constructing buildings, it is totally an irreversible process wherein the occupied land can never be made fertile and nutrient rich again.
Nuclear plants are used to generate electricity, and it is a non-conventional source of energy. Though it does help reduce the exhaustion of conventional fuels, it has its own share of disadvantages.
Since nuclear plants work on nuclear reactors generating large amounts of energy, they tend to produce waste in huge amounts.
Effects of land pollution
The unchecked use of plastics does terrible destruction to the land. When we sip water in plastic bottles or dispose plastic cans after sipping juice or soft drinks from them, we don’t realize what damage we have caused to the land that we are part of.
Plastic is without doubt non-bio degradable. It takes many millions of years for plastic contents to settle inside the earth’s inner regions and well before that, it all lies strewn on the surface, unattended to and really of no good use.
Plastic bags in the form of carry bags and covers lie strewn on streets and in the midst of garbage piles. When the same plastic enters a cow’s intestine, it does good harm to the cow, literally choking its digestive tracts.
Not just that, the milk produced from such cows would also be expected to be kind of artificial milk that contains the toxicities of plastic and other such harmful substances. This is the worst scenario and outcome of land pollution.
Nuclear radioactive wastes are harmful, they contain radioactive material and they have to be dumped underground, away from humans.
This form of dumping takes away the radioactive dump away from human interaction but on the other hand pollutes the land from within.
Water pollution also affects the ground, since waste water containing harmful chemicals eventually seep into the earth. This again pollutes the top layer of soil.
Land pollution ruins the soil, on which crops could have been planted. Not just man made reasons, even nature can sometimes contribute to land pollution.
In the event of a flood, tonnes of silt are deposited by excess water turning fertile lands into saline areas. It is impossible to grow crops on saline lands.
Mining is one of the key reasons of land pollution.
Since humans dig humongous holes in the ground for mining, there is always a threat of a land slide or surrounding areas caving in with no proper support for the land to stay erect and strong.
This endangers human life on a large scale as entire villages could be victims of a landslide or soil loosening could bring down huge establishments of huts and not-so-strong village houses.
Some of the human activities completely change the land structure. This could spell trouble for the atmosphere as it can cause drastic climatic changes.
As more waste is produced, more lands are identified that could be converted into even beds for landfills. Landfills change the aesthetic properties of the region.
In short, they are converted into garbage dumping zones. As the land is deprived of its ability to produce crops, life is greatly affected as it could lead to famines and starvation on a wide scale.
Solutions to land pollution
One of the basic things that we can do to prevent further pollution of the land is to spread awareness about it.
We must try to convince people to use less plastic packaged items, which would ultimately end up in garbage landfills. We must promote the use of more biodegradable materials and thus, do our part in saving the planet.
These days, paper bags are encouraged in place of plastic carry bags. The reason is paper can be recycled, if not, it can be easily converted into its bio-degradable form.
Rather than let the earth rot and contaminate with non-bio degradable constituents, we can thus find alternatives to toxic elements on earth.
Plastics and plastic items should be totally banned from cities as they are of no good use.
There can be suggestive alternatives that could well be implemented on a large scale to initiate a change in the right direction.
Also, garbage segregation at collection points, at homes plays a good role in proper waste management and disposal methods.
If we are able to segregate wet and dry wastes, the collecting units would be easily helped in taking the right garbage out to the right place for dumping and disposal. Non- decomposable wastes or dry wastes could be treated separately.
We should be conscious about clean surroundings and take responsibility to act with care.
Throwing waste bits here and there, messing the streets with leftovers, etc. could only indicate a bad sign of our own ill-thinking and reflect our poor hygiene practices.
We should teach the next generations to care for a green earth by first setting up an example ourselves. We should always lead by example.
Land pollution is actually a composite of much pollution locked in one nutshell. It may be a combined outcome of water and soil pollution, soil and air pollution, or for that matter, land contamination alone too.
Polluting our surroundings with whatever seems unwanted to human life has been the norm since ages and now a threshold has been reached, wherein actions have to be taken to correct all our wrong doings.
Mother Nature has always been a provider, let us all show our concern for her and help save the earth from land pollution.