An Overview of Land Pollution: What You Know and What You Don't

Land pollution fact
Polluted land is a cumulative result of varied factors, leading to harmful effects. Read more to know about this kind of pollution in detail.
Pollution, in simple terms, can be defined as contamination of the environment, bringing about adverse changes and effects to the ecosystem.

In a similar manner, when a piece of land gets polluted due to various factors, it causes harm to the biodiversity and mankind, which is called land pollution.

Pollution includes visible litter and waste along with the soil itself being polluted. The soil gets polluted by the chemicals in pesticides and herbicides used for agricultural purposes along with waste matter being littered in urban areas such as roads, parks, and streets.
Land pollution can be a result of landfills, polluted water, polluted soil, and solid waste formed due to numerous activities. As we produce more and more disposable 'stuff', landfills world over are overflowing with garbage, polluting the environment in the process.
Growing amount of landfills is one of the major reasons resulting in degradation of land. They are the oldest method opted for treatment of waste where the waste is disposed off by burial. If these are not treated or sealed prior to the burial, they result in severe degradation of land and contamination of groundwater present below it.
Cutting of forest cover has a direct impact on loosening of soil. The soil once loosened gets mixed with water as a surface runoff, making the land unfit for further use. Often a forested land is cleared off its tree cover for the purpose of agriculture. When this land is heavily sprayed with pesticide and insecticides, it becomes barren over a period of time. This barren land is devoid of fertile soil and is vulnerable to erosion by wind and water. Mining activities also involve deforestation where the land is often not restored to its original state after the work is completed, and the mine is abandoned.
Sewage or polluted water, often a result of mining activities, when mixed with soil, affects its fertility. Leakages of fuel from vehicles also mix with soil or seep in the ground below. Needless to say, excessive usage of such methods leads to contamination of soil and eventually results in a piece of land devoid of any nutrients.
As strange as it may sound, air pollution does play a role in contaminating a land to an extent that it is termed as barren. Acid rain, one of the severe effects of air pollution, is poisonous not only to the flora and fauna on the Earth, but also affects the soil quality to a great extent. The aluminum ions that are present in an insoluble and non-toxic state in soils get mobilized on interaction with the components from acid rain. These mobilized aluminum ions when mixed with water prove to be harmful to a plant's growth affecting the soil and hence the land.
Living nearby a landfill or waste disposal site affects one's health considerably. If the groundwater below a landfill gets contaminated due to the toxic chemicals, and the same water is consumed, it affects the intestines and problems of stomach and bones.

» Fluoride and arsenic -- the most common pollutants causing water contamination -- cause dental fluorosis, nausea, vomiting, and problems related to the endocrine system.

» Another effect of a barren land is that it disturbs the balance of the ecosystem. This is a direct effect of deforestation and different types of pollutions.

» Barren land is prone to weathering mostly by winds. Inhalation of dust particles (which can be toxic) can cause respiratory problems and other lung-related complications.

It has become the need of the hour to protect the Earth from the harmful effects of pollution, so that the generations to come will be able to live a decently healthy life. Every individual will have to take the onus on himself and work towards bettering the environment, and keep the Earth green and healthy.