Soil pollution


What do mean by Soil Pollution?

Soil pollution is referred to as the toxic chemicals (contaminants or pollutants) presence in the soil, which is in high concentrations proving to be a threat for the health of humans or causing harm to the ecosystem.

In the case of toxic substances which are naturally found in the soil, unexpectedly when their level is not sufficient to create a risk, the pollution of soil is even then meant to take place if the contaminant levels in the soil surpass the levels that must be present in the natural form.

Causes of Soil Pollution

Any soil content which is contaminated or non-contaminated is having a collection of compounds which are contaminated and are present naturally. Such contaminants involve inorganic ions, metals, and salts in the form of carbonates, nitrates, phosphates, and sulfates, and several other organic compounds like protein, fatty acids, lipids, hydrocarbons, DNA, alcohols, PAHs, etc. mainly, these compounds are formed via microbial activity present in the soil and with the organisms decomposition (for example animals and plants).

In addition, various compounds are added to the soil from the surroundings, for example, rainwater, along with wind activity or different types of disturbance in soil, and from the water bodies’ surface and not so deep groundwater rolling via soil.

When the amount of contaminated substances of soil becomes higher than the natural level (which is present naturally in different soils), pollution takes place. There are 2 prime reasons for the production of soil pollution: Natural causes and Man-made (anthropogenic) causes.

Man-Made Pollutants

Man-made or Anthropogenic pollution is produced in a variety of processes. Some because of the industrial use and others might be accidental. Soil pollution caused by man can work in combination accompanying natural processes, increasing the harmful levels of contamination in soil.

There can be many activities such as:

  1. Mining activites
  2. Constuction activities
  3. Accidental leaks and spills
  4. Manufacturing activities
  5. Transportation activities
  6. Agricultural activities
  7. Broken paint chips
  8. Dumping of chemical waste

Natural Pollutants

Other than natural occurence of chemical leading to soil pollution, the influence of natural processes might also be the responsible factor for man releasing harmful chemicals in the soil and on a whole increasing the toxicity level or the contamination level of soil.

Causes of natural pollutants:

  • Sewer lines leakage like choloform
  • Natural production like perchlorate formation in soil
  • Natural accumulation like precipitation

Soil Pollutants’ types

Soil pollution is having contaminants and pollutants. So, these includes:

  1. Agricultural practices
  2. Biological agents
  3. Radioactive pollutants
  4. Industrial waste
  5. Urban waste

Examples on Soil Contaminants

There’s a wide variety of soil pollutants which are really a big problem and they are:

  1. Mercury (Hg)
  2. Arsenic (As)
  3. Zinc (Zn)
  4. Nickle (Ni)
  5. Copper (Cu)
  6. Lead (Pb)
  7. Herbicides or Insecticides
  8. PAHS (Polyaromatci Hydrocarbons)


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