important topics environment

Soil Pollution


  • SOIL is a thin layer of organic and inorganic materials that covers the earth’s rocky surface. Soil pollution is defined as the addition of substances to the soil, which adversely affect physical, chemical and biological properties of soil and reduces its productivity.
  • It is build-up of persistent toxic compounds, chemical, salts, radioactive materials, or disease causing agents in soil which have adverse effects on plant growth, human and animal health.
  • A soil pollutant is any factor which deteriorates the quality, texture and mineral content of the soil or which disturbs the ecological balance of the organisms in the soil.


  • Indiscriminate use of fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides and herbicides.
  • Dumping of large quantities of soil waste.
  •  Deforestation and soil erosion
  • Pollution due to urbanisation.


1. Industrial waste 

  • Industrial waste includes chemicals such as mercury, lead, copper, zinc, cadmium, cyanides, thiocyanates, chromates, acids, alkalies, organic substances etc.

2. Pesticides 

  • Pesticides are chemicals that include insecticides, fungicides, algicides, rodenticides, weedicides sprayed in order to improve productivity of agriculture, forestry and horticulture.

3.Fertilizers and manures

  • Chemical fertilizers are added to the soil for increasing crop yield. Excessive use of chemical fertilizer reduces the population of soil borne organism and the crumb structure of the soil, productivity of the and increases salt content of the soil.

4. Discarded materials

  • It includes concrete, asphalt, rungs, leather, cans, plastics, glass, discarded food, paper and carcasses.

5. Radioactive wastes 

  • Radioactive elements from mining and nuclear power plants, find their way into water and then into the  soil.

6. Other pollutants

  • Many air pollutants (acid rain) and water pollutants ultimately become part of the soil and the soil also receives some toxic chemicals during weathering of certain rocks. 

Types of soil pollution 

1. Agricultural soil pollution

2. Pollution due to industrial effluents and soil wastes 

3. Pollution due to urban activities

Effect of soil pollution on 

1 Agriculture

  • Reduced soil fertility 
  • Reduced nitrogen fixation 
  • Increased erosion loss of soil and nutrients
  • Reduced crop yield 
  • Increased salinity 
  • Deposition of silt in tanks and reservoirs

2 Health 

  • Dangerous chemicals entering underground water 
  • Biomagnification
  • Release of pollutant gases
  • Release of radioactive rays causing health problems

3 Environment 

  • Reduced vegetation 
  • Ecological imbalance 
  • Imbalance in soil fauna and flora

4 urban areas 

  • Clogging of drains 
  • Inundation of areas 
  • Foul smell and release of gases 
  • Waste management problems
  • Control measures 
  • Reducing chemical fertilizer and pesticide use
  • Use of bio pesticides,  bio fertilizers
  • Organic farming 
  • Four R’s refuse, reduce, reuse, and recycle 
  • Afforestation and reforestation 
  • Solid waste treatment 
  • Reducing of waste from construction
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