Soil is an important part to maintain the natural environment of the ecosystem. Prevention and control of soil pollution are as vital as water and air pollution control. Soil pollution also has an impact on the quality of water and air. Soil is the home of a huge number of organisms. It also plays a key role in the distribution of the plants. The soil is also the storehouse and source of different types of gases. The flow of water and chemical substances between the atmosphere and the earth is also influenced by the soil.
But with time, the use of fungicides, pesticides, and herbicides has put an adverse impact on the quality of the soil. Industrial wastes, pollution due to agriculture and urban wastes are also among the other causes of soil pollution. The contamination of the soil is also enhanced due to improper industrial waste disposal, trash of the households and medical waste. When the soil gets contaminated it affects all the ecological plants and animals negatively. They might struggle and ultimately die while adapting and adjusting to the new chemical composition of the soil. But if we prevent soil pollution and do our part, then we might be able to control it.
Ways to Prevent Soil Pollution
Below are some of the most useful and effective ways to prevent and reduce soil pollution. They are:
- Proper understanding of the soil environment: Proper surveys and sensitizations on soil pollution help to understand the baseline of the quality of the soil environment. However, to ensure that you have consistent and accurate results, the latest technical equipment is required. Also, it needs to be formulated at which frequency the survey needs to be conducted to check the steadiness of the soil environment.
- Development of legislation to control the Soil Pollution: All the existing legislations like planning for rural and urban areas, agricultural practices, and management of land should be updated and revised to include all the contemporary prevention and control measures for soil pollution. Legislations for the management of contaminated sites, pesticides, and farmland need to be modified as well. Measures should also be taken to improve the standards of soil pollution control.
- Management of the agricultural land and organic farming practices: Poor utilization of agricultural land led to a decrease in soil fertility due to the loss of nutrients, topsoil, and organic matters. It also reduces the ability of the soil to retail the water in it. Ideal biological and mechanical techniques also assist in soil conservation methods. Crop related management measures include strip cropping, rotation of the crops, planting in contours, implementation of organic compost and protector belt. Forests also help in the prevention of soil prevention. The areas with excessive surface degradation and pollution, reforestation should be planned. The mechanical procedures to control soil pollution involve the implementation of contour holding methods, bunds, and gully control.
- Proper Treatment of the Solid Waste: It is vital to properly treat the solid waste before disposing and releasing it into the environment. Alkaline and acidic waste and biodegradable waste should be treated and broken down into smaller components before releasing it into the soil. Treatment of the sludge from the sewers is a great example of solid waste disposal. First of all the waste materials should be divided according to the contamination degree. Mild or moderate materials should be treated in a controlled facility while heavily contaminated ones should be treated in a strict treatment facility.
- Proper Investigation of the reclaimed land: In the case of reclaimed land for the construction of schools, building homes or mining, the soil needs to be evaluated and investigated properly. The level of contamination should be tested by the government or city in charge authorities. If the outcome shows that the land is polluted beyond repair, then any type of settlement activities should be restricted. The authorities should take necessary preventive measures to contaminate the threat and prevent it from spreading in the surrounding soil.
- Policies to manage the sources of soil pollution: The effective way to control soil pollution is to control the pollutants from the industrial and mining areas. Daily supervision of the environment in these areas should be maintained. Annual research of the soil, proper layout planning for the management, and regular updates of the soil information are some of the measures that the government should intervene. The soil in and around the mining industries should be monitored and checked regularly for contamination. The authorities should also scrutinize the potential risks and prevent them before spreading out. Electronic and heavy metal wastes should be properly treated before releasing them in the soil. The government also must impose strict punishments on the companies or organizations that breach this policy. Traditional agricultural practices and industrial production processes should be banned that causes harm to the soil. Instead, utilization of the up to date production methods, technologies, and organic farming should be encouraged to reduce the harmful effects of the chemicals.
- Reduction of Toxic Chemicals: The waste that is released into the soil should include less toxic chemicals. This can be accomplished by treating the wastes with different chemicals to reduce the toxicity levels. Once it is done, it can be dispensed into the soil using responsible systems.
Other Preventive measures to control Soil Pollution
Apart from the above-mentioned measures, there are numerous other ways also to reduce pollution in the soil. They can be seen below.
- Implementation of manures in place of synthetic fertilizers
- Avoid the disposal of plastic and polythene of the soil
- Usage of natural pesticides for agricultural purposes
- Correct treatment of industrial waste before releasing it into the soil
- Soil erosion should be prevented by planting more trees
- Afforestation should be implemented in place of cutting down more trees
- Stop overgrazing of the grasslands
- Farming methods like terrace farming should be encouraged more in the hilly areas
- Buffer strips for the conservation of the soil should be done
- Till farming should be prevented
- More rotation of the crops should be done
- Cultivation of more indigenous crops and adding earthworms to it
- Introduce more soil washing and soil additives
- Implementation of the Bioremediation process
Thus to conclude, we can only take initiatives to reduce the harmful effects of the soil pollution which we have infected in it. Proper disposal of the chemical wastes, implementation of organic farming, recycling and reuse of the glass and plastics, and planting more trees might compensate for the amount of damage we have to the environment of the soil.