Soil contamination or deterioration negatively affects plant health. Humans are directly or indirectly affected in different ways. Humans can be harmed by contaminated soil or by eating vegetation grown on contaminated soils. Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of soil contamination because they spend so much time playing in it. Soil contamination has many implications.
Here Are Some Of Main Effects Of Soil Pollution
Risking Human Health
More than 70% of soil contaminants are carcinogenic, increasing the risk of cancer in persons exposed to polluted soils. Long-term exposure to gasoline and PCBs, for example, has been related to leukaemia and liver cancer.
Soil contaminants can cause skin, muscle, and neurological system problems. Indirect human exposure via bioaccumulation / food poisoning. It occurs when people eat polluted soil-grown crops or animals that eat polluted soil-grown plants. As a result, folks get sick and die.
For example, high levels of lead / mercury in soil can harm kidney and liver function. It can also harm a child’s brain development and create neurological issues.
Polluted soils can cause crops and plants to accumulate poisons unfit for human food. As a result, huge economic losses occur. Polluted soil with metals and compounds like lead, asbestos, and sulphur are unsuitable for crop production in some areas.
These crops grown with in soils and neighbouring fields are often contaminated with heavy metals & chemicals and thrown out after harvesting. For example, China’s agricultural sector disposes of 12 million tonnes of dirty grains annually, costing farmers up to $2.6 billion.
Water And Air Pollution
Polluted soil releases volatile molecules into the atmosphere, contributing to air pollution. More harmful pollutants in the soil means more poisonous particles and gases in the environment. Soil pollution can affect water sources such as lakes, rivers, streams, and seas.
Plant Life Impact
When soils are continually poisoned with harmful minerals and chemicals, they lose their ability to support plant life. Soil Pollutants change soil chemical, Beneficial soil bacteria, microbes, nutrients, and biochemical mechanisms begin to erode, reducing soil fertility.
The ecological equilibrium is lost. On this premise, the soil is unsuited for agricultural or other vegetation survival. If plants die, so do animals that depend on them. This causes larger animals & predators to migrate to other areas in search of food, reducing wildlife and causing extinction.
Soil pollution can also alter plant metabolism and reduce agricultural yield. Moreover, plants that consume soil pollutants carry them up in the food chain, harming animal and human health.
Soil pollution allows large-scale nitrogen emissions via denitrification, ammonia volatilization, and organic matter decomposition. The sulphur compounds and sulphur dioxides released cause acid rain.
In the long run, acid rain lowers soil chemistry & nutrients, contributing to ecological imbalance and soil erosion. Furthermore, acidic circumstances reduce the soil’s ability to buffer pH shifts, causing plant mortality.
Soil Fertility Loss
Fertility is the most obvious and vital aspect of soil. Chemicals & heavy metals pollute the soil, and human activities like mining degrade it, reducing or eliminating its fertility. Contaminants in the soil inhibit microbiological and chemical activity.
Denature active enzyme that restore beneficial soil activities. Pollution causes soil acidification, which leaches critical minerals like calcium and magnesium.
Soil Structure Changes
Acidification, reduced soil fertility, and soil organism death can alter soil structure. Because soil microbes help break down organic matter, which increases soil life, water penetration, and retention.
Salinization of Soil
Salinization is the result of salt buildup in the soil. Salts are found in the earth. The increase is linked to soil contamination. In agriculture, nitrogen and phosphorus deposits with in soil are the main contributors to increased salinity.
Soil salinity increases plant water loss and degrades groundwater quality. The crops & plants growing in these areas are highly hazardous and can induce severe health issues when eaten.