Ways to Prevent Soil Pollution

Tilled field
A tilled field with rich soil. (Image: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images)

Soil pollution, or soil contamination, is the accumulation of man-made toxic substances in soil that has a negative effect of plant and animal life. Common pollutants include herbicides and pesticides; litter and waste. Soil pollution is usually caused by mistreatment of the soil through poor cultivation or farming practices, industrial waste dumping and mineral utilization. Soil pollution can be prevented or at least reduced by educating ourselves on the cause and effects of soil pollution; and the ways to stop it.

Herbicide, Pesticide and Fertilizer

Herbicides are chemicals used to kill weeds and unwanted plants while pesticides are substances that kill unwanted insects and pests. Fertilizers supply nutrients to plants to help them grow but can contain heavy metals which can be harmful to the animals, including humans, that eat the plant say the Food and Fertilizer Technology Center. Reducing the use of or finding natural alternatives to toxic substances can help prevent soil pollution, according to the National Science Digital Library

Reuse and Recycle

Contribute less waste to help prevent soil pollution. Purchase glass and other reusable containers instead of throwing away plastic or paper regularly. Recycle paper and plastic through your local waste management company to reduce the amount of waste that is sent to a landfill. The National Science Digital Library, NSDL, reports that reusing and recycling products will help conserve natural resources and save more land from contamination.

Proper Solid Waste Treatment

Waste should be disposed of properly to avoid soil pollution. Lobby your community to adopt ways to treat waste before disposing it to prevent pollution. For example, the NSDL suggests that acidic and alkaline waste be neutralized before they are disposed of so they won’t contaminate the soil. Waste that is biodegradable should be broken down in a controlled environment before being disposed of because it is a much faster, resource-saving method.

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