Accelerating climate change will soon alter that. In a future of hotter weather and more intense storms, it will become increasingly difficult to maintain soil in a fertile and productive state, while heavy rainstorms and flash floods will wash away topsoil more readily. Meanwhile, agriculture may become impossible in coastal areas inundated by saltwater carried in by rising sea levels. We might think of global warming as an example of air pollution (because it's caused mostly by humans releasing gases such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere). But if it leads to dramatic sea-level rise and coastal erosion, you could argue that it will become an example of land pollution as well. Effects of land pollution With luck and the right atmospheric conditions, air and water pollution disperse and disappear. What makes land pollution such a problem is that land is static, so land pollution stays exactly where it is until and unless someone cleans. Land that's polluted stays polluted; land that's urbanized almost invariably stays urbanized.
Soil Erosion and Degradation Threats wwf
If you define "land pollution" as irreversible damage to the land, you have to include soil erosion about as a type of pollution too. Many people think soil is soil, always there, never changing, ever ready to grow whatever crops we choose to bury. In reality, soil is a much more complex growing habitat that remains productive only when it is cared for and nurtured. Too much wind or water, destruction of soil structure by excessive plowing, excessive nutrients, overgrazing, and overproduction of crops erode soil, damaging its structure and drastically reducing its productivity until it's little more than dust. At its worst, soil erosion becomes desertification: once-productive agricultural areas become barren, useless deserts. How serious is the problem? In 2001, former un secretary general Kofi Annan warned the world that: "Drought and desertification threaten the livelihood of over 1 billion people in more than 110 countries around the world.". Deforestation doesn't only harm the place where the trees are cut down. A 2013 study by Princeton University researchers found that if the Amazon rainforest were completely destroyed, it would have a dramatic effect on the atmosphere, which would carry across to places like the United States, causing drought and potentially desertification there as well. Unfortunately, because soil erosion has so far affected developing countries more than the developed world, it's a problem that receives relatively little attention.
Land can become polluted by deposition in some very unexpected ways. For example, a corridor of land either side of a highway or freeway becomes systematically polluted over time with all kinds of harmful byproducts of road travel—everything from fuel spills and the brake linings to dust worn from the pavement and heavy metal deposits (such. These chemicals accumulate in the soil where they can undergo reactions with one another and form substances that are even more toxic. Two important things are worth noting about atmospheric deposition. First, it means no land on Earth—not even the most isolated island—can be considered completely safe from pollution: even if it's hundreds or thousand miles from the nearest factory or human settlement, even if no human has ever lived there, it could still be polluted. Second, if you're doing something that causes pollution (maybe spreading weedkiller on your garden or perhaps running a factory where ash is discharged from a smokestack the effects are not necessarily going to be confined to the place where the pollution is first produced. It's important to remember that pollution knows no boundaries. Soil erosion Photo: soil erosion turns fields into deserts. Photo by jack dykinga courtesy of us department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service (usda/ARS).
The reality is that seven billion hungry people consume a vast amount of food. Feeding the world on such a scale is only possible because agriculture now works in an industrial way, with giant machines such as tractors and combine harvesters doing the work that hundreds of people would have done in the past, and chemicals such as fertilizers. Unfortunately, most pesticides are by definition poisons, and many remain in the soil or accumulate there for years. One infamous and now widely banned pesticide, ddt, is not ordinarily biodegradable so it has remained in the environment ever since it was first used in the mid-20th century and even spread to such places as Antarctica. Ddt is just one of many organic (carbon-based) chemicals that remain in the environment for years or decades, known as persistent organic pollutants. Atmospheric deposition Air pollution doesn't remain air pollution forever. Ideally it disperses, so the concentration of problematic chemicals becomes so low that it no longer constitutes pollution. Sometimes, though, it falls back to the ground and becomes either water pollution (if it enters the oceans, rivers, and lakes) or land pollution. Pollution created deposited in water or land from existing pollution in the air (atmosphere) is known as atmospheric deposition.
Deforestation Effects, causes, And Examples: Top 10 List
Our impact on the planet extends much further than urbanization might suggest. In 1996, herbert Girardet estimated that London, England has essay an ecological footprint (area of land needed to support it) some 125 times bigger than the city itself. Add up that effect for every major city in the world and you get an idea of how big an impact urbanization has had. One of the problems of urbanization is that, by concentrating people, it concentrates their waste products at the same time. So, for example, crudely disposing of sewage from a thesis big city automatically creates water or land pollution, where the same number of people and the same volume of sewage might not create a problem if it were created in 10 smaller cities or 100 small.
Concentration is always a key factor when we talk about pollution. Having said that, it's important to remember that urbanization, when it works, can also help people to live very efficiently. Thus, new York has the lowest ecological footprint of any state in the usa, largely because people there have smaller homes and make greater use of public transportation. Photo: Greenfield to brownfield: This once-green field will soon be a large housing estate. People need homes to live in, but they also need green spaces—and agricultural land to feed them. Agricultural chemicals Those of us who are lucky enough to live in rich countries take our basic survival for granted: aside from trips to the grocery store, we don't worry about where our food comes from or how it gets.
Although there are many responsible mining companies, and environmental laws now tightly restrict mining in some countries, mines remain among the most obvious scars on (and under) the landscape. Surface mining (sometimes called quarrying or opencast mining) requires the removal of topsoil (the fertile layer of soil and organic matter that is particularly valuable for agriculture) to get at the valuable rocks below. Even if the destruction of topsoil is the worst that happens, it can turn a productive landscape into a barren one, which is a kind of pollution. You might think a mine would only remove things from the land, causing little or no pollution, but mining isn't so simple. Most metals, for example, occur in rocky mixtures called ores, from which the valuable elements have to be extracted by chemical, electrical, or other processes.
That leaves behind waste products and the chemicals used to process them, which historically were simply dumped back on the land. Since all the waste was left in one place, the concentration of pollution often became dangerously high. When mines were completely worked out, all that was left behind was contaminated land that couldn't be used for any other purpose. Often old mines have been used as landfills, adding the insult of an inverted garbage mountain to the injury of the original damage. But at least it saved damaging more land elsewhere. Urbanization Humans have been making permanent settlements for at least 10,000 years and, short of some major accident or natural disaster, most of the cities and towns we've created, and the infrastructure that keeps them running, will remain with us for thousands more years into. Not many of us would automatically classify cities and other human settlements as "land pollution people obviously need to live and work somewhere. Even so, urbanization marks a hugely important change to the landscape that can cause land pollution in a variety of subtle and not-so-subtle ways. With over 7 billion people on the planet, it might come as a surprise to find that humans have urbanized only about 3 percent of Earth's total land surface 1, though almost a third of the total land area has been transformed if we include.
Soil quality a critical review - scienceDirect
Nothing illustrates the problem of waste disposal more clearly than radioactive waste. When scientists discovered how to create energy by splitting atoms in nuclear power plants, they also created the world's hardest waste disposal problem. Nuclear plants produce toxic waste that essay can remain dangerously radioactive for thousands of years and, what's worse, will contaminate anything or anyone that comes into contact with. Nuclear plants that have suffered catastrophic accidents (including the Chernobyl plant in the ukraine, which exploded in 1986, and the fukushima plant in Japan, which was damaged by an earthquake in 2011) are generally sealed with concrete and abandoned indefinitely. Not surprisingly, local communities object vociferously to having nuclear waste stored anywhere near them. Mining Photo: The world's biggest copper mine, escondida mine in Chile, is so big you can even see the scar on the landscape from space. But we all use copper (it's in the computer you're using right now) so is this actual "land pollution" or just very necessary land use? Photo by nasa/gsfc/miti/ersdac/jaros, and. S./Japan aster science team courtesy legs of nasa goddard Space Flight Center (nasa-gsfc).
Chart: Although most of the waste we produce is relatively harmless and easy to dispose of (blue around one fifth of it (orange, yellow, and green) is dangerous or toxic and extremely difficult to get rid resume of without automatically contaminating land. Waste disposal didn't always mean land pollution. Before the 20th century, most of the materials people used were completely natural (produced from either plants, animals, or minerals found in the earth) so, when they were disposed of, the waste products they generated were natural and harmless too: mostly organic (carbon-based) materials that. There was really nothing we could put into the earth that was more harmful than anything we'd taken from it in the first place. But during the 20th century, the development of plastics (polymers generally made in chemical plants from petroleum and other chemicals composites (made by combining two or more other materials and other synthetic (human-created) materials has produced a new generation of unnatural materials that the natural. It can take 500 years for a plastic bottle to biodegrade, for example. And while it's easy enough to recycle simple things such as cardboard boxes or steel cans, it's much harder to do the same thing with computer circuit boards made from dozens of different electronic components, themselves made from countless metals and other chemicals, all tightly.
can have harmful effects. We can define land pollution either narrowly or broadly. Narrowly defined, it's another term for soil contamination (for example, by factory chemicals or sewage and other wastewater). In this article, we'll define it more widely to include garbage and industrial waste, agricultural pesticides and fertilizers, impacts from mining and other forms of industry, the unwanted consequences of urbanization, and the systematic destruction of soil through over-intensive agriculture; we'll take land pollution. Causes of land pollution, there are many different ways of permanently changing the land, from soil contamination (poisoning by chemicals or waste) to general urbanization (the systematic creation of cities and other human settlements from greenfield, virgin land). Some, such as huge landfills or quarries, are very obvious; others, such as atmospheric deposition (where land becomes contaminated when air pollution falls onto it) are much less apparent. Let's consider the main causes and types of land pollution in turn. Waste disposal Humans produce vast quantities of waste—in factories and offices, in our homes and schools, and in such unlikely places as hospitals. Even the most sophisticated waste processing plants, which use plasma torches (electrically controlled "flames" at temperatures of thousands of degrees) to turn waste into gas, produce solid waste products that have to be disposed of somehow. There's simply no getting away from waste: our ultimate fate as humans is to die and become waste products that have to be burned or buried!
Land pollution, in short, is a much bigger and more subtle problem than it might appear. How does it occur and what can we do about it? Let's take literature a closer look! Photo: Mining is a major cause of land pollution. It's easy to point the finger at mine operators, but we all rely on fuels, metals, and other minerals that come from the ground, so we're all partly responsible for the damage that mining does. Photo by david Parsons courtesy. Us doe/nrel (us department of Energy/National Renewable Energy laboratory). What is land pollution?
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Last updated: March 27, 2018. What's beneath your feet? Maybe a wooden floor or a stone one. Brick foundations, water pipes, power cables. And who knows what else. Keep going down and you'll come to soil, rocks, and the raw stuff of Earth. We imagine these basic foundations of our planet to be a kind of pristine, internal wilderness—but often that's far from the case. While we can see many of the changes we've made to the world, some of our impacts are virtually invisible, and land pollution is a good example. You might see factory smoke rising through the air or oil slicks drifting over the ocean, but you can't easily see the poisons that seep from underground mines, the garbage we tip into landfills literature by the truckload, or the way the very soil that feeds.