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Land Pollution Causes Effects And Solutions Essay

Causes and Effects of Land Pollution You're Probably Undervaluing

Land pollution is one of the gravest kinds of pollution, we do not realize when and how we pollute land. We know when our actions cause water pollution, for we can see for ourselves the quality of water worsening. Similarly, noise, light, and visual pollution, can all be monitored. However, land pollution is a hard one to get, since we do not understand the actions that cause the destruction of land.
When the anthropogenic effects of development adversely affect land (especially in terms of quality of land), it can be called land pollution.
What counts as an adverse effect on land?
The answer is simple - anything that reduces the productivity and potential use of a piece of land. Here, 'productivity and potential' refers to prospective uses of a land that can be used for any purpose, for which land is used; including infrastructure, housing, services, agriculture, forestry, etc. If any of the effects of human development reduce the potentiality of a piece of land to be used for any good purpose, it amounts to land pollution.
~ Degenerative actions encompass a lot of human actions, including - deforestation, overuse of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, desertification, mining, inefficient and/or inadequate waste treatment, landfill, litter, etc. Many of these are unavoidable, however, the severity of these actions in terms of the effects they have on the land, can be reduced by taking appropriate and corrective measures.
For example, the amount of litter produced can be remarkably reduced if we avoid the use of plastic. The key here is to conduct a thorough EIA - Environmental Impact Assessment.
~ Misuse of Land mainly refers to felling of trees to clear land for agriculture, as well as processes like desertification and land conversion. Desertification is when anthropogenic effects, convert a piece of (essentially) fertile land into desert-land or a dryland. Once converted, land can never be reclaimed by any amount of corrective measures. This is also a serious issue because it does not only affect land, but also the overall biodiversity of a place, especially when land is cleared for agriculture.
~ Inefficient use of land as such is not going to cause land pollution. However, inefficient use of land amounts to wastage, and hence shortage of land area; and it is precisely during such conditions that man has to resort to measures such as deforestation and the like, to meet his needs. It is an important, albeit an indirect cause of land pollution that is often largely neglected.
~ Soil pollution is when the topmost 'soil' layer of land is destroyed or polluted. Soil pollution is again another cause of land pollution that affects not only the land, but also a lot of other things such as forests of a region, productivity of land in terms of agriculture, grazing etc.
~ Soil pollution is caused by wrong agricultural practices, such as overuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. This causes non-biodegradable chemicals to enter and accumulate in the food chain - a process often referred to as bio-magnification of a pollutant.
~ The process whereby a piece of land is converted from its indigenous form, to one that is used for either agriculture or infrastructure. Land conversion is especially a growing problem that we possibly do not have a good - or a good enough - solution for. The best way to avoid land conversion is to make efficient use of available land. Using a piece of land to its maximum potential is the key to eliminating many of the causes of land pollution.
~ Some key causes of land pollution include - urbanization, improper waste disposal, industrial activities, nuclear research, chemicals released by all sorts of heavy industries, coal-fired power plants, and metal-producing industries, to name a few.
Effects of Land Pollution
Land pollution can affect the general environment of the Earth. Land pollution leads to a depletion in forest covers. This is in turn going to affect the amount of rain. Less rains mean lesser vegetation. The effect of all different kinds of pollution will eventually lead to problems like acid rain, the greenhouse effect, and global warming. All of these problems have already begun, and need to be curbed before the situation runs out of control.
Species are pushed towards endangerment and extinction primarily by two processes; habitat fragmentation and habitat destruction. Habitat Fragmentation is the separating of the natural habitat of an organism, caused primarily by urban sprawl. Habitat destruction, is when land clearing adversely affects animals, such that their natural habitat is lost. Both these actions can cause some species to go extinct and others to become invasive.
In the last 500 years, the planet has lost about 869 species of plants and animals, because of human negligence that forced them into extinction.
Biomagnification is the process in which certain non-biodegradable substances continue to accumulating in the food chain (in one or more species). The most common example is of methylmercury in fish and mercury in eagles. Not only does biomagnification put these particular species at risk, but all the species above and below it at risk, ultimately affecting the food pyramid.
The extinction of certain species and biomagnification, are going to overthrow the balance of nature significantly. The main reason for this is disturbance created in the food chain. To give you a very simple example - on account of biomagnification of mercury in eagles, they might go extinct in the subsequent years. However, we know eagles prey on snakes, thereby increasing the number of this reptile if eagles were to go extinct.
As you may have realized, land pollution is indeed going to affect many things than we previously thought it couldn't. Hence, I leave you with some corrective measure you can take on a personal level to reduce land pollution.
Measures to Reduce Land Pollution
~ Encourage organic farming - buy organic food whenever possible.

~ Proper garbage disposal - separate your garbage before you give it to the garbage collector; and strictly say NO to plastic.

~ Encourage recycling - buy recycled products, notebooks, paper, etc.

~ Restrict the use of herbicides and pesticides - they are not only used in farms, but in your own backyard as well.
If we reduce our contribution to garbage and litter, we can significantly reduce thee problems of land pollution and probably curb it entirely in the near future. Also, do realize this isn't only about land pollution; it is about all kinds of pollution. We need to take steps to prevent damaging our planet. We have no other place to go.

Science >> Earth Science >> Environment

The Environment

Land Pollution

What is land pollution?

When we first think of pollution we often think of trash by the side of the road. This type of pollution is called land pollution. Land pollution is anything that damages or contaminates the land.


Causes of Land Pollution

There are many causes of land pollution from the trash we throw away in our homes to waste produced at giant factories. Sometimes chemicals from the trash can contaminate the soil and eventually the groundwater we need for drinking.
  • Garbage - The average person in the United States produces around 4 1/2 pounds of trash every day! That's a lot of trash. Some of this trash gets recycled, but much of it ends up in a landfill or on the ground.
  • Mining - Mining can directly destroy the land, producing large holes in the ground and causing erosion. It can also release toxic chemicals into the air and soil.
  • Farming - We all need farms to eat, but agriculture has destroyed many ecosystems and animal habitats. Farming also produces a lot of pollution in the form of chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides. Animal waste from livestock can also pollute the soil and, eventually, the water supply.
  • Factories - Many factories produce a significant amount of garbage and waste. Some of this waste is in the form of damaging chemicals. There are regulations in some countries to prevent harmful chemicals from getting dumped directly onto the land, but this is not the case in many countries.
Effects on the Environment

Land pollution can be one of the most visible types of pollution. You see trash outside of buildings or on the side of the road. You may see a large landfill or dump. This type of land pollution not only can hurt animals and their habitats, but also is ugly and destroys the beauty of nature.

Other types of land pollution like mining, farming, and factories can allow for harmful chemicals to enter into the soil and water. These chemicals can cause animals and plants to die, disrupting the food chain. Landfills release the greenhouse gas methane, which may lead to global warming.

Effects on Health

Different kinds of land pollution have been known to have adverse affects on the health of animals and humans. The harmful chemicals that can get into the soil and water can cause cancers, deformities, and skin problems.

Landfills

Landfills are areas where garbage is placed in the land. Modern landfills in developed countries are designed to keep harmful chemicals from polluting the water. Some of the newest landfills even try to capture methane gas from escaping and use it do produce energy. In the United States there are a lot of laws and regulations to try and keep landfills from harming the environment.



Piles of garbage in a scrap heap


What is biodegradable?

Trash that is made of organic substances will eventually decay and become a part of the environment. This type of trash is called biodegradable. Different types of materials take different amounts of time to decay. Paper can decompose in around a month, but it takes a plastic bag over 20 years to decompose. Scientists predict that it could take a glass bottle about 1 million years to biodegrade and that some materials, like Styrofoam, will never biodegrade.

What can you do to help?

Here are four things people can do to reduce land pollution:
  1. Recycle - Around 33 percent of trash in the United States is recycled. When you recycle you add less land pollution.
  2. Produce less trash - Some ways to reduce trash include not using a napkin or paper towel unless you absolutely need one, drinking water from a cup rather than a plastic bottle, and being sure to properly dispose of harmful trash like batteries and computer equipment.
  3. Pick up trash - Don't be a litter bug! Also, you can help out by picking up trash when you see it lying around. Kids make sure to ask your parents for help before you pick up strange trash.
  4. Composting - Get with your parents or school and start a compost heap. Composting is when you collect organic waste and store it so it breaks down to where it can be used for fertilizer.
Facts About Land Pollution
  • In 2010, the United States generated about 250 million tons of trash. Around 85 million tons of trash was recycled.
  • The amount of trash per person in the United States has dropped over the last 10 years. In the last five years, the total amount of trash has dropped. At the same time, recycling rates have risen. This is good news!
  • One way to reduce the amount of trash is for companies to use less packaging on products. Things like smaller bottle caps, thinner plastic, and more compact packaging has played a major role in reducing the amount of trash.
  • Certain types of litter can kill animals when they get tangled or caught in it.
  • Around 40 percent of the lead in landfills is due to improper disposal of computers and other electronic equipment.
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