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What is Land Pollution?

Land pollution involves the following mechanism:

• * Deposition of solid waste

• * Accumulation of non-biodegradable materials
• * Toxification of chemicals into poisons
• * Alteration of soil chemical composition
(imbalance of chemical equilibrium to soil medium)

Land pollution of has a mass globally, everyday threatening the very foundation
and mechanical support of every matter on earth. Statistically, it has been shown that:

• loss of 6 million hectares of land per year

• loss of 24 billion tons of topsoil per year
• loss of minimum 15 million acres prime agricultural land to overuse and mismanagement
• desertification of land results in the lost of 16 million per square miles of world's land surface

The causes for such devastation are generally due to 2 (two) forms of malpractices:

• Unhealthy soil management methods;

o improper tillage of soil in which excessive tillage result in the deterioration of soil
o non-maintenance of a proper supply of organic matter in the soil from the imbalance
composition of the reserves of organic matter especially nitrogen, phosphorus and
sulfur unplenished supply after cultivation of vegetation, living the soil prone to soil
infertility, unable to stabilize the soil physicality which ultimately let to desertification
o irregular maintenance of a proper nutrient supply of trace elements gives rise to the
use of excessive synthetic fertilizers, which are non biodegradable and accumulate in
the soil system which eventually destroys useful organisms such as bacteria, fungi
and other organisms
o improper maintenance of the correct soil acidity which ultimately disrupt the
adaptation of various crops and native vegetation of different soils as the solubility of
minerals present will be affected. In a more acidic soil, minerals tend to be more
soluble and washed away during rainfall while alkaline soil, minerals are more
insoluble which form complex minerals unable to be absorbed into the flora system
physiological usage.
• Improper irrigation practices;
o poorly drained soil result in salt deposits leading to high soil salinity that inhibit plant
growth and may lead to crop failure
o unirrigated land giving rise to stagnation of agriculture waste products which
accumulates and increases land toxicity and also decreasing
• irregular irrigation leads to decreasing moisturization of land for soil medium and
replenishments of solvents for mineral.

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Impacts of Land Pollution

Each kind of pollution has significant impacts to our everyday lives, affecting all living and non-
living factors in the biosphere and the atmosphere and also involve socio-economic factors. These
impacts have caused significant changes to the environment we are living in.

Impacts can be seen from the following aspects.

• Biodiversity degradation
• Emergence of variant diseases
• Contamination of food leading to food shortage
• Economical effects
• Alteration to geographical landscapes
o Deforestation
o Desertification
o Erosion
o Landslide
• Climatic pattern change
o Global warming
• Distortion of food web
• Alteration to lifestyle due to overwhelming pollution

Climatic pattern change : Global Warning

Global Warming is the extraordinary increase of Earth's surface temperature due to the increase of
greenhouse gases concentration on the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases are the heat-trapping gases in the
atmosphere (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and CFC). They are the fundamental parts of the
greenhouse effect, the role played by the atmosphere to continually warm the earth, by trapping some
portions of heat that came from the solar energy (sun radiation) from reflecting back to space --- just like the
work of a greenhouse.

• Causes of Global Warming

o Rapid use of fossil fuel :

Rapid use of fossil fuel will emit large amount of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide.

o Deforestation / clearing of lands :

The increase of human population coincidentally demands for more lands to use. This leads to
clearance of forest area in many regions. By eliminating forests, carbon dioxide that actually should be
photosynthesized is left in the atmosphere and accumulate to contribute to the increase.

o The use of CFC in electronic appliances : CFC, or chlorofluorocarbon is a gas that

decreases ozone (O3) in the atmosphere, causing ozone depletion that increase the amount of
solar radiation arriving to the Earth. ozone depletion
o Open burning of trash :

Open burning of trash worldwide emits greenhouse gases.

o Vehicle and industrial emissions

o Volcanic eruptions
• Signs of Global Warming
o The receding of ice formations on Earth (snows at mountain-tops, glaciers, and Antarctic and
Arctic ice)
o The increase of shrubbery in Arctic

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o Thinner clouds over the sky, that decrease the ability to reflect heat from the sun (as studied
by NASA)
o The discovery of the decrease of Earth's albedo (the amount of sunlight reflection by the Earth
surface to the Moon) by 2.5 percent, which means the Earth has loosen some levels of
capability to reflect sunlight to the Moon.
o Change in wind directions
• Impacts
o Stormy weather (more chances for hurricanes, floods, cyclones, and storms to happen)
o Increased severity for drought, hunger and spread of diseases, especially in poor countries
o Declines of amphibians, caused by altered precipitation patterns resulted in lower levels of
pond and lake waters, where amphibians survive.
o Damages to coral reefs
o Marine diseases
o Rising ocean temperature
o Ecosystem degradation
o Declining of biodiversity
o Economic and social downturn

Contamination of food leading to food shortage

• Fertile land becoming poisonous for living organisms underground and agriculture practice,
nutrients lost, locked up or becomes toxic
• Aquatic ecosystem depletes further and non-consumable water supplies noxious fumes and
gas permeates, blanketing atmosphere.

Distortion of food web A combination of

1. mass viral infections and attacks on certain organisms;

2. contamination and pollution of food supplies which is inedible; and
3. uncontrollable hunting of exotic/rare/endangered species will lead to the disequilibria of
species population.

The next impact will be the imbalance in the ration of producers, consumers and decomposers in the
ecology system, which consequently distorts the pattern of energy flow through the chain/web. This
will bring to disruption of ecological food pyramid.

When ecological food pyramid is disrupted, insufficient consumption of food cause organisms
deprived of energy, thus affecting the organism's metabolism of its biochemical activities. Then,
growth and development of organisms will be affected, and leads to mass starvation and mortality in
world population. On the other hand, particular species extinction occurred while its predators
dominates, thus ecological niche in ecosystems change.

Economical effects

Continuous development for globalization due to increasing activity of agriculture, industrialization, fisheries,
timber and mining will lead to:

• rapid and excessive constructions of factories and building

• increase in emissions of toxic and poisonous gases
• destruction of ecosystems
• they will also lead to permanent and irreversible damage to the environment.

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Remediation Techniques

Recycling contaminated land for housing and other development prevents loss of green spaces and habitats,
increased flood risks from building on flood plains, the exodus of homes and jobs from the city centre, the
social costs of fragmented urban neighbourhoods and housing blight caused by empty properties in urban

Once a contaminated site has been identified, the local authority will work with the person who caused the
contamination or the land owner or occupier to ensure that the site is properly remediated. In some
circumstances, the Environment Agency takes over this role.

Techniques that can be used to remediate land :

• containment systems, such as cover systems

• biological processes, such as biopiling
• chemical processes, such as stabilisation/solidification
• physical processes, such as soil vapour extraction
• thermal processes, such as incineration
• removal of contaminated materials for disposal at landfill or other waste facility

The Environment Agency and others have produced technical guidance about the design of remediation
schemes and the various techniques that can be used.

Preventive measures

• Reduction in the use of non-renewable sources of energy and increased use of renewable
sources will undoubtedly decrease the emission of GHGs substantially. This decrease in the
GHGs will have a positive affect on the health and well being of the people.
• switching to cleaner fuels and energy-efficient technologies will reduce local pollutants and
therefore, have an added beneficial impact on health.

Soil Conservation

Soil conservation technologies Soil conservation technologies for cultivated land has the following main

• to keep the soil healthy and so optimize soil condition for plant growth;
• to optimize soil moisture availability for plant growth and,
• to keep the soil in place so as to retain soil and nutrients for plant growth.

The technologies fall into four main categories:

• Correct land selection

• Physical soil conservation measures
• Agronomic practices
• Agro-forestry practices

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Sources of Land Pollution

Pollution of land is caused by disposal of solid waste, refuse from domestic, industrial and
agricultural sectors.

Industrial wastes are:

Chemical residues
Fly ash from thermal power stations
Discarded metal

Agricultural residues are:


- Courtesy by : C.P.R.Environmental Education Centre, Chennai

Categories of Major sources of Land Pollution

• agriculture
• mining and quarrying
• sewage sludge
• dredged spoils
• household
• demolitions and constructions
• industrial

Oil field is a part of the environment pollution. The industries are developing. Also there are a lot of
oil factories which are building. So soil containing hydrocarbons from leaking oil tanks. That makes
the soild are impact thier qualities. These contaminants polluted the soils and produced some
stinking smell. That makes the environment lost it's natural atmosphere and vividness.

On the other hand, The composting and pesticides are the reasons that influence the environment.
Also they effect poeple's health because they belongs to one of the chemicals of the industry. In
terms of chemicals, they are always a kind of harmful matters. Furthermore, poeple didn't treature the
environment. They alway throuht garbages away. That makes the environment was very terrible.
They would bring a lot of bugs and mosquitoes which would hurt poeple. Otherwise, the garbages
were piled on the ground for a long time. It would decay, and produced chemical reaction. This
reaction would discharge stinking smell and matters which were destroyed the soils. Thereby, people
must notice these factors. And find out the suitable way to protect the environment and bring the
healthy life to people.

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Health impacts
In day to day life due to various human activities the environment gets polluted. The degradation of the environmental
elements has caused the people to take necessary preventive control measures. Hence there is a need to assess the cause
for degradation and which in tern is affecting the ecology. The assessment of positive and negative effects of land, water,
and air environment on the health of a person is called Health Impact Assessment.

Climate change is a major problem caused by the increase of human activities leading to several direct and indirect
impacts on health. The combustion of fossil fuels, increasing number of industries, and large-scale deforestation are some
of the causes for the accumulation of GHGs (greenhouse gases) in the atmosphere. According to the IPCC
(Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), an increase in carbon dioxide and other GHGs, like methane, ozone,
nitrous oxide, and chlorofluorocarbons, in the atmosphere is expected to increase the average global temperature by 1.5 °
C to 4.5 ° C. This in turn will lead to changes in rainfall and snowfall, more intense or frequent droughts, floods, and
storms, as well as a rise in sea level. These climatic changes will have wide-ranging harmful effects including increase in
heat-related mortality, dehydration, spread of infectious diseases, malnutrition, and damage to public health
infrastructure. Thus we should take appropriate measures to stop this climate change.

Direct impacts :

The weather has a direct impact on our health. If the overall climate becomes warmer, there will be an increase in health
problems. It is anticipated that there will be an increase in the number of deaths due to greater frequency and severity of
heat waves and other extreme weather events. The elderly, the very young and those suffering from respiratory and
cardiovascular disorders will probably be affected by such weather extremes as they have lesser coping capacity. An
extreme rise in the temperature will affect people living in the urban areas more than those in the rural areas. This is due
to the ‘heat islands’ that develop here owing to the presence of concrete constructions, paved and tarred roads. Higher
temperatures in the cities would lead to an increase in the ground-level concentration of ozone thereby increasing air
pollution problems.

Indirect impacts :

Indirectly, changes in weather pattern, can lead to ecological disturbances, changes in food production levels, increase in
the distribution of malaria, and other vector-borne diseases. Fluctuation in the climate especially in the temperature,
precipitation, and humidity can influence biological organisms and the processes linked to the spread of infectious

Higher temperature will cause the sea levels to rise that could lead to erosion and damage to important ecosystems such
as wetlands and coral reefs. Direct impact of this rise would include deaths and injury caused by intense flooding.
Temperature rise would indirectly result in geohydrological changes along the coastline such as saltwater intrusion into
the groundwater and the wetlands, coral reef destruction, and damage to the drainage in the low-lying areas. Climate
change could increase air pollution levels by accelerating the atmospheric chemical reactions that produce photochemical
oxidants due to a rise in the temperature.

Diseases The GHGs have been responsible for the depletion of stratospheric ozone, which protects the earth from the
harmful direct rays of the sun. Depletion of stratospheric ozone results in higher exposure to ultra violet rays of the sun,
leading to an increase in the incidents of skin cancer in light skinned people. It could also lead to an increase in the
number of people suffering from eye diseases such as cataract. It is also thought to cause suppression of the immune

Due to global warming there will be an increase in the areas of habitat of disease-spreading insects such as the mosquito,
causing an increase in the transmission of infection through these carriers.

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Global Environment Solutions

Environmental strategy
Developing an environmental strategy makes sound economic sense. It enables you to benefit from significant
cost savings while remaining compliant with all the relevant environmental legislation.

Efficiency savings
The most effective ways is recycling which help you achieve maximum reductions at minimum cost.

Asset protection
Land often represents a significant company asset and contaminated land can be a financial liability, if the
risks are not identified.

Environmental quality
Quality is an important consideration.


What is Recycling?

One Most people are familiar with the word recycling. But sometimes we forget that it means more than just
throwing the odd pop can into a recycling box.

What does recycling mean?

Recycling is a multi-stage process that describes:

• people saving their recyclables for the curb or depot

• the materials being collected and prepared for market
• industries buying those materials back
• transporting shipments of materials to buyers, and
• people buying new products that have been made from recycled materials!

3 main components of the recycling system:

1. the companies that make products and sell them to households and businesses
2. people who buy products and separate their recyclable trash, and
3. the recycling industry that collects, sorts and processes our recyclable materials, and gets
them back to the manufacturers who will make new products from them.

Recycling Plastic

Six types of plastic have been designated as recyclable:

1. polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

2. high-density polyethylene (HDPE)
3. polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
4. low-density polyethylene (LDPE)
5. polypropylene (PP) and
6. polystyrene (PS)

These usually carry the familiar recycling triangle with a number from 1 to 6 marked inside. Of course, the fact
that an item is technically recyclable does not mean that is being accepting in a recycling program.

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Acceptance for recycling depends on economics, ease of collection and handling, and the existence of
accessible markets.

Why aren't more kinds of plastic recycled?

Although items made from all six types of plastic can technically be made into other products, recycling only

• if the material can be collected efficiently in sufficient volumes,

• if someone is actually operating a plant to process that type of plastic,
• if transportation costs to ship the recyclable material to the plant are not too high,
• if the revenue from the sale of the collected material is sufficient, and
• if the plant has the capacity to process the material. At present, most Manitoba programs take
#1 plastic (pop bottles) and #2 plastic (milk jugs) because there are places to send these
materials (markets). In the case of the other kinds of recyclable plastic, the plants which might
take them are either too far away or else they already have all the plastic they need. There
seems little point in collecting quantities of material that cannot be sent anywhere for

How could we encourage more plastic recycling?

Economics presents a major challenge to recycling of plastics. At the current price of petroleum, it is often
cheaper to make plastic products from new material than from recycled material. In other words, the cost of
collecting, sorting, shipping, and processing recycled plastic is higher than the cost of pumping, refining and
delivering new material made directly from petroleum. Some people have suggested that government should
require manufacturers of plastic containers to include a minimum amount of recycled material in their
products. That would create a market demand for more recycled plastic.


Society of the Plastics Industry of Canada, Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, Resource Conservation
Manitoba, City of Winnipeg, Manitoba Product Stewardship Corporation

More Links for Other Related Topics

• Environmental Facts and Figures on

Contaminated Land
• wlapwww.gov.bc.ca/wat/wq/bmps/npsaction.html
Tackling Non-Point Source Water Pollution in British Columbia: An Action Plan. 1999. Ministry
of Environment, Lands and Parks (now called Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection).
• www.un.org.
• www.cjnetworks.com
Maintaining Our Environment
• Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
Household Hazardous Waste
• University of California, Santa Cruz
EHS - Hazardous Waste

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