How to Control Soil Pollution

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Soil pollution is the addition of toxic and harmful chemicals, salts, microorganisms and radioactive elements to the soil layer. These substances decrease soil fertility by reducing its mineral content. They also adversely affect plant and animal growth. Soil pollution is a big problem, but steps are being taken to control it.

Reducing Usage of Chemicals

Pesticides and fungicides are essential for plant growth but their overuse has led to soil pollution. Bio-fertilization and manures should be used instead of their chemical alternatives. Biofertilization is a process in which certain microorganisms are used to increase the fertility and growth capacity of soil. The process reduces the need for pesticides and fungicides. Manure, meanwhile, is always considered preferable to pesticides. In its organic form, manure has few negative effects on the ecological system.

Recycling is another way to reduce and control soil pollution. Recycling paper, plastics and other materials reduces the volume of refuse in landfills, another common cause of soil pollution.

De-forestation, the cutting down of trees, causes erosion, pollution and the loss of fertility in the topsoil. Planting trees--or re-forestation--helps prevent soil erosion and pollution.

Weeds soak up minerals in the soil. Reducing weed growth helps reduce soil pollution. One of the more common methods of reducing weed growth is covering the soil with numerous layers of wet newspapers or a plastic sheet for several weeks before cultivation. This prevents light from reaching the weeds, which kills them.

Designated pits should be used for the dumping of soil wastes. These wastes should be treated chemically and biologically to make them less toxic and hazardous. Biological treatment involves the use of anaerobic microorganisms, such as methanogens and acetogens, which help break down the soil wastes into a less toxic and biodegradable form.

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