Cause And Effect Essay On Land Pollution

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.

What is Land Pollution?

When we talk about air or water pollution, the reactions garnered are stronger. This is because we can see the effects caused by the pollutants and their extent very clearly. It is normal human psychology to believe in what you see first hand.  Our land on the other hand is living a nightmare too. We may not be able to see the effects with clarity, but land is being polluted and abused constantly and we are unable to calculate the damages incurred. Land Pollution has come to become one of the serious concerns that we collectively battle.

Land pollution, in other words, means degradation or destruction of earth’s surface and soil, directly or indirectly as a result of human activities. Anthropogenic activities are conducted citing development, and the same affects the land drastically, we witness land pollution; by drastic we are referring to any activity that lessens the quality and/or productivity of the land as an ideal place for agriculture, forestation, construction etc. The degradation of land that could be used constructively in other words is land pollution.

Land Pollution has led to a series of issues that we have come to realize in recent times, after decades of neglect. The increasing numbers of barren land plots and the decreasing numbers of forest cover is at an alarming ratio. Moreover the extension of cities and towns due to increasing population is leading to further exploitation of the land. Land fills and reclamations are being planned and executed to meet the increased demand of lands. This leads to further deterioration of land, and pollution caused by the land fill contents. Also due to the lack of green cover, the land gets affected in several ways like soil erosion occurs washing away the fertile portions of the land. Or even a landslide can be seen as an example.

Causes of Land Pollution

Below are the sources of land pollution:

1. Deforestation and soil erosion:Deforestation carried out to create dry lands is one of the major concerns. Land that is once converted into a dry or barren land, can never be made fertile again, whatever the magnitude of  measures to redeem it are. Land conversion, meaning the alteration or modification of the original properties of the land to make it use-worthy for a specific purpose is another major cause. This hampers the land immensely. Also there is a constant waste of land. Unused available land over the years turns barren; this land then cannot be used. So in search of more land, potent land is hunted and its indigenous state is compromised with.

2. Agricultural activities: With growing human population, demand for food has increased considerably. Farmers often use highly toxic fertilizers and pesticides to get rid off insects, fungi and bacteria from their crops. However with the overuse of these chemicals, they result in contamination and poisoning of soil.

3. Mining activities: During extraction and mining activities, several land spaces are created beneath the surface. We constant hear about land caving in; this is nothing but nature’s way of filling the spaces left out after mining or extraction activity.

4. Overcrowded landfills: Each household produces tonnes of garbage each year. Garbage like aluminum, plastic, paper, cloth, wood is collected and sent to the local recycling unit. Items that can not be recycled become a part of the landfills that hampers the beauty of the city and cause land pollution.

5. Industrialization: Due to increase in demand for food, shelter and house, more goods are produced. This resulted in creation of more waste that needs to be disposed of.  To meet the demand of the growing population, more industries were developed which led to deforestation. Research and development paved the way for modern fertilizers and chemicals that were highly toxic and led to soil contamination.

6. Construction activities: Due to urbanization, large amount of construction activities are taking place which has resulted in large waste articles like wood, metal, bricks, plastic that can be seen by naked eyes outside any building or office which is under construction.

7. Nuclear waste:Nuclear plants can produce huge amount of energy through nuclear fission and fusion. The left over radioactive material contains harmful and toxic chemicals that can affect human health. They are dumped beneath the earth to avoid any casualty.

8. Sewage treatment: Large amount of solid waste is leftover once the sewage has been treated. The leftover material is sent to landfill site which end up in polluting the environment.

Effects of Land Pollution

1. Soil pollution: Soil pollution is another form of land pollution, where the upper layer of the soil is damaged. This is caused by the overuse of chemical fertilizers, soil erosion caused by running water and other pest control measures; this leads to loss of fertile land for agriculture, forest cover, fodder patches for grazing etc.

2. Change in climate patterns: The effects of land pollution are very hazardous and can lead to the loss of ecosystems. When land is polluted, it directly or indirectly affects the climate patterns.

3. Environmental Impact: When deforestation is committed, the tree cover is compromised on. This leads to a steep imbalance in the rain cycle. A disturbed rain cycle affects a lot of factors. To begin with, the green cover is reduced. Trees and plants help balance the atmosphere, without them we are subjected to various concerns like Global warming, the green house effect, irregular rainfall and flash floods among other imbalances.

4. Effect on human health: The land when contaminated with toxic chemicals and pesticides lead to problem of skin cancer and human respiratory system. The toxic chemicals can reach our body through foods and vegetables that we eat as they are grown in polluted soil.

5. Cause Air pollution: Landfills across the city keep on growing due to increase in waste and are later burned which leads to air pollution. They become home for rodents, mice etc which in turn transmit diseases.

6. Distraction for Tourist: The city looses its attraction as tourist destination as landfills do not look good when you move around the city. It leads to loss of revenue for the state government.

7. Effect on wildlife: The animal kingdom has suffered mostly in the past decades. They face a serious threat with regards to loss of habitat and natural environment. The constant human activity on land, is leaving it polluted; forcing these species to move further away and adapt to new regions or die trying to adjust. Several species are pushed to the verge of extinction, due to no homeland.

Other issues that we face include increased temperature, unseasonal weather activity, acid rains etc.  The discharge of chemicals on land, makes it dangerous for the ecosystem too. These chemicals are consumed by the animals and plants and thereby make their way in the ecosystem. This process is called bio magnification and is a serious threat to the ecology.

Solutions for Land Pollution

1. Make people aware about the concept of Reduce, Recycle and Reuse.

2. Reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers in agricultural activities.

3. Avoid buying packages items as they will lead to garbage and end up in landfill site.

4. Ensure that you do not litter on the ground and do proper disposal of garbage.

5. Buy biodegradable products.

6. Do Organic gardening and eat organic food that will be grown without the use of pesticides.

7. Create dumping ground away from residential areas.

Several creatures survive under the land too. Disrupting the harmony of the land, is disrupting their habitat. This has led to several creatures reaching the endangered status like the Gilbert’s Potoroo in Australia.

We walk and survive on land. It is literally the base of our ecosystem. It is in our good interest to take care of it and nurture it.

Image Credit: alyousifi ,  alexiperplexy


Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

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