Soil Pollution: Causes, Impact, Examples and Solutions

Soil pollution is a condition where the soil is polluted in the surface area or even underground. This pollution is caused by pollutants or contaminants that contaminate the soil.

Soil pollution can occur due to many factors, but generally caused by human actions and also due to nature. So, there is natural soil pollution and there is artificial soil pollution.

The presence of highly toxic and dangerous chemicals, such as pollutants and contaminants that cause soil pollution to occur. Soil pollution is one of the causes of damage to human health to the health of flora and fauna.

Reviewing the cases of soil pollution contaminants, many are caused by natural causes within the soil itself. This occurs when the levels of these contaminants are high and can still cause contamination of the soil and remain at risk.

Even though, it is caused by natural processes of contaminants in the soil, they are still dangerous and have the potential to cause many negative impacts on life.

The same is true for air pollution and water pollution. Soil pollution is not a simple matter. In other words, soil pollution is a problem that needs to be given great attention. Especially in the last few decades, soil pollution has become a serious problem from time to time.

While other environmental problems that are also a serious problem are climate change, global warming or global warming and animal extinction.

Pollution that occurs in the soil is caused by precipitation due to waste materials, both in the form of solid waste and liquid waste. The deposition occurs on the ground surface to underground. This deposition process can contaminate the soil and of course groundwater as well.

This definition is explained based on the explanation from the Britannica dictionary . Soil pollution is also not the only pollution that exists.


Causes of Soil Pollution

Soil pollution, as previously mentioned, is very dangerous for human life, and has many negative impacts. Therefore, we need to know the causes of soil pollution so that we can reduce or prevent soil pollution.

Thus, the causes of soil pollution must be known by many people. By doing this, it can also be a hope that human life can change in a better direction.

1. Caused by Organic and Inorganic Waste

The cause of the first soil pollution is caused by organic waste and also inorganic waste. The definition of organic waste itself is waste which in the decomposition process does not take a long time and process, only with a short time this waste is easily decomposed. Meanwhile, inorganic waste takes a long time and a long process to decompose.

If a comparison is made, organic waste is still at a much better level than inorganic waste which is very dangerous. The process and time of decomposition also affect the hazardous levels of the two wastes.

However, that does not mean that organic waste does not have a negative impact. If the soil has an excess of organic waste, it will affect the growth and development of plants in its environment.

Organic waste is usually found in household waste, small industries, and others. Meanwhile, examples of organic waste, such as used food waste, leftover vegetables, and also rotting leaves.

In contrast to organic waste which is not too dangerous, inorganic waste is waste that is very dangerous for the environment. Inorganic waste which is very difficult to decompose causes soil contamination more easily.

An example of inorganic waste is all kinds of used plastic, cans, bottles and so on that don’t come from organic materials.

In addition to making the soil polluted, inorganic waste also plays a role in making the environment dirty. Thus, a place that has a lot of inorganic waste will become a mosquito nest. Why is that? because inorganic waste can be a container for collecting rainwater which is preferred by mosquitoes to be used as nests.

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This waste may be removed by burning, but this burning can also cause damage and pollution to the air.


2. Liquid Waste and Solid Waste

The cause of the next soil pollution is liquid waste and solid waste. Often people take lightly the existence of liquid waste that comes from the rest of the manufacture of a particular product. The majority of this liquid waste is produced by the industrial sector, both large and small industries.

The majority of this liquid waste is produced from factory waste. However, liquid waste originating from households and domestic affairs is still the largest contributor to soil pollution.

Examples of liquid waste originating from households and domestic affairs, such as water used for washing clothes, washing dishes, water used for detergents, or water used for carbolic acid for mopping floors.

This liquid waste greatly pollutes the soil because it dissolves and absorbs into the soil. In other words, this liquid waste plays a major role in destroying the content of substances in the soil.

Not only liquid waste, solid waste is equally dangerous in soil pollution. Solid waste is waste from residual activities in the form of production or consumption that has a solid form.

Similar to liquid waste, solid waste is also produced by the industrial sector in the form of pulp mills. In addition, domestic activities also contribute a lot of solid waste, such as leaves, plastic, paper, and so on.

Human life can never be separated from solid waste. In the end, this solid waste contaminates and pollutes the soil, disrupting the life cycle. In addition, the impact that is very visible from solid waste is not interesting to look at.


3. Agricultural Waste

Without us realizing that activities involving agricultural activities can also cause soil pollution. This farm produces a large amount of hazardous waste. Hazardous substances produced for agricultural activities are chemical fertilizers and pest repellents, namely pesticides.

Pesticides and fertilizers also contain many harmful chemicals, if used they will seep into the soil. Materials, these chemicals can damage structures and networks in the soil.

If things like this happen continuously, the soil will turn out to be infertile so that it will be polluted and no longer suitable for farming and farming activities.


4. Forest Fire

Apart from being caused by waste, human activities can also create pollution to the soil, for example forest fires which can be one of the causes of soil pollution. When the forest has been burned, it will be difficult for the forest to grow again with plants.

Soil contamination due to forest fires occurs because the important substances contained in the soil have died due to being burned by the fire.


5. Natural Disasters

Natural factors that can cause soil pollution are natural disasters. Naturally, natural disasters can contaminate the soil, especially when floods occur.

Floods can cause the layers of nutrients in the soil to slowly disappear because they are carried away by the currents of the water. The loss of nutrients causes the soil to become polluted.

In addition to flooding, volcanic eruptions can also create pollution to the soil. Soil covered with volcanic ash, sand, and other hazardous materials released by volcanoes can dry out the soil.

Although, volcanic ash and other hazardous materials can damage the soil, but after things change to normal again, the land that was covered earlier will turn out to be more fertile and loose over time.


Impact of Soil Pollution

If we already know and understand the causes of soil pollution, then we must understand the impact caused by soil pollution. The following are the impacts caused by soil pollution:


1. Impact on Health

Soil pollution can cause disturbance to human health. The impact on health is one of the most dangerous effects.

Many health problems are caused by soil pollution, one of which is gas inhalation. This gas comes from the ground which moves slowly upwards or also through inhalation caused by objects that are transported by various kinds of activities carried out by humans.

Soil contamination can cause various kinds of illnesses, such as headaches, nausea, relatively mild skin rashes, eye irritation, and respiratory problems. Other serious conditions caused by soil contamination are blockages in the neuromuscular , then damage to the kidneys, damage to the liver, and also cancer which can be caused by soil contamination.


Short-term illness caused by soil contamination
1. Fatigue
2. Headaches
3. Vomiting and Nausea
4. Chest pain
5. Rashes on the skin
6. Eye irritation
7. Problems with breathing, especially the lungs

Apart from attacking humans and creating short-term illnesses, soil contamination can also create long-term illnesses in the body. This is because inhalation of soil particulate matter and also food contamination can be a cause of poor health conditions and require serious treatment.

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Long-term disease caused by soil contamination
1. Cancer

Various types of cancer, including the most dangerous, namely leukemia. This is caused by contact between bodies with polluted soil because it is contaminated with various kinds of harmful chemicals, for example gasoline and benzene.

2. Nervous System Damage

Soil pollution can also damage the nervous system in our bodies. This is due to the presence of a hazardous substance in the form of lead (Pb) that enters the soil. Pollution due to lead needs to be considered because it has the potential to attack children who still like to play with soil.

3. Neuromuscular blockage

Soil contamination can also be fatal to neuromuscular blockage. If we experience this blockage, we will experience depression which is suffered by the nervous system at the center.

4. Kidney Damage

Soil that is polluted and has levels of mercury. Mercury is a dangerous substance and has the potential to cause kidney damage.

5. Liver Damage

Just like the kidneys, the liver can also be damaged because of the mercury content contained in the soil, both on the surface and underground soil.


2. Impact on the Ecosystem

After understanding the impact of soil pollution on the ecosystem on earth. Next to be discussed is the impact of soil pollution on the ecosystem.

Soil is the element of the earth that is the easiest to make changes to chemical content. In fact, it’s not just the chemical content, the fact is that even the structure in the soil is very volatile.

With changes in the structure and content contained in the soil, of course it will have an effect on changes in the metabolic system of all organisms that live and live in the soil. If the organisms in the soil are reduced, it will affect the ecosystem which will eventually break the cycle of the food chain.

3. Lowers Soil Fertility

The next impact caused by soil pollution is the loss or absence of soil biota or microflora in the soil. Of course, losing these biota is very detrimental because it makes the soil not as loose and fertile as before.

Book Recommendations About Environmental Knowledge

This is an article that explains soil pollution, its causes, impacts and also solutions to overcome it. If you want to learn more about the environment, you can immediately have the books we recommend, below!

Methods and Studies of Biological & Environmental Resources


Sustainable Environmental Management : Jatna Supriatna

Environmental Cartoons (2021)

Soil Pollution Solutions

This dangerous soil pollution can still be overcome in many ways, some solutions to tackle soil pollution are as follows:

1. Avoiding Excessive Agricultural Activities 

Farming is a normal thing and can be done, but it shouldn’t be too much. Because with excessive activity in planting and removing grass on the ground it will have an impact on natural disasters, causing erosion of the soil and also flooding.

In addition, we must reduce the use of harmful chemical fertilizers and pesticides that are commonly used to repel pests. This is because the two substances are one of the biggest contributors to soil pollution.


2. Reducing “Waste Footprint” Against Humans

Do you know what “Waste Footprint” is ? This waste footprint is the waste we produce in the form of waste that is difficult to decompose. So, humans must try to reduce the use of inorganic waste, such as plastic, and materials that require a long process to decompose.

This needs to be done to reduce the total accumulation of soil affected by harmful pollutants. How to reduce Waste Footprint? We must be accustomed to doing 3R activities, namely Reuse, Reduce and Recycle .


3. Land Washing

By washing the soil it is useful to remove various kinds of contaminants in the soil. How to wash the soil by using clean water and separating soil that has been contaminated with soil that has not been contaminated.

By using the soil washing method, humans can help make the environment healthier and less polluted without having to dig up the soil.


4. Bioremediation

Furthermore, the methods and solutions used to overcome soil pollution are with the help of microorganisms that have the ability to fertilize the soil.

These microorganisms play an important role in reducing various kinds of contaminants and can restore soil to be more fertile as before.

However, the obstacle in this bioremediation method is that there must be an appropriate temperature as well as good nutrient and oxygen content in the soil.


5. Reduce Packaged Goods

Reducing the purchase of packaged products can also help reduce soil contamination. Packaged products will produce a lot of inorganic waste which will eventually end up in landfills and create soil pollution. We ourselves know how dangerous inorganic waste is which is very difficult to decipher.


6. Stop Throwing Garbage on the Ground

In order to create good and unpolluted soil, we must get used to not littering on the ground. Dispose of trash in its place and segregate it by type.


7. Organic Gardening

Next, make an organic garden and make it a habit to eat organic food that is not contaminated with harmful substances such as pesticides. By doing this, not only will the soil be healthy, but our bodies will also be healthy.

By: Ai Siti Rahayu