- Air deposition, either dry (from mining and smelting industries, foundries, etc.) or wet (from acid rain),
- Landfills for waste disposal;
- Coming into contact with tainted groundwater or surface waterways.
The erosion and disintegration of the earth’s crust as a result of an unnatural and excessive concentration of harmful substances is known as land pollution or soil contamination. The diseases brought on by land contamination are putting people’s health in greater danger every day. As a result, it has recently emerged as one of the most significant environmental issues.
What Diseases do Land Pollutants Induce?
Pollutants are undesired compounds that are found in the environment as a result of naive human behavior and natural processes. Pollutants that harm the environment include:
On the earth’s crust, it is mostly present as arsenic sulfide and arsenide. Natural occurrences like volcanic eruptions and exudates from flora, as well as human activities like metal smelting, mining, and pesticide production, release arsenic into the environment. Furthermore, a significant industrial source of arsenic that contaminates the soil is the bulk manufacture of antifungal wood preservatives.
There are many routes for lead to enter the environment, including through gasoline, paint, and various industrial operations. Health risks are associated with lead.
The main cause of lead contamination is gasoline with lead in it. Humans breathe in atmospheric air that contains lead; excessive inhalation raises blood lead levels.
Most commonly, it can be found as methyl mercury. Long-term exposure to it impairs brain development and lowers IQ.
Natural occurrences like forest fires can cause mercury emissions. Additionally, the production of cement, smelting, and mining all contribute to the environment’s mercury emissions.
4. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon
These organic molecules each have one hydrogen and carbon atom. It comes in naphthalene and phenalene forms. Cancer and cardiovascular conditions are also brought on by prolonged exposure to them.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are dispersed in our environment by means of vehicle emissions, shale oil extraction, etc.
Pesticides poison the soil when used carelessly because they harm the soil’s microorganisms and biomass, including bacteria and earthworms.
Insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides are types of pesticides that eradicate and manage weeds, insects, and undesirable plants. But these chemicals harm our nervous system, impair our immune system, and even cause cancer.
Overall, pollutants including heavy metals (such as arsenic, antimony, and thallium) and organic pollutants have a significant role in the degradation of the soil and the transmission of infectious diseases. Some xenobiotics are involved in land contamination.
Who Is Prone to Contract an Infection?
Solid, liquid, and gaseous forms of soil contaminants occur. They can enter the body through various openings and have dangerous effects.
Age affects one’s risk factors for developing the aforementioned diseases brought on by land pollution; older persons are more likely to develop severe conditions and serious health problems. It depends on how a person is exposed to contaminants and how long that exposure lasts.
Table of Contents
Diseases caused by Land Pollution
A wide range of risks to plants, animals, and human health are presented by land contamination. Pollutants change the composition of the soil, resulting in an unfavorable soil environment that promotes a number of infectious diseases.
The chance of acquiring a number of conditions, some of which may be short-term or long-term, may increase as a result of exposure to environmental pollution brought on by soil pollutants.
But, the diseases caused by land pollution are conditions that are caused by long-term exposure to land pollution.
The Short-term Effects include
- Chest pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Skin rashes
- Coughing up blood.
- Irritated eyes
Other problems may develop following direct or indirect interaction with soil pollutants in addition to the symptoms mentioned above.
Long-term diseases that are caused by contaminants in the soil include the following
The majority of pesticides and fertilizers contain carcinogens including benzene, chromium, and other compounds (chemicals that cause cancer). Such chemicals are even present in herbicides, which are used to destroy weeds.
When pesticides and herbicides are sprayed on fields or when fertilizers are applied to crops, the chemicals soak into the soil and build up, causing soil pollution. Additionally, the crops that are grown there are also exposed to these pollutants.
Consuming these infected crops reduces the blood’s ability to produce red blood cells, white blood cells, and antibodies, which has an impact on the body’s immune system.
Long-term exposure to asbestos can cause lung cancer. A typical soil contaminant is an asbestos.
When asbestos is inhaled, it travels to the lungs where it builds up over time, causing serious diseases such as lung cancer, parenchymal asbestosis, and pleural mesothelioma. Dioxins are also linked to the development of cancer.
Leukemia, anemia, and abnormal menstruation periods in women are all caused by long-term exposure to benzene. Benzene exposure can be lethal at high doses. Crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke all include the liquid chemical known as benzene.
It is a component of chemical synthesis and interferes with cellular processes by lowering the creation of antibodies, white blood cells, and red blood cells, weakening the body’s defenses.
Furthermore, carcinogenic and toxic pollutants like dioxin and arsenic harm development and reproduction.
Dioxin exposure can have a serious negative impact on developing fetuses. Lead in the soil has an impact on the nervous system, particularly in young children.
These toxic substances also have other immediate negative consequences on the human body, such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, skin and eye irritation, exhaustion, and weakness.
2. Kidney and Liver Disease
When contaminants in the soil, such as mercury and cyclodienes, are present, they can enter a living thing’s body through the food that is cultivated there. The kidneys and liver may suffer permanent damage as a result of these persistent toxins.
Living close to industrial factories and rubbish dumps puts a person at a higher risk of acquiring liver and kidney disorders since the soil at these locations frequently contains harmful chemicals.
Kidney and liver damage is a result of the presence of heavy metals like cadmium that enters the human food chain. Low bone density is another effect. Kidneys ruptured by cadmium produce too much protein when they urinate.
Mercury consumption also damages the liver, kidneys, central nervous system, and stomach. People who are exposed to lead-contaminated soil can suffer from kidney injury.
The likelihood of acquiring irreversible kidney damage is also significantly increased by soil contaminants like mercury and cyclodienes. The liver is also intoxicated by cyclodienes and PCBs.
The situation is worse for the poor who are compelled by difficult circumstances to live close to industrial factories, landfills and dump sites where they are regularly exposed to soil contamination.
In addition to brain damage and respiratory issues, they also suffer from compromised immune systems, kidney, and liver difficulties.
In places with frequent heavy rains, like the tropics, contaminated water or raw sewage may mix with the soil.
Such environments are ideal for the protozoa that cause malaria and the mosquitoes that serve as its carriers, and the increased reproduction of both leads to recurrent outbreaks of malaria.
Water and soil contamination are tightly related, and together they make for a dangerous mix. Sludge is created when filthy soil contaminates water or the other way around.
Malaria is brought on by the sludge’s protozoa. How? In stagnant water, mosquitoes reproduce and disseminate these protozoan germs to people, where they infect them with malaria.
This effect of dirty soil manifests itself in regions with excessive rainfall and soil that has been contaminated by sewage water.
4. Cholera and Dysentery
Water pollution and soil pollution are closely related because contaminated soil can drain into surface and ground waters, contaminating drinking water and causing an outbreak of diseases like cholera and dysentery.
As a result, water-borne illnesses like cholera and dysentery are on the rise. Around the world, dysentery alone claims the lives of approximately 140 million people, and each year, 25,000–30,000 people die from it in the United States.
5. Brain and Nerve Damage
In settings like playgrounds and parks, where lead-contaminated soil has been shown to interfere with brain and neuromuscular development, children can be exposed to the negative consequences of soil pollution.
6. Skin and Stomach Infections
If soil gathers under someone’s fingernails, it may enter the body. Green leafy vegetables and underground vegetables (whose primary growth zone is below the earth) are susceptible to residue and soil flecks. The soil will enter the body of a person who has not been adequately (or at all) washed.
This soil’s swallowed germs have the potential to produce amoebiasis or a severe stomach ailment. As a result, it’s crucial to thoroughly wash veggies before preparing or eating them. To prevent such diseases, regular hygiene maintenance is crucial.
Any of the aforementioned illnesses have the potential to negatively impact a person’s long-term health and, in some situations, be fatal. Because of this, drastic measures are being attempted to eliminate or at the very least reduce the severity of soil pollution.
By knowing more about reducing soil pollution and taking precautions to avoid diseases brought on by soil pollution, you can contribute to the environment and protect your health.
Chronic arsenic poisoning is the effect of long-term arsenic consumption. Damage to the heart, liver, and gastrointestinal tract results from excessive ingestion of arsenic.
The main source of arsenic is consuming unclean water. Additionally, long-term contact with it causes skin diseases like keratosis and hyperpigmentation.
8. Skeletal Fluorosis
Land contamination is a condition that results in skeletal fluorosis. Over time, fluoride from the earth builds up in the bones. Early signs include joint pain and stiffness.
Osteosclerosis, calcification of tendons and ligaments, and other bone abnormalities are all symptoms of crippling skeletal fluorosis.
Reforestation and afforestation techniques must be used. Farmers can utilize a variety of techniques, including crop rotation, organic fertilizers, and integrated pest management.
Integrating recycling practices into your daily life is one of the most significant methods to reduce landfill waste, safeguard natural resources, maintain wildlife, reduce noise, save energy, and slow global warming.
By lowering surface erosion and conserving the fertile topsoil, reforestation prevents river and lake silting. It lessens the amount of precipitation runoff and prevents the soil surface from sealing.
Biodegradable plastics generate a lot less waste than plastics made from petroleum. Biodegradable plastics break down into harmless, nontoxic byproducts as they age.
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A passion-driven environmentalist by heart. Lead content writer at EnvironmentGo.
I strive to educate the public about the environment and its problems.
It has always been about nature, we ought to protect not destroy.