The food we eat comes from plants that grow in the soil or livestock that feed on plants. Without healthy soil, we cannot grow healthy crops that sustain the entire population. However, we keep contaminating soil through various activities. 

Soil pollution is common due to artificial activities introducing toxic elements into the soil. Soil usually becomes contaminated when the toxic elements reach a high level that can cause harm to human beings and other forms of life. Here are the four main causes of contaminated soils.

Industrial Activity

Industrial activity is the top contributor to soil contamination in the world. More industries that prepare products using raw materials from the earth are coming up, and they keep contaminating the soil due to poor disposal. Contaminated soils from industrial activity usually contain chemicals from wastewater and waste products coming from the industries.  

Agricultural Activity

Another major cause of contaminated soils is toxic materials from agricultural activities. Farmers are using pesticides to control pests on their farms and fertilizers to improve crop productivity. The chemicals from pesticides and fertilizer can sip into the soil through the discharge of wastewater or rain. 

Poor Waste Disposal

Most cities have a waste management system where all waste products are taken for proper disposal. However, some individuals or industries do not want to follow the rules and regulations of waste disposal, dumping their waste products in undesignated areas. Toxins from these waste products can contaminate the soil if the waste products are left in that place for a long time. 

Acid Rain

Rain is usually good for the soil because it adds moisture, which crops need to grow. However, sometimes rain can contain toxic chemicals due to the presence of pollutants in the air. When the polluted air condenses into rain and falls back to earth, the toxins get absorbed into the soil.

Acid rain occurs when many industries release toxic fumes into the air. The only way to prevent acid rain is to ensure industries do not release excess toxic fumes into the air. Using less gas-operated machinery on farms can also prevent contaminated soils through acid rain. 

Help Stop Soil Pollution

Soil pollution is a problem that needs fixing if the world needs to achieve food security. Farmers should avoid using excess pesticides and fertilizers, industries should practice proper waste disposal, and people should participate in reforestation and afforestation initiatives. Creating awareness programs to teach people about soil conservation can also help stop soil pollution. 

Author bio: Building off over 3 decades of experience from working with his father Jim Mayfield (Mayfield Enterprises, Inc.), James mastered the industry in Foremanship for over 15 years on HAZMAT and Superfund Sites throughout Southern California. Among many other partners, we has worked with Project Navigator, RE Solutions, Crew Grading Inc., WSP, SCS Engineers, TRC Corporation, GeoSyntec, NV5 Environmental, Entact Corp, Waste by Rail, Michael Baker, ERRG, O&M Corp, Largo Concrete, B&D Construction, Xebec, WorkSmart, JLL Enterprises, Mayfield Enterprises, Inc., Arcadis, and more. In addition to being a Stanford-educated Professor with over 30 publications and books in several languages (see Academic Resume), James’ real passion lies in Construction-related Project Management, Environmental Cleanups, HAZMAT, Excavation, and Field Labor. We are also Minority-Owned. James Mayfield is a Native American citizen of the Iowa Tribe of Kansas & Nebraska.