Soil Conservation & Soil Degradation
This article provides you the detail of Soil Degradation, causes and sources of Soil Pollution and the effect of Soil Pollution, and the information about the Soil Conservation of degraded and polluted land.
What is Soil Degradation?
Soil Degradation is defined as the decline of the soil health condition which is caused by improper agricultural practices, urban and industrial purposes, and poor or improper management of soil. By the Soil Degradation, the production capacity of the land also declines, and there will be loss of soil biodiversity, fertility of the soil, and loss in agricultural production.
Read About: Soil Health Card Scheme
Causes of Soil Degradation
Soil degradation is the decline of soil quality in terms of biological, chemical, and physical features. It can be the loss of structure and texture of the soil, loss of the organic matter and fertility of the soil, etc., the Soil Degradation causes by the following phenomenon:
- Water erosion (a major reason for Soil degradation)
- Wind erosion
- Fertility decline
- Soil acidity or alkalinity
- Structure decline (includes surface sealing and soil compaction)
- Loss of organic matter
- Mass movement
- Soil contamination (that is Soil Pollution)
Read About: Environment Protection Act 1986
Causes, Sources & Effect of Soil Pollution
The soil is the life support system of human life. Soil pollution is one of the major reasons for soil degradation. Soil becomes polluted either due to environmental hazards or misdeeds of man. The main factors of soil pollution are soil erosion, excessive use of chemical fertilizers, and plant protection chemicals.
Soil is also polluted by liquid and solid wastes from urban and industrial areas, forest fires, waterlogging, related capillary processes, and mining wastes. Soil pollution can be reduced by a judicious application of chemical fertilizers, insecticides, and pesticides. The urban and industrial effluents can be used for irrigation after proper treatment.
Causes of Soil Pollution
- The following are the causes of Soil Pollution:
- Indiscriminate use of herbicides, insecticides, pesticides, and fertilizers.
- Dumping of a large quantity of solid waste.
- Soil erosion and deforestation.
- Pollution due to urbanization.
Sources of Soil Pollution
The sources of the Soil Pollution are given below:
(i) Industrial wastes
Industrial wastes include chemicals like mercury, lead, cadmium, acids, cyanides, etc.
The chemicals such as algicides, fungicides, rodenticides, insecticides, etc.
(iii) Fertilizers and Manures
Excessive use of chemical fertilizers in agriculture to increase crop production is also the major cause of Soil Pollution.
(iv) Discarded materials
It includes leather, asphalt, concrete, glass, plastic, etc.
(v) Radioactive Wastes:
Radioactive elements from nuclear plants and mining contaminate the water and the soil.
(vi) Other Pollutants
Air pollutants like acid rain and water pollutant are also mixed into the soil and make it polluted.
Effects of Soil Pollution
The effect of soil pollution affected each and every section of the environment and humans.
- Reduced soil fertility.
- Nitrogen fixation is reduced.
- Increase erosion.
- Loss of nutrients in the soil.
- Reduction in crop yield.
- Toxic chemicals entering groundwater.
- Release of pollutant gases.
- Decrease in vegetation.
- Ecological imbalance.
- Imbalance in flora and fauna.
- Clogging of drains.
- Inundation of areas.
- Foul smell and release of gases.
- Waste management problems.
Read Here: Environmental Pollution
Conservation of soil is paramount if you look at the soil resources of a country which have a population of more than 1 billion. The farmers in the drier parts of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, and Gujarat have successfully protected their field from soil erosion by planting rows of trees to reduce the velocity of the wind which will erode the soil cover.
Soil conservation includes a reduction in soil erosion, afforestation, rational utilization of soils, and ways to enhance their sustainability.
Read Here: Important Dams of India
Methods of soil conservation
Soil conservation methods involve the following steps to conserve the soil:
The plantation of trees helps in the reduction of soil erosion. Trees increase the seepage of water to the underground water table and reduce the intensity of runoff.
(ii) Restriction on felling of trees
Apart from afforestation, it is important to check the indiscriminate felling of trees.
(iii) Strip Cultivation and Contour Ploughing
In the hilly areas, ploughing should be done according to contours and in an up-down direction of the slope. In the same way, small strips can be developed on the gentle slopes for sowing crops which also helps in controlling soil erosion.
(iv) Control of Flood
The floods in India occur during the rainy season and which is one of the major reasons for soil degradation. To control the floods in India, we should divert the river by interlinking the overflowing rivers to the deficit rivers.
(v) Restriction on Shifting Cultivation
In the states of north-east India and Western and Eastern Ghats Shifting Cultivation (slash and burn) is one of the main reasons for soil erosion or soil degradation. So, Shifting Cultivation must be stopped.
(vi) Reclamation of saline and Alkaline (usar) Soil
The saline and Alkaline affected area in the country is very large. This land needs reclamation. To make this land useful application of Gypsum and Cow dung are quite helpful in improving this soil.