Land is the main resource for agriculture and we have to produce more and more from less and less land to feed our growing population.
There are numerous sources for soil pollution, but the important among them are:
(i) Indiscriminate discharge of industrial effluents on land.
(ii) Waste disposal in rural and urban settlements.
(iii) Soil pollution due to fertilizers and pesticides.
All these three are important sources for soil pollution. Urban wastes, particularly solid wastes, pesticides and fertilizers are the main threat to our environment.
Urban solid waste which comprises biodegradable and non-biodegradable materials is assuming notoriety. They are mostly:
(i) Domestic refuse:
Putrescible, kitchen and food washes, plastic bags, papers and floor sweepings.
(ii) Market refuse:
Mostly putrescible vegetable animal and fish remnants.
(iii) Hospital refuse:
Waters from wards, operation theatre wastes, needles, cotton, gauzes, plaster, pantries, bottles, ampoules, food wastes etc.
(iv) Road sweeping:
Animal excreta, leaves, papers, human excreta, dust etc.
(v) Trade refuse:
Cloth cuttings from tailoring shops, car repairing garages.
(vi) Road construction rubbish:
Rubbish heaped on roads and streets. ,
(vii) Industrial wastes:
Oil soaked rags, thermoplastic wastes, timber wastes, chemical refuse including toxic matters.
(viii) Garden refuse:
Leaves, branches, plants, broken pots, stones, soil etc.
The per capita refuse production in Indian cities varies from 0.15 to 0.35kg/day. Growing unplanned urbanization coupled with lack of sense of sanitation, technological shortcomings and inapt management in metropolitan cities make people suffer badly by solid wastes. Agricultural practices introduce fertilizers and pesticides resulting in both biological and chemical pollution. Persistent pesticides are serious threats to our environment. Among them, DDT, triaging herbicides, benzoic acid herbicide, urea herbicides, organophosphate insecticides, carbonates and organ chloride insecticides poise serious land hazards.
Safe disposal of solid wastes is the best control measures. Utilization of urban wastes for sanitary land fill, biogas production and composting will reduce the load on land. Indiscriminate applications of pesticides are, now also regulated. Biological control of pests should be encouraged to combat pesticides use.