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10 Factors That Cause Land Pollution

Muhammad Rafiq is a freelance writer, blogger, and translator with a master's degree in English literature from the University of Malakand.

People hear the word pollution and don’t stop to think about its causes or its consequences. In fact, many people don’t even know what land pollution is! It’s understandable—it isn’t as apparent as water pollution or air pollution, so you might not realize just how dangerous it can be, particularly when it's left untreated.

The following 10 causes of land pollution will help you understand exactly what it means and why it needs to be taken seriously.

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10 Reasons for Land Pollution

  1. Improper Landfills
  2. Construction Sites
  3. Abandoned Factories
  4. Open Dumps
  5. Household Chemicals
  6. Agriculture Practices
  7. Urbanization
  8. Lack of Sewage System
  9. Nuclear Waste
  10. Pesticides and Herbicides

1. Improper Landfills

It is one of the main causes of land pollution. These sites are often located in areas where people live. The garbage is not properly covered and lined, so rainwater washes through the garbage and leaches out pollutants into the soil and surface water.

The rainwater carries the pollutants to streams, lakes, rivers, and oceans. Improper landfills can also cause fires since there is no way of controlling what kind of garbage is being dumped there and there are usually many flammable materials.

Improper landfills have a toxic effect on the environment. They can contaminate groundwater with harmful chemicals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. These chemicals can seep into the soil from plastic and other garbage that does not decompose for years.

This causes problems for plants, animals, and humans if they come into contact with them.

Improper landfills are a major source of methane emissions which cause global warming. Methane is produced by the decomposition of organic waste in landfills because bacteria need oxygen to break down food waste, so when it gets trapped beneath all the other garbage it starts to decompose anaerobically, producing methane gas which escapes into our atmosphere.

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2. Construction Sites

Construction sites are a common source of pollution. They can cause noise pollution, visual pollution, and air pollution from dust, vehicle emissions, and paint fumes.

Noise pollution from construction can cause hearing loss. It can also make people find it difficult to concentrate. If the construction is happening in a residential area, it might cause people to sleep badly or be irritable.

Construction sites are usually not aesthetically pleasing. They require a vast amount of construction materials and equipment. In addition, construction often requires that trees be cut down and land be cleared before building starts. It is hard to find an example of a construction site that actually improves the appearance of its surroundings.

Construction sites often involve demolition work, which can produce large amounts of dust particles. These particles may contain toxins like lead or asbestos, which can be breathed in by nearby residents if precautions are not taken. Construction also produces air pollution from vehicle emissions and paint fumes, since cars are in constant motion on-site and workers are painting surfaces with new materials.

The larger the site, the more people it employs, the more cement has to be mixed, the more trees and plants that have to be cleared away, and the more soil that is disturbed or moved around. As construction sites are temporary in nature, they tend to have poor environmental controls and practices which can result in significant impacts on the surrounding environment.

For example:

  • Pollution resulting from vehicles on site (e.g., dust from material delivery trucks)
  • Noise pollution caused by machinery operation
  • Visual impact caused by large machinery and high scaffolding structures
  • Materials handling activities causing air pollution such as dust generation or paint fumes
  • Materials management practices such as open stockpiles of soil and materials on-site containing contaminants (e.g., asbestos)
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3. Abandoned Factories

Abandoned factories are one of the most common causes of pollution in the world. Once a factory has been abandoned, it is no longer subject to whatever regulations or laws that may have governed it in its operational past.

Many times, these former factories will simply be left to fall apart, with their contents spilling out into the surrounding environment. In many cases, the products that were produced by these factories were made from toxic materials or produced toxic byproducts as part of the manufacturing process.

In addition to the pollution caused by what was actually produced in the factory, other pollution can result from pipes and pumps used for carrying liquids and gases around the plant.

As time passes, rust and corrosion damage these pipes and pumps so that they begin to leak their contents into the surrounding soil and groundwater. Once this happens, it can take years of expensive remediation work to make things right again.

In addition to polluting the immediate environment around themselves, often these abandoned factories also pollute nearby waterways through storm runoffs and releases of industrial processes that were designed to be dumped directly into rivers or lakes.

The good news is that governments are starting to take notice of abandoned factories as a source of pollution, and are beginning to put more pressure on factory owners to clean up when they abandon their operations. In many cases, owners get permission from regulators to leave behind structures known as brownfields which will be cleaned at some point in the future.

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4. Open Dumps

The most polluting methods of waste disposal are open dumping, discharges into water bodies, and burning. These methods are often used in developing countries, where little or no money has been invested in solid waste management.

Open dumping is the most popular way of trash disposal in developing countries of the world. Open dumping is the disposal of waste on land, or in a body of water, without further treatment to reduce the harmful effects.

In recent years, the use of open dumps has declined rapidly in industrialized countries as governments have enacted stringent laws making them illegal. They have been replaced by sanitary landfills, which are better for the environment and protect public health.

Open dumping is still widely practiced in developing countries because it is inexpensive and requires little technical expertise to operate. Open dumps are present in urban, as well as rural areas. The construction and operation of open dumps are far less expensive than sanitary landfills and other modern disposal systems.

This is because they do not require any special design or construction and can be placed on almost any piece of land. They are often located in low-income areas with little political clout and outside the city limits, where regulations are less stringent.

Open dumps usually have no environmental controls, no leachate collection system, and no cover for the waste. As a result, solid waste percolates into the ground water and releases methane gas, which is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.

The presence of open dumps also attracts pests such as rats, flies, cockroaches and mosquitoes, which pose a health hazard to nearby communities through the spread of diseases such as cholera, malaria, typhoid fever, dysentery and diarrhea.

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5. Household Chemicals

The most common form of land pollution is household chemicals. A lot of people do not know how to dispose of chemicals, such as paint and pesticides, properly. When they get rid of these types of chemicals they often pour them into the ground or dump them in places where they will not cause any immediate damage.

Unfortunately, these types of home products, when dumped on the ground, can seep into the water supply and cause health problems for the people who live in those areas.

Household chemicals include everything from cleaning supplies to bug sprays and pesticides to paint and paint thinners to weed killers and so much more! These products can easily pollute the soil and water in your yard if they are not disposed of properly. They often contain harsh ingredients that pose health risks if they enter the environment.

Here’s how these types of pollutants contribute to land pollution:

If you dump these products in your yard, they can cause serious contamination of the soil. This is especially true with pesticides, which are designed to kill living things. If it rains, they can also be washed into storm drains, which flow directly into local bodies of water.

Additionally, if you have a septic system, the chemicals can leach into the ground and contaminate the water that comes from your well or municipal supply.

When you need to dispose of household chemicals, always follow the instructions given on the label for proper disposal. Some products may require special handling by a hazardous waste facility. Others may be able to be disposed of in your regular trash bin or at a drop-off site at your local landfill or transfer station.

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6. Agriculture Practices

Agriculture is one of the major causes of land pollution, both directly and indirectly. Fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, and weedicides are widely used for crop protection. These chemicals and compounds have some harmful effects on the soil, air, and water bodies. Soil pollution can occur by using fertilizers or pesticides. Waterbodies can get polluted by fertilizers or pesticides from the soil.

Agricultural run-off carries a lot of polluting substances, such as pesticides and fertilizers. These substances kill fish and other aquatic organisms; they also cause algae to grow, which results in a lack of oxygen when they die.

The problem with pesticides is that they are very persistent in the environment, meaning that they remain in soil and water for long periods of time. Pesticides end up accumulating in rivers, lakes, and reservoirs.

In addition to causing the death of organisms and plant life in bodies of water, pesticides also accumulate in fish and thereby contaminate food chains. In fact, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), mercury poisoning affects one out of every six women between the ages of 16-49 who eat fish three times a week.

On top of this, these women will have children born with neurological problems. And this is not something from another planet: some pregnant women who eat seafood may give birth to babies born with developmental delays or autism spectrum disorders if they eat contaminated fish during their pregnancy.

Indirectly also agriculture is a major source of pollution because of factors like deforestation and wetland destruction. Deforestation releases large amounts of carbon dioxide into the air which contributes to global warming. Wetland destruction also leads to increased emissions of methane which is another greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.

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7. Urbanization

Urbanization is another cause of land pollution. As urbanization grows, the population increases and so does the amount of solid waste produced. The amount of industrial waste is also increasing as more and more industries are set up.

The garbage generated by households usually consists of organic matter and paper products (wrap, tissue, paper towels, etc.) that can be recycled or composted. Unfortunately, in most cities of developing countries, there are no facilities to sort out different types of garbage or to transform them into compost.

Many people live at or below the poverty line and cannot afford to buy a bag to put their trash in. This means that they have to throw their waste in the streets. Thus, if you add the fact that many people do not have access to toilets, you end up with people defecating on the ground or in water reservoirs (lakes and rivers) which results in a high risk of disease outbreaks.

It should be noted that most rivers are used as sources of water for drinking and irrigation purposes. Due to pollution, there is a very high risk of disease outbreaks and contamination when using these sources for drinking water.

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8. Lack of Sewage System

The single biggest cause of water pollution is the lack of a sewage system. Decaying waste from your home and community can be sludge, sewage, or both. When your pipes back up, it's important to keep the smell from spreading to other parts of your home or community. With a sewage system, you may have to throw all of that nasty stuff into the street, but at least it doesn't become part of your home.

When you don't have a proper sewage system, there's no way for you to get rid of the waste. You just dump it out in the street or on your property. It's important not to dump it where it will contaminate ground water and wells, but many people do. Some also dump it in rivers and lakes.

It can also be dangerous for people who live near bodies of water that aren't properly treated for these contaminants. If a kid wades through a stream or plays in an area that has been contaminated with sewage for a long time, he could develop serious health problems.

If you're going to start working on improving your community's water quality, this is where you should start: by getting a sewer system installed so that folks can safely dispose of their waste and keep their homes free from contamination.

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9. Nuclear Waste

Nuclear waste is one of the most dangerous types of land pollution. Nuclear waste can be emitted from both nuclear power plants and nuclear facilities. The materials that are produced from nuclear reactions are radioactive and have potentially hazardous effects on humans, animals, and the environment.

For example, radiation poisoning can occur in humans if they are exposed to certain levels of radiation, but this can also happen to animals and plants as well. In order to minimize any negative impacts of nuclear waste, it is usually disposed of deep underground in special containers.

However, these containers do not last forever and can become damaged over time which may cause their contents to leak into the surrounding environment.

Over time these materials will move throughout different layers of the soil and eventually make their way into water sources such as wells or streams. The water then becomes contaminated with radioactive substances which makes it unsafe for humans, animals or plants to drink or use in any way.

The long-term effects of exposure to high levels of radiation include cancer, birth defects and genetic mutations which affect future generations that come after us. A person's risk increases if they have been exposed multiple times during their life span due to repeat exposure over many years (or even decades).

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10. Pesticides and Herbicides

Pesticides and herbicides are a major cause of land pollution. They are used to kill insects and weeds that could destroy crops, but they can also destroy other life forms. This kills or pollutes the land and creates an imbalance in the ecosystem.

The chemicals we use for agriculture are among our most important environmental problems. They are hazardous to human health and to the environment, but not all at once. Most of the pesticides used in the United States now are designed to kill insects and weeds.

They persist in the environment, can enter into rain or air, and can therefore be transported into rivers, lakes, and drinking water supplies. They can also be carried over long distances in soil or plants.

A few of these chemicals have a direct effect on human health, causing problems such as learning disabilities, birth defects, cancer, and mental retardation.

Seeds treated with insecticides are more likely to grow next year after planting, but this is a small improvement; it does not compensate for the damage done by spraying the fields with insecticides each year. Pesticide-treated crops do not taste better than untreated ones; and there is no difference in the nutritional value of foods made from them.

Herbicides and pesticides impair soil's ability to absorb water and nutrients, causing landslides and erosion on steep slopes. They can reduce the fertility of topsoil by killing beneficial organisms such as earthworms and bacteria that break down organic matter; they also kill plants more slowly than they would normally do. The

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References

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  8. What are the causes of air pollution in inner cities - and how bad is it? (n.d.). Impact on Urban Health. Retrieved October 26, 2022, from https://urbanhealth.org.uk/insights/reports/what-are-the-causes-of-air-pollution-in-inner-cities-and-how-bad-is-it
  9. What are the Causes of Water Pollution? | ECU Online. (2019, September 9). East Central University Online. Retrieved October 26, 2022, from https://online.ecok.edu/articles/causes-of-water-pollution/

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Muhammad Rafiq