Degradation of soil and conservation of soil
Degradation of soil
Soil supports plants, which in turn support animals. Any physical or chemical alteration of soil can thus have an impact on all living organisms which depend on it.
Deforestation, overgrazing, intensive agriculture, growth of industries, and so, on degrade soil in many ways, some of which are as follows.
Chemicals from industrial waste dumps leak into the surrounding soil and attach themselves to soil particles. They persist in the soil for along time because they are nonbiodegradble. They harm the plants growing on the soil and organisms living in it. Fly ash from thermal power stations and dust from mines also polluted the soil in the neighboring areas. Acid rain cased by industrial and vehicular emissions also pollutes the soil.
This is the biggest culprit in the context of degradation of soil. Pesticides used to increase crop production remain in the soil. They harm other plants and soil organisms, including those which improve soil fertility. Fertilizers, if used improperly, ca cause soil to turn acidic or alkaline and alter its structure, making it more prone to erosion.
Excessive irrigation can cause water logging, which can lead to salinisation. When land gets waterlogged, the salts deposited in the layer below the topsoil come to the surface. After the water evaporates, these salts are left behind, tuning the soil saline.
Overgrazing and faulty methods of cultivation, like leaving ploughed fields uncovered or cultivating along hill slopes, can cause soil erosion. Overgrazing leaves the soil without vegetation cover and makes it prone to erosion. Ploughing loosens the soil, so when ploughed soil is left uncovered, it gets eroded.
Cutting down trees, especially in the hills, leads to soil erosion. When soil is not held in place by plants it is easily blown away by the wind or washed away by the rain.
These are natural or man-made troughs used for disposing of municipal or urban waste. When they are not managed properly, toxic chemicals and other pollutants dissolve in rainwater seep into the soil.
To conserve something means to protect it from loss or decay. In the context of natural resources, it means using them judiciously, so that we can meet our own needs without depriving future generations of the chance meet theirs.
The conservation of soil requires measures to check erosion prevent the alternation of soil structure and control chemical pollution
Soil pollution can be reduced signification by recycling waste. A lot of the waste generated by industries can be recycled. For example, the fly ash produced by thermal power stations can be used as raw material by the cement industry. The same gores for domestic waste.
A change in lifestyle could also have an impact on the amount and type of waste we generate. For example, a shift from plastic bags to paper or cloth bags would help to reduce pollution. It would also help to stop using Tetra pack cartons, disposable cups and pates, aluminum foil, plastic wrappers and other things which are art of the use-and –throw lifestyle.
Toxic and dangerous waste, for example, the waste generated by hospitals, should be incinerated (burnt) or disposed of in such a way that it does not seep in to the soil and pollute it.
Biodegradable waste, like crop residue, should be used to make compost or biogas. Compost is nature produced by the decomposition or organic waste. Biogas is a fuel generated during such decomposition.
Using pesticides and fertilizers judiciously and shifting to organic manure and biological control of pets could go a long way in reducing soil pollution. Irrigation can lead to salinisation of soil, so it must be carried out keeping the long –term effect in mind.
Step farming, terracing and contour farming are ways of checking soil erosion on hill slopes. In step farming, crops are grown on horizontal steps cut down the slope. Growing corps in horizontal strips supported by walls is called terracing. And contour farming involves making alternate furrows and ridges down the slope.
Planting trees can make even barren land arable (cultivable). Trees no only check erosion, but also help to recharge ground water and to retain soil moisture. They also improve soil texture by adding humus.
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