Effect of Pollution on Physical and Chemical Properties of Soil

Effect of Pollution on Physical and Chemical Properties of Soil

Trinath Biswal, Junaid Ahmad Malik
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7062-3.ch001
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The soil is considered to be one of the most important substances for the existence of the biotic community. The quality of the soil is continually degrading due to the continuous exploitation of human activity. The superiority of a soil is rated on the basis of its chemical and physical characteristics. The contaminants added to the soil mainly because of human activity change the usual function and ecological properties and cause of negative impacts on agricultural productivity and soil health. The property of the soil is potentially affected by urban wastes, industrial wastes, sewage water, mining wastes, oil, radioactive wastes, deforestation, and massive use of fertilizers and pesticides. Heavy metal contamination of the soil is a vital environmental problem because it is the cause of adverse effects on the biological community through the contamination of the food chain. A continuous exposure of municipal solid waste (MSW) in the landfill sites causes leachate formation; this is percolated inside the soil leading to the change in properties.
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Classification Of Soil

Soil can be classified as sand, silt, peat, clay, chalk and loam on the basis of the size of the soil particles (Hartemink, 2015; Schoonover & Crim, 2015; Azuka et al., 2015);

Sandy Soil

This kind of soil is warm, dry, lightweight and relatively acidic in nature having less concentration of nutrients. The sandy soil is normally light because of the presence of more void space, sand and is comparatively lighter than clay. These soils have the capability of speedy water drainage and are easily warmed up in the spring as compared to clay soils. It can be dried out in summer having low nutrients and can be easily washed away by rainwater because of less cohesive force of attraction. The organic matter present in the soil can facilitate plant growth and extra boosting of nutrients in order to improve water holding capacity and nutrient concentration of the soil.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Heavy Metal: Heavy metals are the metals having relatively high densities, atomic numbers or atomic weights.

Leaching: Leaching is primarily defined as one of the methods of carrying small particles and soluble substances through rock or soil.

Suspension: Suspension may be defined as a heterogeneous mixture in which the solute particles cannot be dissolved, but suspended and floated freely in any direction throughout the medium.

Bioavailability: On the basis of soil and environmental sciences, bioavailability may be defined as the quantity of compound or element that can be available to an organism for adsorption or consumption across its cellular membrane.

Colloidal Particles: The microscopic form of solid particles that are suspended in a fluid are termed as colloidal particles. The size of the colloidal particles ranges from 1 nanometer to 1 micrometer.

Effluent: According to the US Environmental protection agency, effluent may be defined as the untreated or treated wastewater that has capability of flow and flows from the treatment plant, industrial outfall, or sewer system.

Water Holding Capacity: The term water holding capacity is defined as the quantity of water that a particular soil can hold for crop use. Larger is the surface area of the soil, easier is to hold the water and thereby having higher water holding capacity.

Enzyme: The substance that functions as a catalyst in living organisms and controls the rate of growth at which the chemical reaction occurs without the use of itself in the chemical reaction and altering the process.

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