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Soil, the biologically active, porous medium that has developed in the uppermost layer of Earth’s crust. Soil is one of the principal substrata of life on Earth, serving as a reservoir of water and nutrients, as a medium for the filtration and breakdown of injurious wastes, and as a participant in the cycling of carbon and other elements through the global ecosystem. It has evolved through weathering processes driven by biological, climatic, geologic, and topographic influences [1].

Since the rise of agriculture and forestry in the 8th millennium BCE, there has also arisen by necessity a practical awareness of soils and their management. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Industrial Revolution brought increasing pressure on the soil to produce raw materials demanded by commerce, while the development of quantitative science offered new opportunities for improved soil management. The study of soil as a separate scientific discipline began about the same time with systematic investigations of substances that enhance plant growth. This initial inquiry has expanded to an understanding of soils as complex, dynamic, biogeochemical systems that are vital to the life cycles of terrestrial vegetation and soil-inhabiting organisms—and by extension to the human race as well.[2]

Soil pollution is defined as the presence of toxic chemicals (pollutants or contaminants) in soil, in high enough concentrations to pose a risk to human health and/or the ecosystem. In the case of contaminants which occur naturally in soil, even when their levels are not high enough to pose a risk, soil pollution is still said to occur if the levels of the contaminants in soil exceed the levels that should naturally be present [3].

 

Soils host a 1/4 of our planet’s biodiversity. Yet, soil pollution puts this at risk. It starts by reducing soil’ biodiversity, which weakens the soil structure and its ability to resist erosion[4].

References

  • [1] Britannica Encyclopedia
  • [2] Britannica Encyclopedia
  • [3] https://www.environmentalpollutioncenters.org/soil/
  • [4] FAO (https://www.linkedin.com/company/fao/)

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