5 Common Soil Contaminants in Urban Areas

Soil is a very important part of the preservation and continuation of life. Healthy soil is essential for growing healthy crops and plants for human and animal nutrition. Soil is usually uncontaminated, but due to human activities, toxic substances get into the soil, harming plants and animals.

Many people live in urban areas; hence more human activities affect the soil in these urban areas. Soil can get contaminated through illegal waste disposal, wastewater discharge, and acid rain, among others.

Here are some of the common contaminants that are present in contaminated soils in urban areas.

Common Soil Contaminants in Urban Areas

1. Pesticides

Pesticides are among the top soil contaminants in urban areas. When people try to control pests using chemical pesticides, most of the pesticide ends up in the soil. Contaminated soils can be harmful to animals that live underground. When it rains, the rainwater can be contaminated with the toxic pesticide and reach the groundwater, making it unfit for consumption.

2. Petroleum Products

Petroleum products such as oil and gas are among urban areas’ most common soil contaminants. Oil or gasoline can leak from cars and other moving machines and reach the soil. Contaminated soils usually contain harmful chemicals such as lead, which is present in some oil and gasoline products.

disposal of contaminated soil

3. Radon

Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas that is harmful to human beings. Radon gas can cause lung cancer if you breathe it for an extended period. Most industries opt to build underground ventilation systems to prevent radon from escaping contaminated soils and reaching the surface.

4. Creosote

Another contaminated present in urban contaminated soils is Creosote, a chemical derived from Tar and is used for wood preservations. Creosote usually contaminates the soil when poles preserved by creosote are placed into the soil.

Even though Creosote is important in preventing termites and other pests from damaging timber, it can also cause harm to human beings and other animals.

5. Asbestos

Asbestos is a harmful substance that was used in the insulation of houses before it was phased out in the 1980s due to its potential danger to human life. Asbestos usually finds its way to the soil through poor demolition of houses and illegal dumping.

Call experts immediately if you suspect you are living close to asbestos-contaminated soil.

Protect the Soil from Contamination

Soil plays an important role in providing nutrition to humans and other animals and cleaning water. If the soil gets contaminated, the toxins can kill plants and animals and make groundwater unfit for consumption.

About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the CEO of BioEnergy Consult, and an international consultant, advisor and trainer with expertise in waste management, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, environment protection and resource conservation. His geographical areas of focus include Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biogas technology, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. Salman has participated in numerous national and international conferences all over the world. He is a prolific environmental journalist, and has authored more than 300 articles in reputed journals, magazines and websites. In addition, he is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability through his blogs and portals. Salman can be reached at salman@bioenergyconsult.com or salman@cleantechloops.com.
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