Soil pollution is the degradation of the Earth's land surface through misuse of the soil by poor agricultural practices, mineral exploitation, industrial waste dumping, and indiscriminate disposal of urban wastes. It includes visible waste and litter as well as pollution of the soil itself.
Soil pollution is mainly due to chemicals in herbicides (weed killers) and pesticides (poisons which kill insects and other invertebrate pests). Litter is waste material dumped in public places such as streets, parks, picnic areas, at bus stops and near shops.
The accumulation of waste threatens the health of people in residential areas. Waste decays, encourages household pests and turns urban areas into unsightly, dirty and unhealthy places to live in.
The following measures can be used to control land pollution:
• anti-litter campaigns can educate people against littering;
• organic waste can be dumped in places far from residential areas;
• inorganic materials such as metals, glass and plastic, but also paper, can be reclaimed and recycled.