The Encyclopedia Britannica defines land pollution as ” the deposition of solid or liquid waste on land or underground in such a manner that it can contaminate the soil and groundwater, threaten public health and cause unsightly conditions and nuisances”. Various industries, our homes and business places produce large quantities of waste. This waste includes organic matter, glass, plastic and hazardous material such as lead from discarded batteries.
The large quantities of waste produced are often taken to various dump sites. Dump sites take up valuable space. As the organic matter in dump sites decomposes, it creates an unpleasant smell which affects people living in areas near those sites. Also, decomposing organic matter produces methane, a gas which is flammable. Methane is also a greenhouse gas, which contributes to global warming. Plastic objects are not biodegradable. They linger for hundreds or thousands of years in the environment. As we use and throw away an increasing number of plastic objects, more space is needed to dispose of them.
Some waste material contains hazardous or poisonous substances. These substances can seep into the soil and contaminate it. They may also seep into our groundwater and then eventually into our rivers. A good example of this is the waste material produced when bauxite is refined. The refining of bauxite into alumina produces waste material known as red mud. This red mud is dumped into large red mud ponds. Red mud contains caustic soda, aluminium oxide, silicon dioxide and other chemicals which are hazardous to health. These chemicals can easily seep into the soil and groundwater.
The video below shows some of the sources and effects of land pollution.