Soil Pollution: Causes and Consequences

  • Bhupendra Koul
  • Pooja Taak


There has been a rapid rise in the soil pollution over the last two decades which has posed threat to living beings and the ecosystem as well. Soil pollution is caused by both natural and anthropogenic activities. Former includes volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis etc. while the later includes metals (trace and heavy metals), chemicals and radioactive wastes. The chemicals can be grouped into pesticides and allied chemicals, crude petroleum and its derivatives and polymers, plasticizers and other wastes. Radioactive wastes include nuclear power generation wastes and other by products released from nuclear technology (medicines and research). These are harmful substances which stay in the ecosystem for long duration during which they get accumulated and biomagnified to concentration potentially toxic to organisms at higher trophic levels in the food chain. Most of these chemicals are carcinogenic, teratogenic and mutagenic in nature. It is therefore crucial to develop tools to assess potential risks of human exposure to pollutants and to decide threshold concentrations in soils in order to protect human health.

Monitoring of soil quality is a difficult process because of the scarcity of monitoring variables and other indicators. The alarming situation of the state of soil pollution has forced the scientific community to develop innovative, reproducible strategies/technologies (in situ or ex situ) for treating polluted soils. This chapter summarizes various aspects of soil pollution, its causes and consequences.


Pollution Toxic effects Heavy metals PAHs 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bhupendra Koul
    • 1
  • Pooja Taak
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Bioengineering & BiosciencesLovely Professional UniversityPhagwaraIndia

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