Polluted Soils

  • Khan Towhid Osman


Soils can be polluted with several organic and inorganic pollutants. Organic pollutatnts include hazardous persistent organic compounds such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorinated naphthalines (PCNs), polychlorinated dibenzodioxins (PCDDs), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), and other persistent organic substances. Inorganic pollutants mainly include heavy metals such as lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu) and nickel (Ni), as well as the metalloid arsenic (As), and radioactive substances or radionuclides. The sources of soil pollutants are mainly anthopogenic. There are also point and diffuse sources; the point sources include municipal wastes, industrial wastes, medical wastes, agricultural wastes, composts and sludges, agrochemicals, domestic wastes and nuclear wastes. Organic and inorganic soil pollutants can be toxic to soil organisms, plants and animals. Some of the soil pollutants enter into the food chain, and can adversely affect human health. Moreover, soil pollutants can be transferred to surrounding air and water through volatilization, runoff, dust storms and leaching. In these ways, the quality of air and water, both surface and groundwater, can be degraded. There are several historic events where soil pollution had devastating effects on native population. Thus, remediation of polluted soils has become a dire necessity in many areas of the world. Meanwhile, some useful methods have been developed for the prevention of soil pollution, including waste management and waste disposal, and remediation of organic pollutants, heavy metals and radioactive pollutants.


Soil pollution Wastes Agrochemicals Pollutants Persistent organic pollutants Heavy metals Waste management Remediation 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Khan Towhid Osman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Soil ScienceUniversity of ChittagongChittagongBangladesh

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