Land pollution is the contamination of the Earth’s land surface and it is a serious problem. Resulting from human activities, land pollution results in an imbalance in nature that exposes the land to harmful chemicals and depletes the quality of soil, one of the Earth’s most important natural resources.
Land Pollution Facts
- According the United Nations, the United States disposes more than half of its solid waste in landfills. This amounts to over 110 million tons of waste per year and makes the US one of the top contributors to worldwide landfill waste.
- In 2008, the United States produced more than 250 million tons of municipal solid waste. Most of the waste came from residential homes.
- According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), electronics waste is rapidly increasing and seriously contributing to land pollution. In 2005, more than 1.5 tons of electronic waste were dumped in landfills.
- Due to land pollution, the Earth loses approximately 25 billion tons of valuable topsoil each year.
- It takes at least 500 years for 2.5 centimeters of topsoil to regenerate, and the United Staes loses soil at a rate 17 times higher than it takes to generate new topsoil.
- Much land pollution is caused by agricultural activities, like grazing, pesticide spraying, fertilizing, irrigation, confined animal facilities and plowing.
- Excessive irrigation impacts water and soil quality by concentrating pesticides and harmful bacteria in the top layers of soil.
- Land-based pollution has threatened 22 percent of the Earth’s coral reefs.
- Up to 80 percent of land pollution is caused by energy production, food production and transportation.
- In 2009, more than 20,000 beaches were closed as a result of land pollution.
- Only one-third of municipal solid waste is recycled in the United States each year.
- More than one million bushels of garbage are thrown out of car windows by Americans each year.
- On average, Americans throw out 200,000 tons of edible food each day.
- Just one American produces nearly 3,500 pounds of hazardous waste every year.
- More than 80 percent of the items in landfills are fit for recycling.
- Land pollution can cause skin problems, birth defects, respiratory issues and a number of other diseases. A study published by Cornell University maintains that about 40 percent of deaths in the world are caused by pollution.
- Drinking water is significantly affected by land pollution. About half the world’s population does not have access to safe drinking water, and water-based diseases cause up to 10 million deaths each year.
- Each year, Americans add 1.8 billion disposable diapers, 30 billion foam cups and 220 million tires to landfills.