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Biology 2nd Baccalaureate

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9.4.1. Soil contamination

Soil contamination

When the soil is polluted, the earth's surface is being altered with substances that are harmful to the different living beings in the ecosystem.

The soil takes hundreds of years to form and in it, in addition to serving as a support and substrate for plants, it is the medium where decomposing organisms (bacteria and fungi) close the cycle of matter. Therefore, when the soil is disturbed and loses its structure, fertility and stability, the ecosystem is at serious risk.

Two types of soil pollutants are distinguished:

  • Urban Solid Waste. When the soil contains waste from cities.
  • Pollutant substances that have infiltrated and deposited on the ground.
    • Pesticides from agricultural activities.
    • Heavy metals (lead, mercury, aluminum, ...) carried by rainwater from deposits of Urban Solid Waste or from other industrial or mining activities.
    • Mineral salts that salinize the soil by watering with water with a high salt content.


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Biology and Geology teaching materials for Compulsory Secondary Education (ESO) and Baccalaureate students.