Steps to Tackle Soil Pollution

Steps to Tackle Soil Pollution Steps to Tackle Soil Pollution

Recently, the DoE took up the task of creating a soil pollution atlas in 11 provinces “to study and improve the country’s soil and water resources.”

Preliminary studies conducted indicate that more than hundreds of acres of lands in the country have their soil contaminated by various kinds of pollutants including heavy metals, petroleum contaminants and different kinds of toxins. The contaminated lands threaten the environment and people’s health, said Hassan Pasandideh, director general, water and soil office at the Department of Environment (DoE).

The provinces with contaminated lands include eastern Azarbaijan, Golestan, Hamedan, Qazvin, Zanjan, Bushehr, Hormozgan, Kermanshah, Isfahan, Khuzestan and Razavi Khorasan.

 Oil Pollution

According to the DoE survey, Bushehr and Khuzestan provinces contain high levels of oil pollutants in the soil. Also Isfahan is contaminated with industrial pollutants and Hamedan and Eastern Azarbaijan have high amounts of heavy metals in their soils.

Approximately $50 to $ 5000 is needed for decontamination of per cubic meter of soil, depending on the levels of contamination. On the other hand, soil decontamination is a time consuming process, Pasandideh noted.  

 High Rate

Soil erosion is the wearing away of a land’s topsoil by wind and water. Although soil erosion is a natural occurrence on all land, there are certain factors that can accelerate the process. At present the rate of soil erosion in the country stands at 7.16 tons per hectare which is far higher than the world index which is five to six tons per hectare, he said.

Iran is one of the seven Asiatic countries which have a higher rate of soil loss. The cost of erosion in the country is equal to 14% of the gross national income (GNI).

 Lack of Landfills

Only a small percentage of waste is buried in a suitable way or recycled. Entry of garbage waste which contains a variety of chemical and biological hazardous materials into water and soil resources can cause severe and potentially irreparable damage.

At present the average annual production of household, hospital and infectious waste is calculated respectively at 45,000, 400,000 and 500,000 tons a day.