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Issues - Land and Soil Resources

Land degradation is a process in

which the value of the biophysical
environment is affected by a
combination of human-induced
processes acting upon the land.
Issues with land resources -
Poor land management can result
in key problems:

nutrient depletion
Soil- what is it ?
Litter:The very top layer of dead
leaves and grass.

Topsoil:A mixture of rock

fragments, nutrients, water, air,
and decaying animal and plant

Subsoil: Below the topsoil, contains

rock fragments, water and air, but
less animal and plant matter.
Bedrock: Soil that makes up
Earths crust.

Ittakes hundreds of years to

form just a few centimeters of
new soil.

But human activities destroy

resources in seconds !!
Is the process by which water and
wind, moves particles of rocks or
The ground has been washed away by water.
Why are the roots of this tree so visible? What made this
Erosion caused by water.
Erosion can be caused by wind
and rain.
Erosion can happen quickly or slowly over a
period of time. This formation took years and
years of erosion to form.
This picture is
of erosion
down a
mountain that
destroyed the
houses at the

d houses
What can help prevent
Plants can help prevent erosion! Look at the roots on
these grasses. Roots help hold the soil in place so that it
doesnt wash away.

Nutrient Depletion
Nutrient Depletion: When farmers plant the
same crops in a field year after year. As a
result, the plants use more nutrients than
the decomposers can replace. The soil
becomes less fertile.
The advance of desertlike
conditions into areas that
previously were fertile.
How have each of these factors
contributed to desertification?

Drought: low rainfall

Soils become dry and there

is no water left in wells.

Trees die, grass withers and

is replaced by poor desert

Crops fail and cattle feed on

poor pasture.

Less roots to protect the

topsoil, less humus; soils
become more sandy and dry.

Wind erosion removes the

soil, causing dust storms,
leaving bare rock.
Human activity
Population is high and
increasing fast.

To increase food supplies

more crops are grown and
more cattle kept leading
to over-cultivation and

Yields decline and cattle

are undernourished and

Demand increases for

water as population

Trees are cut down for fuel


Less vegetation; more dry,

bare soil; more wind
Animals/ insects
Locusts destroy the

Overgrazing means all

vegetation is eaten.

Animals trample the

ground reducing it to

Animals die and cant

Solid wastes

Solid wastes are a major problem

in degrading land and soil quality.

This has been growing worldwide

due to :
Population growth
Increased consumption and
Unsustainable development
Solid Waste
Every hour people throw away 2.5 million plastic
Every year people throw away enough white paper to
build a wall 4 meters high that stretches coast to
Every year people throw away 1.6 billion pens, 2.9
million tons of paper towels, and 220 million
automobile tires.
Pollution -Problem of Waste

Municipal solid waste :

Waste materials produced in

homes, businesses, schools, and
other places in a community.
Solid wastes is a burning problem
in Sri Lanka! Lives lost .
Municipal solid Wastes in Sri
Domestic waste (exclusive of sewage and hazardous

Commercial waste (Market waste)

Institutionalwastes (schools, hospitals (non clinical),

public offices, etc.)

Street sweeping and beach cleansing waste

Garden waste (Tree cuttings and grass cutting wastes)

Wastes collected from drains and water courses in urban

General requirements of SW
management in SL (CEA)
must be given for
promoting source separation and
sorted waste collection .

In the waste management plan

priorities must be given on waste
recycling and resource recovery
and to reduce the amount of final
When handling biodegradable
waste and waste not containing
any toxic contaminants priorities
must be given for biological
processing such as
anaerobic digestion
or any other appropriate
biological processing for
stabilization of waste
Land filling shall be encouraged to

non biodegradable,
inert waste and
other waste that are not suitable
either for recycling or for biological
Management should take adequate
mitigatory measures to minimize
possible pollution of air, water and

Adequate training should be given to

workers involved in solid waste
management operations and
operator should endeavour to involve
trained workers as far as possible.
Hazardous Wastes
Hazardous wastes are classified
into 4 categories: Toxic,
Explosive, Flammable, and
Toxic Waste
Are poisonous wastes that an
damage the health of humans
and other organisms.
Different methods of handling solid
Sanitary Landfills: Holds
municipal solid wastes,
construction debris, and some
types of agricultural and
industrial waste.
The burning of solid waste is called

Theadvantages of incinerators is that they

do not take up as much space as landfills,
they do not pose the risk of polluting
groundwater, and the heat they produce can
generate electricity.

Disadvantage is that they are more

expensive to build.
Recycling: The process of reclaiming
raw materials and reusing them.
Biodegradable: A substance that can
be broken down and recycled by
bacteria and other decomposers.
Most recycling focuses on 4 major
categories of products: metal, glass,
paper, and plastic.
Products to Recycle
such as iron and aluminum can be
melted and reused. Recycling metal saves
money and causes less pollution than
making new metal.
Glass is one of the easiest products to
recycle because it can be melted down over
and over.
Recycling glass is less expensive than
making glass from raw materials.
Less energy is required. It also reduces the
environmental damage caused by mining for
sand, soda, and limestone.
Most paper products can only be recycled a
few times.
Each time the paper is recycled to make
pulp, the new paper is rougher, weaker, and
It takes about 17 trees to make one metric
ton of paper.
When oil is refined to make gasoline and
other petroleum products, solid materials
called resins are left over.
These resins can be heated,
stretched, and molded into
plastic products.

Numbers are found on the

bottom of plastic containers.
The numbers 1 & 2 are made
from plastics that are often
What Can You Do?
3 Rs Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Reduce: Refers to creating less waste

in the first place. (Use cloth shopping
bags than disposable paper or plastic
Reuse: Find another use for the
object rather than discarding it.
( Example ???)
Recycle: Reclaiming raw materials to
create new products.
Composting: Is the process of helping the
natural decomposition processes break down
many forms of waste.
Compost is an excellent natural fertilizer for