Soil Pollution Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:00 What Is Soil Pollution?
  • 0:52 How Pollutants Get…
  • 2:01 Effects on Living Things
  • 2:43 Reducing Soil Pollution
  • 3:19 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Debra Patuto

Debra has taught at elementary levels and has an M.ed with certification in elementary education and special education

This lesson will teach you about soil pollution. We will look at what soil pollution is, how it occurs and how it affects living things. We'll also learn ways that we can prevent soil pollution.

What Is Soil Pollution?

What do you do with your milk carton, water bottle, or soda can when you're finished with it? Do you toss it on the ground, throw it in the trash bin or recycle it? Trash is one of many ways that soil gets polluted here on Earth.

Soil pollution is when there are changes in soil caused by the adding or dumping of pollutants. Pollutants are harmful, unwanted materials. Soil pollution can have harmful effects on all living organisms, such as plants, animals, and humans. Some examples of pollutants include:

  • Trash, including plastic bags and bottles
  • Debris like cement and bricks
  • Metal from old cars or building materials
  • Hospital trash such as needles and bandages
  • Toxic chemicals like batteries, paints, insecticides, fertilizers and other chemicals

How Pollutants Get into the Soil

Once garbage is picked up from your home or school, where does it go? It doesn't just disappear. Trash is brought to a landfill, where it's buried in soil and left there to decompose, or break down over time. This means all trash seeps into the soil. Gross!

Another place the trash can go is into an incinerator. This means our trash is burned. When we incinerate trash, we pollute the air that we breathe, and the ash eventually falls back down into soil, causing soil pollution. Yuck!

Other ways pollutants get into the soil include:

  • Large factories might have leaks or even intentionally dump harmful chemicals.
  • Farmers often use fertilizers that have chemicals in them to make food grow bigger and faster.
  • Pesticides are used on farms and apple orchards to prevent insects from destroying the crops.
  • Improper disposal of paint, chemicals in batteries, household cleaners, car oils, gasoline, and so forth can cause soil pollution.
  • Oil spills can put oil directly in the soil and in water that seeps into the soil.
  • Car accidents can cause oils and gasses to seep into the ground.

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