A quick guide to Soil Reclamation
The soil is one of the abundantly available renewable resources on earth. However, increasing population and various human activities like industrialization, urbanization, mining, etc. are slowly rendering the fertile usable soil unfit for use. Damage and deterioration of soil include:
- Loss of fertility
- Lack of nutrients and minerals
- Loss of useful bacteria and microorganisms
- Loss of moisture
- Abnormal increase or decrease in pH
- Increased toxicity
Some soils are already non-arable and some become non-arable and infertile due to human activities. Non-arable soils are not productive because the soil is lacking nutrient balance and fertility. Nutrient balance starts with calcium and magnesium, but includes all the soil minerals in balance to achieve maximum fertility and therefore yield in all types of soils and weather.
Soil Reclamation is the process of reclaiming the soil’s quality like lost fertility, minerals, nutrients and moisture to make it fit for intensive use again. The reclamation of soil, its nutrients and fertility are done with an objective to increase further land use and enhance agricultural activities like cropping and irrigation.
This process in combination with Land reclamation is being employed widely for the creation of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries for enhancing wilderness and forest life by a combined process called Pedogenesis.
Pedogenesis, also known as soil development, soil evolution, soil formation, and soil genesis, is the process of soil formation as regulated by the effects of place, environment, and history.
Methods for Soil Reclamation
Soil Reclamation is carried out for the development of layers, termed soil horizons, distinguished by differences in color, structure, texture, and chemistry. These features occur in patterns of soil type distribution, forming in response to differences in soil forming factors.
There are numerous Biological, Chemical and Biogeochemical processes are employed to execute Soil Reclamation through Pedogenesis. Methods used for soil reclamation depend on the quality of the soil and objective of soil reclamation. Different types of soils include:
- Arid land
- Swampy lands
- Salt-affected soil
- Mining area soil
The most popular methods used for soil reclamation are:
This method is based on the phenomenon of pollutant migration in an electric field. Migrating particles have to have a permanent electric charge or have to be polarized, so the technique is used to remove heavy metals or polar compounds. Electrodes are inserted into the ground on opposite sites of the contaminated area.
Contaminants under the influence of an electromagnetic field migrate through the soil within the cathode or anode area, where they are removed in a few possible ways: chemical precipitation, adhesion to the electrodes’ surfaces, removing and processing the contamination beyond the remediated site.
- Surface Insulation
- Hydraulic method (Soil washing)
- Air Sparging