UN Enviroment Programme

Chapter 3. Sources of soil pollution


Lead authors: Natalia Rodríguez Eugenio (FAO-GSP) and Marilena Ronzan (FAO-GSP)

The origin of soil pollution may be natural or anthropogenic and therefore may have happened long ago or recently. Certain contaminants are often associated with specific activities, such as pesticide use in agriculture or radionuclides from nuclear power plants, while many others could result from a variety of sources of pollution.

This chapter aims to present the main sources of soil pollution and to provide insight into the various contaminants associated with each of them. With this understanding, implementers and regulators of the various activities will be able to take into consideration and control all possible contaminants. The chapter also includes several references to contaminant concentrations in soils from different parts of the world.