Inquinamento del suolo, le cause, gli effetti e i possibili rimedi

di Redazione 44

Presentiamo oggi una panoramica sul problema dell’inquinamento del suolo, tra cause, effetti e possibili rimedi. Il fenomeno è, come facilmente intuibile, storicamente più rilevante in epoche recenti. Da definizione è costituito da una alterazione nella composizione chimica del terreno correlata a svariati tipi di attività umane, che può determinare danni all’ecosistema così come, più o meno direttamente, alla salute dell’uomo.

L’entità dell’inquinamento del suolo è proporzionale allo sviluppo e alla diffusione di determinate attività umane sul pianeta. Come è noto si tratta di una alterazione della composizione chimica dei terreni che può influenzare in maniera negativa l’ecosistema di cui i terreni fanno parte. Quali sono le cause dell’inquinamento del suolo? Elencheremo di seguito le più rilevanti. I rifiuti sono naturalmente parte del problema: rifiuti solidi quali bottiglie di vetro o di plastica, pile, medicine, carta e cartone, non sono biodegradabili e quando non smaltiti secondo i migliori standard di differenziazione ma accumulati sul terreno possono determinarne un’alterazione chimica, e naturalmente ciò vale anche per rifiuti allo stato liquido e gassoso: si pensi anche soltanto ai fertilizzanti chimici e agli spray contenuti nelle bombolette. Tra le cause dell’inquinamento del suolo abbiamo anche le acque di scarico che finiscono sul terreno portando con sé sostanze chimiche sospese o disciolte, i metalli pesanti, dall’arsenico allo zinco passando per mercurio e piombo che raggiungono il terreno, tra le altre modalità, a seguito delle produzioni di tipo industriale presenti sul territorio. Determinano l’inquinamento del suolo anche i prodotti fitosanitari quali gli antiparassitari e gli erbicidi, i solventi organici che restano nell’acqua e vengono a contatto con il terreno, le immancabili diossine nonché rifiuti particolari come le scorie radioattive. Le cause dell’inquinamento dei suoli in determinati casi possono coincidere con quelle delle falde acquifere.

Quali sono le principali conseguenze dell’inquinamento dei terreni? Gli effetti vanno analizzati entro un quadro organico degli ecosistemi: l’inquinamento determinando alterazioni nel suolo può influire sul metabolismo di vari microrganismi e artropodi che a loro volta, facendo parte della catena alimentare, possono determinare ripercussioni su altre specie. Le modalità possono essere diverse: in casi estremi un rapido declino degli esemplari di una specie, ma anche attraverso il fenomeno del bioaccumulo, ovvero del persistere di determinate quantità di sostanze lungo la catena alimentare. Ovviamente l’inquinamento di un determinato terreno può avere anche una serie di effetti negativi sulle specie vegetali coltivate su di esso, il che ci conduce a una seconda “categoria di conseguenze”, quelle sull’uomo.

Per comprendere appieno le conseguenze dell’inquinamento dei terreni sulla salute dell’uomo occorre, ancora una volta, tenere ben presente l’irredimibile rete di legami presente in un ecosistema. Gli effetti delle contaminazioni sull’uomo possono essere diretti, legati all’assidua frequentazione di un terreno, o più di frequente correlati al consumo di acqua contaminata a seguito della contaminazione dei terreni, di consumo di carne e derivati animali contenenti sostanze nocive assunte dagli stessi animali a seguito di fenomeni di inquinamento del suolo (e quindi delle specie vegetali o dei microrganismi presenti nella catena alimentare dei suddetti animali), o ancora e naturalmente a seguito del consumo di ortaggi coltivati su suoli inquinati.

Quali i rimedi per l’inquinamento del suolo? Le contromisure possono essere individuate ripercorrendo a ritroso l’elenco di cause qui presenti: in primo luogo la corretta gestione dei rifiuti di ogni tipo, poi ancora il divieto di utilizzo di prodotti chimici fortemente contaminanti (prodotti utilizzati regolarmente e in grandi quantità in agricoltura, tra l’altro). Naturalmente interventi di bonifica e in molti casi di rimboschimento possono “ripulire” i terreni, così come i processi che sfruttano la digestione di determinati inquinanti da parte di microbi, oggigiorno molto efficaci, ma in linea di massima per rimediare alla diffusione dell’inquinamento del suolo è impossibile senza una corretta gestione, “a monte”, dei rifiuti, dell’utilizzo di agenti chimici in agricoltura e nell’industria, senza un intelligente controllo, ovvero, delle attività umane potenzialmente dannose.

Photo credits | Fiore Silvestro Barbato su Flickr

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