India’s Soil Salinity: Causes, Consequences, and Solutions

Soil Salinity

Soil Salinity: Due to many issues such soil erosion, deforestation, soil salinity, soil acidity, etc., soil and its fertility are being gradually reduced. The world will eventually run out of food due to the aforementioned factors and the expanding human population. It was the focus of Sadhguru, a well-known preacherrecent ,’s “Save Soil” campaign. Salinity of the soil is one of the main factors contributing to soil degradation and infertility in India.

In this article, we’ll talk about soil salinity in India, including the main causes, consequences, and possible treatments. So let’s get into the specifics.

What is soil salinity, and what causes it, and why?

The prevalence of saline salts in the soil is known as salinity. Although most environmentalists agree that soil salinity is a natural occurrence. It may also result from man-made factors like drainage and road building.

In India, salt of the soil is a fairly common occurrence. The buildup of soluble salts of ions like sodium, potassium, calcium, and chloride in the soil is a normal occurrence. They have been washed away in regions with a lot of precipitation. While salinization is more likely to occur in dry regions.

Human activities like watering also cause salination. Uncontrolled irrigation may cause salt to build up on a specific plot of ground. In India, salty soil is a result of accumulated precipitation or groundwater. Another cause for the soil salinity in India is the overuse of fertilisers. Along with the previously mentioned facts, marine flooding is a significant contributor to soil salinity.

How does excessive watering cause salinity in the soil?

 

It should come as no surprise that all water, including rainwater, includes some salt. Plants, herbs, shrubs, and other vegetation release a lot of salt into the earth when they use soil-based water without utilising many minerals.

The salinity is dispersed broadly along the channels as a result of the mixing of saline water in groundwater and water reservoirs that have been gathered. When this salty water is used for watering once more, salinity results. In terms of urban areas, less intensive agricultural methods are to blame for the salinity.

What are a few typical salinity-related effects?

crop harm : The salts, which are highly reactive, take the position of the essential minerals. As a result, saline water harms the vegetation and degrades the soil for future use. In this way, crop harm is brought on by salinity of the soil.

Building destruction : Highly acidic soil is saline soil. resulting in almost everything it comes into touch with being damaged. Thus, if serviced by saline soil, infrastructure corrodes over time. In urban regions of India, saline soil is typical. As a result, urban regions are more vulnerable to deterioration.

Deterioration of water quality: Both saline earth and saline water are the offspring of salinity. As a result, a decline in water quality is a typical occurrence in regions with saline soil.

Land degradation: Essential elements in the soil are replaced as a result of soil salinity. Soil loses its fundamental makeup as a result. Soil loss results from this.

Wastage of energy required to desalinate: Desalination of the salinity of the soil needs energy. Desalinating the land to make it useful again therefore requires additional energy.

What is earth sodicity, and why is it occurring?

 

The excessive prevalence of sodium ions in soil is known as soil sodicity. Most of the cations from the salts are replaced by hyperactive cations as sodium salts are injected into the earth. resulting in the soil having a whitish look. Soil sodicity significantly alters the soil’s structure, which causes the soil to become looser.

A few typical indications of earth sodicity include

inadequate soil and plant development
inadequate water filtering
pH > 8.5, or extremely salinized earth.

 

Difference between sodicity and saline soil

The distinctions between salty soil and sodic soil are covered in this section.

S.No. Saline Soil Soil Sodicity
1 It is caused due to excessive presence of soluble saline salts like potassium, sodium, calcium and chlorine. It is caused due to excessive presence of sodium cations as compared to other cations in the soil.
2 Saline soil can grow certain crops. Sodic soils allow poor vegetational growth.
3 The soil salinity is measured by passing an electric current through the soil. The soil sodicity is measured by measuring the number of exchangeable sodium ions.

 

What are the salt problems?

There are numerous ways to address soil salt. So let’s think about a few of them.

Flooding the area with water can be used to remediate saline soil. But first, you must confirm that there is adequate sewage infrastructure.

Salinity can also be readily removed by ponding the soil in ordinary or non-saline water. Additionally, an irrigation pond can help you avoid using salty soil.

In saline soil that absorbs saline salts, plants like beans, oats, sunflower, maize, and soybean can be produced. Additionally, barley and asparagus both thrive in salty soil and are effective salt-absorbers. It can therefore be used to reduce the soil’s acidity.

Sodic soil in India: A report

The entire area of salt-affected, or saline soil, areas in India is estimated to be 6.73 million hectares. In the study conducted in 2010, it was discovered that roughly 56% of the affected soil was sodic and the remaining 44% was saline. Due to quickly drying wetlands that cause salt to build up on the river’s outer banks, the majority of the Indo-Gangetic plain is already sodic.

 

India’s top 11 saline soil affected regions

 

S.No. Sodic Soil (Hectares) State Remarks
1 197k Andhra Pradesh Prakasam, Nellore, Guntur, Anantapur district in state majorly holds sodic soil.
2 105k Bihar Patna and Bhojpur districts have been majorly affected by sodic soil.
3 541k Gujarat Kachh, Patan, Surendranagar, etc., districts are affected.
4. 183k Haryana Sodicity affects about 3.7% of the total geographical era.
5. 148k Karnataka Chitradurga, Mysore, Bellary, etc., districts are affected.
6. 139k Madhya Pradesh Vidisha, Morena, Datia, etc., districts are affected by sodicity.
7. 422k Maharashtra Ahmednagar, Nashik, Pune, Solapur etc., districts are heavily affected by sodicity.
8. 151k Punjab Firozpur, Sangrur, etc. districts are majorly affected.
9. 179k Rajasthan Alwar, Ajmer, Chittorgarh, Sri Ganganagar, etc., districts face sodicity problem
10 354k Tamil Nadu N/A
11 134k Uttar Pradesh Jaunpur, Mainpuri and Azamgarh are the most affected districts.
Total 3770k

 

 

Bhumika

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