In the case of Punjab, the major reason for land degradation is over-irrigation and this leads to the problem of waterlogging, which in turn leads to an increase in both alkalinity and salinity in the soil. Other states like Western Uttar Pradesh and also Haryana face similar issues of over-irrigation.
Land degradation is defined as the process by which soil begins to lose essential components such as minerals, water, organic matter, gas, and microorganisms. These components are responsible for better plant growth. And when these components are, from the soil, the soil begins to lose its ability to grow healthy plants. Soil degradation adversely affects soil quality and is usually caused by a combination of natural and man-made causes. It affects the topsoil of the land, the vegetation that grows on it, and the nearby water sources. Soil erosion, flooding, salinization, and soil contamination with industrial waste such as fly ash, squeezed sludge, plastics, and heavy metals can lead to soil degradation.
Land Degradation in Punjab
Land degradation in Punjab is a major issue because about 39% of the state’s soil is completely degraded, but 50% of the soil is rapidly low in nitrogen and 25% is low in phosphorus.
Major Causes of Land Degradation in Punjab
The major cause of land degradation in Punjab is Over-irrigation. Excessive watering can lead to flooding, as it increases soil salinity and reduces soil quality.
Farmers typically apply large amounts of irrigation water to their farmland to provide sufficient water for growing plants and crops. Farmers are also increasing the amount of irrigation water available to flush salt deep into the soil. However, due to improper placement of drainage channels and poor quality of irrigation water, water collects underground and forms pillars related to the water table.
These soils, called flooded soils, impede plant growth by inhibiting gas exchange. The gaps between soil particles are completely saturated with water by the roots. Floods/inundation increase the level of salt in the soil, as the water used for irrigation is not very good and contains salt that slowly deposits salt on the bottom of the soil, and surface and starts to destroy its fertility. Thus, the soil is severely degraded by improper irrigation practices.
Other States that are facing Land Degradation
Along with Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Odisha, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh are the states facing the issue of land degradation.
Soil degradation is a real concern because soil formation is a very slow process and the average annual erosion rate is 20-100 times the renewal rate.
Other Causes of Land Degradation in the Different States of India
Other causes which are responsible for land degradation in different states of India include:
- Overgrazing is seen in the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and also Rajasthan.
- Deforestation is caused by mining activities and includes states like Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh, etc.
- Mineral processing and grinding can lead to a process of infiltration of water into the soil and hence damaging land.
- Industrial effluent as waste is also a major cause of land and water pollution in many parts of the country.
Measures To Counter Land Degradation
A few measures for countering land degradation include the following:
- If you have your own farmland, do not irrigate your fields without proper drainage to avoid flooding and salt.
- Water the plants and crops using the drip irrigation method. The drip irrigation method irrigates plants and crops to improve irrigation efficiency.
- Proper management for grazing can reduce overgrazing.
- Proper drainage and disposal of industrial wastewater and treated waste.
- Reduce the use of pesticides in the fields.
- Fertilize your crop primarily with organic fertilizers.
- Use intercropping to avoid the depletion of certain soil nutrients.
- Do not irrigate the plants using a strong flow of water, as it would wash off the soil.
- Growing grass in open areas helps to bind the soil and prevent soil deterioration.
- Plant the distributed areas with a fast-growing native ground cover.
- When building a house, try not to uproot trees as much as possible. Grow different kinds of ornamental plants, herbs, and trees in your garden.
- Land degradation and conservation
- Why has Land degradation in India increased?
- Write two reasons for land degradation today
FAQs on Major Reasons for Land Degradation in Punjab
Q 1. What are the main causes of land degradation in Punjab?
The main causes of land degradation in Punjab include deforestation, excessive grazing, mining and quarrying.
Q 2. What are the major causes of land degradation?
The major causes of land degradation include extreme weather conditions.
Q 3. What are the two main reasons for land degradation?
The two main reasons for land degradation include drought and soil erosion.