Construction And The Environment – Effects On Soil

Soil is definitely the mainstay of the environment, whether in its loose soft form or in the form of rock. The following are common ways in which construction activities distract the normal form of soil, thereby shaking the environmental mechanisms that the same support.

· Mining for building materials for example stone or clay for building blocks or for cement alters the normal form of the landscape. It leads to formation of derelict landscapes, most of which cannot support the normal forms of life. Open mines are also notorious for holding surface water in pools, most of which habour a different form of life.

· Blasting as is common in rock excavation destabilizes the ground, posing the dangers of earth movement like landslides. The breakage of rock enhances the rates of weathering, thereby breaking up rock even more faster.

· Mass excavation of topsoil deprives the ground of life – supporting soil stratum.

· Creation of cess pools and soak away pits for sewage disposal lead to the intoxication of soil. Treatment ponds have a similar effect.

· Activities leading to the reduction of water available, whether surface or sub surface, leads to a reduction in soil water, thereby altering its live supporting capabilities.

· Leaving open sections of soil like is common in embankment and uncovered sections exposes soil to agents of erosion, notably rain, thereby shaping the landscape as well as moving humus rich top soil from one section to the other.

· Compaction of soil, especially on a large scale and in many layers alters the normal stratification as well as penetrability by plant roots as well as percolation by water.

· Importation of alien soils of a different kind creates an inconsistency and as such a disjoint. It also creates an anomaly in the environmental patterns in the constructed area.

As noted, soil is a very crucial part of the environment and it needs to be treated with utmost care. Hampering the normal conditions of soil amounts to a distraction in the normal flow of life in the environment. Soil is perhaps among the most crucial pillars of life. It is also among the biggest victims of the activities of construction. This makes considerations on soil conservation measures in any construction works to be very carefully thought out and implemented. It is the duty of all the stakeholders involved to work together to reach the goal of minimum soil disturbance in all the construction projects they are involved in.