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What is salinity?
Salinity is when high levels of salt are found in soil or water.
Where does the salt come from?
The wearing down of rock materials over time.
Salt from the ocean going into the land by wind or rain.
Other materials from the ocean that get transferred from the ocean to the land.
What are the types of salinity?
Primary salinity. This is when soils and water sources naturally have a high amount of salinity. A salt lake is an example of primary salinity.
Secondary salinity. This is when humans do things like clear too much land, making groundwater rise to the surface, dissolve the salts and then transfer them into the soil.
There are two main forms of secondary salinity. These are:
Dryland salinity, which happens when more water enters the groundwater than is taken out from the groundwater. Clearing of natural vegetation is the main cause of dryland salinity.
Irrigation salinity, which happens when salts collect in the topsoil under irrigation. Too much irrigation in farming land and poor water use are the main causes of irrigation salinity.
In what ways is salinity a problem for the environment?
High amounts of salt in the soil are toxic to plants, stopping them from being able to dissolve water and nutrients properly.
Loss of biodiversity happens because of vegetation being ruined.
The quality of surface water and groundwater becomes worse, which again means that soil and plants can not grow properly.
Sources of water that humans use can become affected by salinity, making them dangerous to drink or unusable.
What can you do to help?
Ask your parents to avoid too much irrigation in your garden or farm at home. They can do this by checking soil moisture to find out when the soil needs irrigating.
Salinity can ruin our soil, plants and water. Let's be smart about the way we treat these precious resources.