Bilal Mukhtar, Muhammad Faheem Malik, Suleman Hussain Shah, Abdullah Azzam, Slahuddin and Ihtisham Liaqat
Department of Zoology, University of Gujrat, Hafiz Hayat Campus, Gujrat, Pakistan
Soil serves as one of the basic medium of life. However, the human activities are polluting the soil unintentionally. Consequently, a wide range of contaminants enter the soil. However, heavy metals are the most toxic of all these pollutants. Among these, lead, cadmium, chromium, mercury and arsenic are the most toxic and can cause multiple organ damages even when present in small quantities. Although, these elements are necessary for soil organisms in extremely low quantities. However, anthropogenic activities like mining,smelting, fuel burning etc. have disturbed the natural geochemical cycles of heavy metals which raises concern over their management and control. Physio chemical techniques have traditionally been suggested for the removal of heavy metals from the environment. However, there are many limitations regarding the use of these conventional approaches such as higher operating costs, potential side effects, relatively in efficient process, confined to temporary treatment and the harmful intermediate by products. Conversely, bioremediation overcome these limitations. It involves biological agents such as microorganisms (indigenous and extraneous) and plants to control heavy metal pollution. This is an emerging technology, which is comparatively efficient, economical and environmentally safe process, therefore its use should be encouraged for large scale cleanup of soil contaminated with heavy metals. However, there are certain barriers regarding the introduction, uniform distribution and adaptation of exogenous microbes into foreign and compact soil which need immediate attention and possible solution.
Keywords: Bioremediation, Soil, Heavy metals, Soil Pollution, Contaminants.