Soil pollution ‘jeopardizing’ life on Earth, UN agency warns on World Day

FAO/Hkun Lat A girl runs through a dried field in Mynmar’s Sagaing region. Once a fertile farmland, the soil has degraded and may not sustain crops for many years to come.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

Soil is a “treasure beneath our feet,” essential to human lives and well-being, a senior United Nations official has highlighted, warning, however, that this invaluable resource is under constant threat from the little-understood phenomenon of soil pollution.

According to José Graziano da Silva, the Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, human activities are the primary source of this “invisible” pollution.

Thousands of chemicals used in every-day lives – and tonnes of urban, industrial and agricultural waste – end up in soil, leaving it “bare and degraded,” he said, in a message marking the World Soil Day.

In addition, with soil essential to providing food for 95 per cent of the world, soil pollution not only reduces the quantity and quality of crops and produce, it also worsens poverty and compromises the future for generations to come, warned the head of FAO.

‘Be a part of the solution’

But, with everyone taking action to prevent soil degradation, the challenges can be overcome, said Mr. Graziano da Silva, urging everyone to “be a part of the solution.”

The theme for this year’s commemoration is just that: “be the solution to soil pollution” and FAO is offering key recommendations through which people can make a difference.

For instance, studies show that up to 80 per cent of urban waste – ending up in landfills and entering the soil – can be recycled. This is particularly important for electronic, “e-waste”.

UN News Fact Box: Soil…

  • Holds three times as much carbon as the atmosphere and can help overcome some climate change challenges;
  • Can improve food security for 815 million people and provide better nutrition for two billion people
  • Provides 95 per cent of all food but 33 per cent of the soil globally has are already degraded

Source: FAO

Old computers and devices can be donated to charities or institutions where they will continued to be used, their components can also be recycled, says the UN agency.

Recycling and sustainable choices can also help curb plastic pollution.

“Each and every person can also contribute to solving the problem by simply carrying a reusable bottle and grocery bag, and buying products with reduced or recycled packaging,” urges FAO.

Responsible and sustainable use and management of agrochemicals, solid contamination and degradation, can be prevented, it adds.

A farmer transplants rice in a paddy field in the Philippines. Globally almost 95 per cent of the food comes from soil.

Glinka World Soil Prize

As part of global commemorations, the Global Soil Partnership awarded the Glinka World Soil Prize to Professor Rattan Lal, the President of the International Union of Social Science recognizing his “outstanding contribution to sustainable soil management.”

Professor Lal’s scientific work contributed to soil organic carbon restoration and improvement of soil structure, as well as converting science and research into policy and decision-making, according to FAO.

The Glinka World Soil Prize is named after the pioneering Russian scientist Konstantin D. Glinka. It honours individuals and organizations for leadership in promoting sustainable soil management and the protection of soil resources.

In addition, this year’s commemoration saw the inaugural presentation of the World Soil Day Award, which was presented to Practical Action Bangladesh for its work in raising awards on the topic and organizing the best World Soil Day celebrations last year.

Farmers harvest rice near Ta Pra Mok, Thailand. Globally almost 95 per cent of the food comes from soil.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Security Council should ‘nurture’ Colombian consensus against return to violence, top UN official urges

The cost of generating renewable energy has fallen – a lot

A European young student speaks about the Youth Policies of the European Commission

Vote at 16 in Malta: next stop Europe

Bankruptcy or referendum: which one is going to be first?

25 years after population conference, women still face challenges to ‘well-being and human rights’, says UN chief

Trade negotiations with US can start under certain conditions

EU to spend €135.5 billion in 2014 or 6.5% less than this year

Why Climate Change Matters for Future Health Professionals

Juncker Plan reaches almost €410 billion in triggered investment across the EU

Women-Friendly Spaces for Rohingya refugees: A place for protection and care

EU food watchdog: more transparency, better risk prevention

E-energy declaration: will energy digitalization be beneficial to the climate?

“TTIP can boost the European project”; the Sting reports live from EBS 2015 on TTIP

‘Proving our worth through action’: 5 things Guterres wants the UN to focus on in 2019

Unemployment and immigrants haunt the EU; who can offer relief?

The financial future of Eurozone on the agenda of Friday’s ECOFIN council

Why are so few women buying into Bitcoin?

UN chief condemns deadly terrorist attack on church in southern Philippines

UN human rights chief denounces grave ‘assaults’ on fundamental rights of Palestinian people

Cocaine and opium production worldwide hit ‘absolute record highs’ – major threat to public health says UN study

Preparing for developing countries the ‘Greek cure’

Who the US and China have trade disputes with

Human Rights breaches in Iran, Kazakhstan and Guatemala

Germany resists Macron’s plan for closer and more cohesive Eurozone; Paris and Berlin at odds

Flexible jobs can make work-life balance worse, a German study finds

Sweden well ahead in digital transformation yet has more to do

Here are three technology trends changing the way you travel

‘Exercise restraint’ Guterres urges Sri Lankans, as political crisis deepens

New York City has a plan to fight fast fashion waste. Here’s how it works

G20 LIVE: G20 leaders reaffirm OECD’s role in ensuring strong, sustainable and inclusive growth

1.4 million refugees set to need urgent resettlement in 2020: UNHCR

These 11 EU states already meet their 2020 renewable energy targets

Who cares more about taxpayers? The US by being harsh on major banks or the EU still caressing them?

‘Virginity testing’: a human rights violation, with no scientific basis – UN

It’s time for financial services to embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Here’s why

Service and Sacrifice: For Ghana, UN peacekeeping is a ‘noble opportunity to serve humanity’

MEPs condemn attacks on civilians, including children, in Yemen

The Czech economy is thriving but boosting skills and productivity and transitioning to a low-carbon productive model is vital to sustainable and inclusive growth

EU Summit/Migration: Parliament calls for joint solutions based on solidarity

What is ‘South-South cooperation’ and why does it matter?

5 reasons to protect mangrove forests for the future

Afghanistan: Bring ‘architects’ of latest ‘appalling’ suicide bombing to justice, says deputy UN mission chief

The Europe we want: Just, Sustainable, Democratic and Inclusive

MEPs back EU partnership agreement with Armenia

These are the best cities for tech

MEPs want to ensure sufficient funding for Connecting Europe’s future

New Mozambique storm rips off roofs, brings lashing rain as aid response kicks in

How young people are turning the tide against corruption

In Finland, speeding tickets are linked to your income

Azerbaijan chooses Greek corridor for its natural gas flow to EU

Climate change helped destroy these four ancient civilisations

A European Discovers China: 3 First Impressions

Commission deepens criticism on German economic policies

The Brexit factor in the US-China trade war and other conflicts

I have a rare disease. This is my hope for the future of medicine

5 things you probably didn’t know about global health

Safer Internet Day: ‘Be kind online’, says UNICEF, urging action to prevent cyberbullying, harassment

The Chinese film boom luring Hollywood’s stars

“As long as we work together through thick and thin, more benefits can be delivered to the people of Eurasia”, China’s Premier Li Keqiang highlights from ASEM in Brussels

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s