Monday, April 15, 2024

Soil pollution a risk to our health and food security

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Each year, the world marks World Soil Day on 5 December to raise awareness about the growing challenges in soil management and soil biodiversity loss, and encourage governments, communities and individuals around the world to commit to improving soil health.

“We depend, and will continue to depend, on the ecosystem services provided by soils,” explains United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) soil expert Abdelkader Bensada.

While soil pollution traditionally has not received the same attention as issues like tree-planting, global momentum picked up in 2018, when the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) published a ground-breaking study: Soil Pollution: A Hidden Reality.  

The report found that the main anthropogenic sources of soil pollution are the chemicals used in or produced as byproducts of industrial activities; domestic, livestock and municipal wastes (including wastewater); agrochemicals; and petroleum-derived products.

These chemicals are released to the environment accidentally, for example from oil spills or leaching from landfills, or intentionally, through use of fertilizers and pesticides, irrigation with untreated wastewater, or land application of sewage sludge. Read more…

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