The World Soil Day is celebrated yearly on December 5th every year at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The celebrations are conducted in Rome, where the headquarters of FAO of UN is present, in the regional offices and via national and local events.
As per the facts and figures shared by the FAO of the United Nations:
- Soil could retain three times more carbon as the atmosphere could and could help in facing the challenges of the changing climate
- 815 million people are insecure in regard to nutrition and around 2 billion people are nutritionally insecure, but this could be lessened via soil
- 95 per cent of food that we consume comes from the soil
- 33 per cent of the global soils present are already degraded
On the previous year, World Soil Day celebrations, the FAO representative in Pakistan—Mina Dowlatchahi said that for securing the Pakistani generations the soil needs to be secured.
According to FAO, the Pakistani soils are low in organic matter and also in many necessarily needed plant nutrients. Generally, 90 per cent of the soil is poor in organic matter, 85 per cent low in the content of phosphorous and 40 per cent low in potassium.
Iron is also deficient and so are zinc and boron which are as per reports above 50 per cent less in the field crops.
Out of the total 80 million hectares of the geographical area of Pakistan, only 22 million hectares is presently cultivated.
Besides the issue of stagnation in the cropping fields, in the peri-urban areas, the agricultural land is being transformed into real estate which is another pressure.
As per the statistics of 2013, the soil experts revealed that nearly 40,000 hectares of fertile lands of Pakistan majorly in Sindh were becoming saline annually owing to the salty groundwater, which requires serious rehabilitation.
Famous land rights professional Punhal Sario said that the fertile lands of Pakistan were becoming saline yearly at a rate of 40,000 hectares. This figure indicates that 109 hectares of land is transforming into saline daily.
Climate is affected, while some changes are apparently visible, some of them are virtually invisible and one best example of this is soil pollution. This type of pollution is not visible but has affected almost everyone, everywhere.
The population is expanding on a per day basis, by 2050 the population is expected to reach 9 billion, soil pollution is a worldwide problem which has affected are soil badly, it poisons the food that we consume, the water that we drink and the air that we breathe in.
Soils have got the ability to filter and buffer the contaminants, thus minimizing the negative effects of pollutants, but its potential is limited. The major chunk of pollutants rises from human activities, like mining, unsustainable farming practices and industrial activities.
With the advent of technology scientists are able to recognize the previously unidentified pollutants, however, these technological advancements have led to the release of new contaminants into the environment.
It is high time now that some solution be sought for this invisible yet highly dangerous issue of soil pollution.