FAO says increased soil contamination is now threatening our food security

Soil pollution
Soil pollution Pixabay

UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said on Wednesday, December 5, which is known as World Soil Day that an urgent action is required to address soil pollution and contain the multiple threats it poses to global food safety and food security.

In the news release they said that thousands of chemicals, which are commercially produced on a large scale, such as plastic and electronic waste, non-treated wastewater can all become a source of soil pollution. They also added that such situation could widen the way for the pollutants to enter the food chain with serious consequences for the health and wellbeing of people and planet.

On the occasion of World Soil day, Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo said, "About 33 percent of all soils are degraded - and soils continue to deteriorate at an alarming rate. Soil acts as a filter for contaminants. But when its buffering capacity is exceeded, contaminants can enter the environment and the food chain. This undermines food security by making crops risky and unsafe for consumption".

"Human activities are the main source of soil pollution. It is in our hands to adopt sustainable soil management practices," she said and called "for greater political support and significantly increased investment towards healthy soils".

Semedo claimed that most of the growing cities are responsible for producing tons of waste materials that end up in landfills and enter the soil, but up to 80 percent of this garbage could be recycled.

Thanks to the revolution in the technology field, every year about fifty million tonnes of e-waste was generated, making it one of the world's fastest-growing pollution problems that affect the soil. But, FAO advised people to recycle their materials, instead of throwing them away.

As per FAO, one-third of the plastic produced globally produced globally ends up in the ground. Then the plastic particles enter plants and the environment. To prevent the excessive use of plastic and chemicals, produced by the industry, stronger environmental regulations are required.

This year the Russian Federation has also approved the financial contribution of $2 million to support the activities of the Global Soil Partnership

Practical Action Bangladesh won the first World Soil Day Award on Wednesday for organizing the best World Soil Day celebration in 2017. It is the new FAO-established award category that is funded by Thailand.