Soil pollution affects food security by reducing crop yields and quality. Without healthy soils we wouldn’t be able to produce our food and achieve #ZeroHunger. Photo: FAO.
Stop Soil Pollution
While we can see many of the changes we have made to our planet, some of our impacts are virtually invisible, and soil pollution is a good example. Be the Solution to Soil Pollution campaign for World Soil Day 2018 aims to raise awareness and call people to #StopSoilPollution.
One third of our global soils are already degraded. Yet we risk losing more due to this hidden danger. Soil pollution can be invisible and seems far away but everyone, everywhere is affected. With a growing population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, soil pollution is a worldwide problem which degrades our soils, poisons the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe.
Soils have a great potential to filter and buffer contaminants, degrading and attenuating the negative effects of pollutants, but this capacity is finite. Most of the pollutants originate from human activities, such as unsustainable farming practices, industrial activities and mining, untreated urban waste and other non-environmental friendly practices. As technology evolves, scientists are able to identify previously undetected pollutants, but at the same time these technological improvements lead to new contaminants being released into the environment. In the Agenda 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals 2, 3, 12, and 15 have targets which commend direct consideration of soil resources, especially soil pollution and degradation in relation to food security.
It is time to uncover this threatening reality. Combatting soil pollution requires us to join forces and turn determination into action. Be the solution to soil pollution.
The region of the Prespa Lake Basin is home to more than 2,000 species of fish, birds, mammals and plants that are in danger of dying out if their habitat is not protected. This eco-system has suffered greatly over the last 40 years—above all from pollution caused by unsustainable farming practices, together with erosion and the presence of untreated waste and wastewaters. Photo: UNDPLjubo Stefanov
The International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS), in 2002, adopted a resolution proposing the 5th of December as World Soil Day to celebrate the importance of soil as a critical component of the natural system and as a vital contributor to human wellbeing.
Under the leadership of the Kingdom of Thailand and within the framework of the “Global Soil Partnership”, FAO has supported the formal establishment of World Soil Day as a global awareness raising platform.
The FAO Conference, in June 2013, unanimously endorsed World Soil Day and requested official adoption at the 68th UN General Assembly. In December 2013, the 68th UN General Assembly declared 5th of December as the World Soil Day.
Since 2012, the FAO-GSP has been organizing celebration events of this important day.