Wednesday (5 December) was World Soil Day, but it passed off like any other day and many don’t even know such a day is observed. Soil pollution is at its peak and it is high time awareness was created on how to minimise the damage we are doing to Mother Earth. According to the United Nations, one-third of our global soil is 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 nine billion by 2050, soil pollution is a worldwide problem which degrades our soil, 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,’ says the UN. 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 uncovered this threatening reality. Combating soil pollution requires us to join forces and turn determination into action. Without waiting for the government for everything, people should come forward to do their bit to protect the soil, which gives us food, water, place to live and more. Rather than lamenting and blaming others for the problems, we can be the solution to soil pollution by taking a vow not to harm it any more and by implementing it in letter and spirit.
Thaai Manne Vanakkam.