December 5th is World Soil Day. 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.
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.
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.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO): Soil holds three times as much carbon as the atmosphere and can help us meet the challenges of a changing climate, 815 million people are food insecure and 2 billion people are nutritionally insecure, but we can mitigate this through soil, 95% of our food comes from soil, 33% of our global soils are already degraded