One of the less known but important annual celebrations is World Soil Day. In 2002 the International Union of Soil Sciences proposed that the 5th of December be the day to celebrate World Soil Day, in order to raise awareness of the enormous role that soil plays in food security. Often the importance of soil is underestimated, and it has led to a drastic reduction in soil quality worldwide. Soil forms a significant part of the ecosystem. Soil filters our water, provides essential nutrients to our forests and crops, and helps regulate the Earth’s temperature.
Soil is formed from rocks which have been decomposed slowly from the sun, wind, rain, animals and plants. This slow process results in 10cm of fertile soil being created over a period of 2000 years. Therefore, fertile soils are finite and invaluable to humanity. Over the past 150 years around half of the worlds topsoil has been lost. Several factors affect soil quality which include soil erosion, compaction, loss of soil structure, soil salinity and nutrient degradation. The aforementioned factors are severe issues that need to be addressed in order to conserve soils. Soil erosion is a prominent issue that needs to be addressed as the effects of soil erosion do not stop at just the loss of fertile land. In addition, to the loss of fertile land soil erosion can result in the sedimentation of streams and rivers which can result in the decline of fish and other species. Furthermore, lands that have been experienced soil erosion are less able to hold water and can increase the risk of flooding.
An important aspect to managing and reducing soil erosion is to rehabilitate affected lands and to implement preventative measures that will help prevent soil degradation and the loss of valuable soils. In this way, we can help prevent hunger and mitigate the climate crisis.
ENVASS encourages you to take part in reducing soil erosion and degradation at your homes and businesses and to make a conscious effort to conserve our invaluable soils. Have a great 2020 World Soil Day and remember to spread the awareness.