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By Apurva

6th Dec 2019

One of the basic requirements for survival is Soil. It is not only home to a number of organic remains, clay and rock particles, found on the Earth’s surface but also provides food, reduces biodiversity loss, and secures energy.

World Soil Day is held on December 5 every year to highlight the importance of Soil for our planet. We need soil for basic survival – food and energy. This annual awareness day is being run by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The event aims to raise awareness of the importance of soil quality for human well-being, food security and ecosystems, and events are held at the UN FAO offices and through community based events. 

World Soil Day 2019: Theme

For the year 2019, the theme for World Soil Day is “Stop soil erosion, Save our future”. It aims at raising awareness on the importance of sustaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being. FAO aims to achieve this by addressing the increasing challenges in soil management and raise the profile of healthy soil by encouraging governments, organizations, communities and individuals.

Why we need World Soil Day?

Soil is a finite natural resource and is non-renewable on a human timescale Soil is a symbol of fertility. It is the origin of life. It is the basis for food production. Soils are also home to a range of life forms, which are not, perhaps, as charismatic as bees or butterflies. It is estimated that soils host a quarter of our planet’s biodiversity. The microorganisms themselves belong to another huge and fascinating world, a world we are still trying to discover. Understanding their role in maintaining soils and keeping plants and animals –including people—healthy is an ongoing challenge.

It takes thousands of years to form 1 cm of soil. However, it can be destroyed in almost no time at all. Unsustainable agriculture practices, urban infrastructures, pollution, erosion, climate change and other factors all contribute to the rapid degradation of our soils and to desertification. About 33 per cent of our lands are already degraded, and this increasing trend is putting in check the achievement of many global agreements. India has a varied geological, climate and vegetation, which gives it different soil types. India has over 17 per cent of the world population with limited land resources, the current situation warrants immediate attention and urgent remedial measures. As we need more food from less resources, sustainable intensification is the way forward. It can keep our soil health in check and also improve it. We need to recycle what we take from the soil.

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