There are more living organisms in a tablespoon of soil than the people on Earth. A world in itself, soil holds minerals, organic components, and organisms and needs to be protected from degradation to ensure nutrient-rich plant life on Earth.
The United Nations observes world soil day every year on December 5 in a bid to raise awareness about the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems by addressing challenges posed by soil management. This year, the theme for the observance of this day is ‘soils: where food begins.’ The proposal for an international day to celebrate soil dates back to 2002 and was initiated by the International Union of Soil Sciences. However, the UN general assembly adopted the proposal officially almost a decade later and in 2014, the first official world soil day was observed.
5 points why world soil day is a crucial advocacy tool:
1) Shedding light on the importance of soil management, the UN says there are more living organisms in a tablespoon of soil than the people on Earth. A world in itself, soil holds minerals, organic components, and organisms and needs to be protected from degradation to ensure nutrient-rich plant life on Earth.
2) As per the UN, about 33% of soils are degraded already. As the increasing population burdens our agricultural systems, it is crucial to ensure soil replenishment after each harvest to ensure global food security since 95 percent of the food comes from soils.
3) World population hit 8 billion last month, and the UN projects that agricultural production will have to increase by 60% to meet the global food demand in 2050. Sustainable management of soil resources becomes crucial in this respect since of the 18 naturally occurring chemicals essential for plants, 15 are provided by soils.
4) Through proper soil management, healthy ecosystems that flourish are capable of producing up to 58 percent more food, the UN data says.
5) The UN says world soil day is an advocacy tool to protect soil resources and eliminate ‘hidden hunger’. In the past 70 years, soil degradation has been rampant, affecting 2 billion people worldwide who are reported to suffer from a lack of micronutrients, a problem labelled as ‘hidden hunger’ because they are difficult to detect.