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World Soil Day

Topics Covered:

Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


World Soil Day

What to study?

For Prelims: World Soil Day 2019- key facts.

For Mains: Soil pollution- reasons, concerns, challenges and measures.

ContextWorld Soil Day is celebrated every year on 5th of December by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of United Nations.

Aim: To communicate messages on importance of soil quality for food security, healthy ecosystems and human well-being.

Theme 2019: ‘Stop Soil Erosion, Save Our Future’.

Why December 5 was chosen?

It corresponds with the official birthday of H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the King of Thailand, who officially sanctioned the event.

Soil pollution- concerns:

Soil pollution is a hidden danger that lurks beneath our feet.

  1. 1/3 of our global soils are 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.
  2. With a growing population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, soil pollution is a worldwide problem which degrades our soils, poisons the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe.
  3. 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.
  4. Technology improvements may also lead to new contaminants being released into the environment.


In the Agenda for Sustainable Development 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.

Need for conservation and protection of soil:

  1. Soil holds three times as much carbon as the atmosphere and can help us meet the challenges of a changing climate.
  2. 815 million people are food insecure and 2 billion people are nutritionally insecure, but we can mitigate this through soil.
  3. 95% of our food comes from soil.
  4. 33% of our global soils are already degraded.

Way ahead:

According to the FAO, it is vital to tackle soil pollution to reduce the risk of food security and human health. By preventing soil pollution, we can also address soil degradation, adapt to climate change and stem rural migration.

Sources: the hindu.