YESTERDAY, Tanzania joined other countries across the world to celebrate World Soil Day (WSD) 2018, which is marked annually on December 5. The aim is to raise public awareness on the importance of having healthy soil and advocating its sustainable management through best agricultural practices.
We are what we are and do what we do today because we have healthy soil, which we cannot afford to vitiate. Conservationists remind us to ‘care for nature before it cares for us’. Therefore, we are at all times compelled to take steps to sustain healthy soil for present and future generations.
Since the majority of Tanzanians depend on agriculture for their livelihood, healthy soil and its sustainable management is extremely important. We can be sure of healthy soil if we engage in best agricultural practices.
With a global population expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050, soil pollution is certainly going to be a global problem. Fledgling economies like ours are the most affected by soil pollution due to limited funds and technology to effectively mitigate it. That is why we think it is important to remind one another to take steps to manage soil fertility.
Sustainable Development Goals’ targets 2, 3, 12, and 15 focus on direct consideration of soil resources, especially soil pollution and degradation, which put food security at great risk. All this shows how soil pollution is addressed in Agenda 2030, which basically is about transforming our world through sustainable development, including strengthening peace in greater freedom.
WSD was recommended by International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) in 2002. Then, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations Conference unanimously endorsed WSD in June 2013 and requested for its official adoption at the 68th UN General Assembly. In December 2013, the United Nations General Assembly responded positively by designating December 4, 2014 as the first official WSD.
December 5 was chosen because it corresponds with the birthday of H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej, the King of Thailand, who officially sanctioned it. In 2016, it was then officially recognised in his memory and with respect for this beloved monarch, who died in October 2016 after seven decades as head of state.
WSD is now used as a global awareness raising platform. This year’s WSD theme is ‘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. Be the Solution to Soil Pollution Campaign for World Soil Day 2018 aims at raising awareness and calls people to Stop Soil Pollution’.
It is high time we dealt with this threatening health and environmental hazard. We can only do so if we become the solution and not the problem to soil degradation and pollution.