|Introduction: Contextual introduction.|
Body: Explain how soil degradation can have irreparable consequences on human and ecosystem health.Conclusion: Write a way forward.
While soil degradation is occurring in 145 million hectares in India, it is estimated that 96.40 million hectares (about 30 percent of the total geographical area) is affected by land degradation. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s ‘State of Land, Soil and Water’ report, globally, the biophysical status of 5,670 million hectares of land is declining, of which 1,660 million hectares (29 percent) is attributed to human-induced land degradation.
Irreparable consequences on human and ecosystem health:
- Healthy soils are essential for our survival. They support healthy plant growth to enhance both our nutrition and water percolation to maintain groundwater levels.
- Soils help to regulate the planet’s climate by storing carbon and are the second largest carbon sink after the oceans. They help maintain a landscape that is more resilient to the impacts of droughts and floods.
- A key element of sustainable food production is healthy soil because nearly 95 per cent of global food production depends on soil. Soil degradation can have disastrous effects around the world such as an increase in pollution, desertification and a decline in global food production
- A healthy soil is a living, dynamic ecosystem, packed with microscopic and larger organisms that perform many vital functions including nutrient cycling; controlling plant disease, insect and weed pests; improving soil structure with positive effects for soil water and nutrient holding capacity.
- Soil erosion not only affects fertility but also increases the risk of floods and landslides.
- It is a global challenge that affects everyone through food insecurity, higher food prices, climate change, environmental hazards, and the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
As consumers and citizens, we can contribute by planting trees to protect topsoil, developing and maintaining home/kitchen gardens, and consuming foods that are mainly locally sourced and seasonal.