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May 8th, 2018 / Farmers Review Africa

Soil pollution poses a big threat to agricultural productivity, food safety, and human health. Unfortunately, according to a new FAO report released earlier on this week, far too little is known about the scale and severity of that threat. Regrettably, soil is a finite resource. This means its loss and degradation is not recoverable within a human lifespan.

According to FAO Deputy General Maria Helen Semedo, soil pollution affects the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the health of our ecosystems. She also noted that the potential of soils to cope with pollution is limited; the prevention of soil pollution should be a top priority worldwide.

Unfortunately, even though agricultural intensification, industrial output, and urbanization continue at a rapid pace, no systematic assessment of the status of soil pollution at the global level has ever been undertaken. This is according to the FAO report.

Soil pollution causes a chain reaction. It alters soils’ biodiversity, reduces soil organic matter and soils’ capacity to act as a filter. It also contaminates the water stored in the soil and groundwater, and causes an imbalance of soil nutrients. Read more