World Soil Day 2021: All you need to know about the history and campaign this year

The proposal for a global day to celebrate soil was first recommended in the year 2002 by the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS)

Representational Image. Reuters

World Soil Day (WSD), observed on 5 December annually, raises awareness about the importance of healthy soil. It is also observed to raise awareness about the need to manage soil resources in a sustainable manner. WSD aims to encourage people to make efforts to improve soil health.

History:

The proposal for a global day to celebrate soil was first recommended in the year 2002 by the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS). Under the framework of the Global Soil Partnership, and the leadership of the King of Thailand, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) lent its support to the establishment of WSD. The day was envisaged as a global platform to raise awareness about issues related to the management of soil resources.

In 2013, WSD was unanimously endorsed by the FAO Conference. The conference also requested the UN General Assembly (UNGA) for the official adoption of the WSD. The UNGA then designated the first World Soil Day on 5 December, 2014.

Why was 5 December chosen as the date?

It was decided to mark WSD on 5 December as it was the official birthday of the late King of Thailand, H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who had officially sanctioned the event.

Campaign this year:

World Soil Day will observe the campaign “Halt soil salinization, boost soil productivity” this year to raise awareness about the growing challenges in fighting soil salinization as well as the importance of improving soil health.

  • On World Soil Day this year, here are some facts about soil salinization:
    Soil salinization and soil degradation are seen as some of the biggest issues threatening food security, sustainability and agricultural production in arid and semi-arid regions.
  • The process of salinization leads to soil erosion and degrades the biodiversity, water quality and agricultural productivity of the region.
  • As per the FAO, soil salinization takes up to 1.5 million hectares of farmland each year from production.
  • Soil salinization can cause a loss of $31 billion annually in agricultural productivity.
  • Approximately 8.7 percent of the planet or over 833 million hectares comes under the category of salt-affected soil. These soils are less likely to act as a buffer against pollutant.

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