International Soil Day, also known as World Soil Day, is a day set aside to assess issues regarding soil health. It is also an opportunity for governments and FAO to draft policies that will help in preserving soil fertility. This day is usually celebrated annually on the 5th day of December at the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome. International Soil Day is often accompanied with Soil Erosion Day. The International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) suggested the establishment of the International Soil Day in 2002. After a while, FAO supported the suggestion intending to provide a global platform for creating awareness about soil-related issues. Consequently, this UN agency unanimously endorsed the celebrations in June 2013 paving way for its official adoption by the United Nations during its 68th General Assembly in December 2013. The first International Soil Day was commemorated on December 5, 2014.
Why Soil Conservation Campaigns?
Soil is a mixture of organic matter, air, minerals, and water found on the earth’s surface forming a medium that is essential for the growth of plants, trees, and vegetation. Soil composition also includes living organisms that enhance decaying processes. There are four types of soils namely loam, clay, silt, and sand. Soil conservation is important as it enhances the health of the soil, as well as aids in the balance of atmospheric gases. Healthy soils enable farmers to receive high yield from their crops which helps in achieving food safety within communities, nations, and the world as a whole. An increase in healthy crops results in the withdrawal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis resulting in less high temperatures and purification of the air. One of the ways that they FAO encourages farmers to improve soil conservation is by convincing them to embrace sustainable farming practices. These practices focus on organic farming methods which include the use of organic fertilizers to preserve the nutrients in the soil. After the agrarian revolution, farmers resolved in the practice of large scale farming using machinery and chemical fertilizers. However, over time the soil has been suffering from poor health due to the overuse of the inorganic fertilizers resulting in poor yields and food safety challenges. International Soil Day aims at discussing proper ways of improving soil health.
Significance Of International Soil Day Celebrations
Concerns about the soil health came from increased deforestation and clearing of vegetation resulting in the land being left bare. Bare land results in soil erosion, as well as soil degradation. During the celebrations International Soil Day, the emphasis is laid on the need to encourage the use of soil conservation practices that can help to restore and sustain the soil structure. The celebrations are aimed at raising awareness of the significance of sustaining healthy ecosystems and the wellbeing of humans. It also helps in tackling the increasing challenges of soil management through sensitizing governments, organizations, communities, and individuals on the best soil preservation practices that may be applied to improve the quality of the soil. The theme of the International Soil Day in 2019 was “Stop Soil Erosion and Save Our Future.”