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World Soil Day 2020: Significance, Date, and Theme

File photo

File photo

The day highlights how soil is fundamental natural resource and is the basis for all terrestrial life.

To reiterate and spread awareness regarding soil and its gradual degradation with time, the World Soil Day (WSD) is held annually on December 5. On this particular day, the importance of healthy soil and sustainable management of soil resources is being highlighted

Soil degradation is a serious environmental problem which happens due to the decline in soil condition caused by its improper use or poor management, usually for agricultural, industrial or urban purposes. The day highlights how soil is fundamental natural resource and is the basis for all terrestrial life. Avoiding soil degradation is crucial to our well-being.

There are many signs of soil degradation right from erosion to

loss of organic matter to decline in soil fertility. This can be caused by many factors excessive flooding, effects of toxic chemicals and pollutants.

The idea of commemorating the day to the importance of soil was recommended by the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) in 2002. With support from the Thailand and within the framework of the Global Soil Partnership, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) the day was formally established as a global awareness raising platform.

FAO Conference unanimously endorsed World Soil Day in 2013 and requested its official adoption at the 68th United Nation General Assembly. The UN General Assembly then designated December 5, 2014 as the first official World Soil Day.

The date of December 5 was chosen because it corresponded with the official birthday of Thailand’s former jing Bhumibol Adulyadej who officially sanctioned the event. In 2016, World Soil Day was officially recognized in memory of the monarch who passed away in October.

This year’s theme for World Soil Day is 'Keep soil alive, protect soil biodiversity' that urges people to focus attention on the essential organisms below ground which contribute to processes that are crucial to life on Earth. Soil is home to more than 1/4 of our planet's biodiversity yet we are only aware of one percent of this universe.

Soil organisms take part in many critical ecosystem processes, on which humans depend. These include supporting plant growth, to storing carbon and being a vast reservoir for pharmaceuticals.


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