Soil Pollution Current Affairs - 2019
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World Soil Day is celebrated every year on 5th of December by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of United Nations. Observance of this day aims to communicate messages on importance of soil quality for food security, healthy ecosystems and human well-being. It also advocates for sustainable management of soil resources. The Theme for year 2018 is ‘Be the Solution to Soil Pollution’. It aims to raise awareness and call people to stop soil pollution.
Importance of soil
Soil is the upper layer of earth. It is mixture of organic and inorganic matter, in which plants grow. It is a finite natural resource. On a human time-scale it is non-renewable. According to FAO, soil holds three times as much carbon as atmosphere and can help to meet challenges of a changing climate. 95% of our food comes from soil and 33% of global soils are already degraded.
International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) had adopted resolution proposing 5th of December as World Soil Day in 2002 to celebrate importance of soil as critical component of natural system and as vital contributor to human wellbeing. Later in June 2013 FAO Conference unanimously endorsed World Soil Day and requested official adoption at 68th UN General Assembly. In December 2013, 68th UNGA declared 5th of December as the World Soil Day.
According to study conducted by researchers from University of Hyderabad, Castor bean plants can prove useful in fighting soil pollution. It was found that these plants can absorb toxic heavy metals from soil from these polluted areas due to industrial pollution.
The roots, leaves and stem of these plants from the polluted areas contain heavy metals such as lead. It was also observed that these plants accelerate the remediation of polluted soils due to presence of some chemicals in them known as chelators which enhances the capability of the plant to accumulate heavy metals.
Castor seed plants are generally known to be one of the sturdiest plants that can grow in areas where the soil is highly polluted, including in areas where mining is carried out. Traditionally, Castor oil (also known as ‘Arandi ka tel’ in Hindi) has been an age old home remedy for a variety of ailments in India.
This study highlights how castor plants which are having medical properties can also prove a boon in remediation in soil pollution. Government bodies can take a cue out of this study for natural remediation of soil pollution.