Today is the World Soil Day. The United Nations observes this year’s soil day with a campaign “Keep soil alive, protect soil biodiversity”, calling upon the humanity to focus on the living organisms below ground that are essential to life on Earth. Soil contains more than a fourth of the world’s biodiversity.
The loss of biodiversity is a huge problem threatening the very existence of life on earth. Soil organisms support plant growth, storing of carbon and produce a pool of pharmaceuticals. The greed of humankind has led to unsustainable soil management that threatens soil organisms.
Soil is brimming with organisms that work in tandem to sustain life on Earth. These organisms help soil store carbon and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Soil biodiversity affects the health of ecosystems and livelihoods, said Lee Heng, head of the soil and water management and crop nutrition subprogramme at the joint Food and Agriculture Organisation/ International Atomic Energy Agency Programme of nuclear techniques in food and agriculture. The IAEA and FAO are supporting experts from more than 90 countries to use nuclear techniques for soil health and management. Here are some examples of the impact of this work.
- Several soil organisms work in tandem to sustain life on Earth.
- Soil biodiversity is essential for soil health. Healthy soil produces safe and nutritious food. At least 95% of our food come from soils.Soils organisms help soil store carbon and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
- Soils are vast, vital pharmacies. Most of the antibiotics used to fight infections are made using soil micro-organisms.