Pic Courtesy – https://ifdc.org/2020/06/05/soil-is-life-lets-conserve-it/
A few days back one of my friends called me for tea in the evening. While we were enjoying tea, his four five years old grandson came running to the house after playing with his friends in the nearby park. He was having wet soil on his hands, forehead, and all over his clothes. The moment he entered the house, his mother started scolding him as if he had committed some crime. The little child could not bear that and started crying. I asked my friend to call him and tried to cool down the atmosphere.
There and then, a question came into my mind, how under the syndrome of being “looked modern”, we are depriving our children of interacting with the most precious thing on this earth, and that is SOIL. I have given a new definition “SURVIVAL, ODYSSEY, INHABITATION of LIFE” to (SOIL). I was trying to add creation also, but could not find any room to accommodate that. And that is right also because creation is the responsibility of God only. Earth has been delegated the responsibility of the three, (survival, odyssey, and inhabitation), for which it has made all the adequate provisions.
But in the rat race of attaining superficial excellence, success to prove that he is supreme, and finally, to be invincible, human has been committing blunders after blunders and reached a stage of inevitable self-destruction. Human is not prepared to understand that “Soil is a living highly complex and dynamic ecosystem. It supports an extremely rich diversity of micro and macro flora, which influences the properties of soil. It primarily consists of inorganic mineral nutrients and organic matter along with a huge number of life forms. Soil is not only the basis of agriculture but also acts as a medium for plant growth. It is only soil that performs vital functions like mediating the exchange of gases, flow of energy, nutrients, and water. Soil also plays a vital role in maintaining the environmental quality”. To keep life intact on Earth, soil health is not only very important but rather indispensable.
But do we have any concern with what we are doing with the only base of life, which is soil? There are multiple human-made threats to soil earth. We are playing with the very existence of life on Earth by polluting every part of the soil. Soil pollution is caused by the presence of man-made chemicals and other alterations in the natural soil environment. This type of contamination arises from the application of pesticides, percolation of contaminated surface water to surface strata, oil, and fuel dumping, leaching of wastes from landfills, direct discharge of industrial wastes to the soil, and rupture of underground storage lines. It is associated with indiscriminate use of fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, dumping of large quantities of solid waste, cruel deforestation, and soil erosion.
Pollution of surface soils materials are, like, (vegetables, animal wastes, papers, wooden pieces, carcasses, plant twigs, leaves, cloth wastes, as well as sweepings) and many non-biodegradable materials such as (plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic wastes, glass bottles, glass pieces, stone/cement pieces). On a rough estimate, Indian cities are producing solid waste to the tune of one lakh metric tons per day. Many dangerous chemicals like cadmium, chromium, lead, arsenic, and selenium products are likely to be deposited in underground soil. These can damage the normal activities and ecological balance in the underground soil, contaminate the water and affect the plant growth along with agricultural yield.
Finding a remedy will require changes that extend far beyond the soil itself. It will involve changing the way we farm and potentially the whole nature of the agrochemical industry. An important first step to minimizing soil degradation is for countries to switch to “Regenerative Agriculture” practices. It includes rotation, sustainable grazing, and mixed-use farming methods such as agroforestry, which includes the planting of trees alongside crops. Proper methods should be adopted for the management of solid waste disposal. Industrial waste must be treated physically, chemically, and biologically until they become less hazardous. Extraction and separation techniques, thermal methods or heat treatment, and microbial treatment methods should also be applied. New areas for storage of hazardous waste should also be investigated like deep good injection and more secure landfills.
Read Also: Biodiversity in Urban Environments
This is also a fact that nothing in this universe is ever still. With the dawn, creation, and endowment of a hyper-consumerist world, we have reached a stage of no return. It is alarming that more than 30% of the world’s soil is now degraded. We have forgotten that we are trustees of posterity. We must pass on to the next generations a world that is in some way better than how we received it. We must be alive to the necessities of the moment. The soil is our earth, our world, and our future. We are trustees of the earth, the environment, and the future. We owe the responsibility to work for a better and safe future on this earth.