It was in 1984 when a person Abdul Mbundu reached the security check at London airport. The officer on duty was stunned to find the year of birth of the person on the related documents to be 1832. It means the age of the person standing before him was 162 years. He checked the documents again and again but could find any discrepancy in them. The person was from Hunja Valley, a narrow sunlit valley, dominated by the snow-capped Himalayan peaks. There is a saying that, it is inhabited by the healthiest and happiest mortals (many of them centenarians), subjects of the tiny semi-independent kingdom of HUNZA, legally a constituent of Pakistan.
A lot has been written about the extraordinary health of the Hunzakuts. There practically no plant or animal disease, and virtually none in humans. Absolutely no cancer, no heart or intestinal trouble, and the people regularly live to be centenarians. Wounds are said to heal with remarkable speed, seldom becoming infected if rubbed with local soil. The reason is that soil is rich in minerals, which somehow obviates sepsis. Every bit of HUNZA soil has been hand prepared with delicate care, often brought from afar, laid in narrow ribbons on terraced fields. The soil is hacked from the raw face of surrounding mountains and built up with stones without mortars and mud. Kept fertile with organic compost, watered by the silt-laden melt of glaciers. And there lies the secret of HUNZA health.
Earth is ailing, almost beyond repair. No creature, not even swine befouls its nest with such abandon, as does Homo sapiens poisoning their habitat with fiendishly concocted chemicals and their deadly toxic waste, said Dr. Alexis Carrel (Nobel Prize Winner). He also said that soil is the basis for all kinds of lives including human life. Our only hope for a healthy world rests on re-establishing the harmony in the soil we have grossly disrupted by our modern methods of agronomy.
The soil properly nourished with adequate humus (organic compost), doesn’t suffer from diseases. It also doesn’t require poisonous sprays to keep off parasites. The animal fed on these plants develops a high degree of disease resistance. Human, nurtured with such plants and animals, will reach an extraordinary standard of health and also able to resist diseases and infections from whatever cause it may derive. The crop grown on organic manure have a natural power of resistance to infection and that proper nutrition is all that is required to make that power operative. The moment we introduce e substitute in the nitrogen cycle through artificial/chemical fertilizers like sulphate of ammonia, trouble begins. It does not stop and ends up with some outbreak of disease.
Chemical fertilizers are not only a waste of money, rather cause of the creation of all the modern diseases. Maintaining the organic matter alone is enough to allow microbes to provide a sufficient amount of nutrients to feed the world. Organic matter may be called the constitution of the soil. Insects and diseases are the symptoms of failing crops. The use of poisonous sprays is an act of desperation in a dying agriculture. Weeds are an index to the character of the soil. When pesticides are applied to a forest area, about 25% reached the tree foliage, about 1% reached the target insect, and 30% reached the soil. With the remainder ending up in the atmosphere, surface, or the groundwater.
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There are 14 elements essential for plant growth that come from the soil. And all these elements are essential for human health. Hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulfur, and chlorine make up 99.9% of the atoms in the human body.
Soil is the major source of all these except hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon. However, the remaining 0.1% consists of approximately 18 additional elements, known as micronutrients or trace elements. So establishing a very close connection between people and soil, better treatment, and management of our soils will certainly help in improving the complete ecosystem including human health. For this, the field of soil, environment, and human health needs more sensitization, awakening, awareness, and education among the people.