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Home > Lifestyle News > Nature And Wildlife News > Article > Increasing soil pollution having an adverse impact on food security Report

Increasing soil pollution having an adverse impact on food security: Report

Updated on: 09 May,2023 03:35 PM IST  |  New Delhi
IANS |

On the one hand, soil pollution can reduce crop yields due to toxic levels of contaminants, and on the other, crops grown in polluted soils are unsafe, causing a threat to human health, as well as to animals

Increasing soil pollution having an adverse impact on food security: Report

main sources of soil pollution are human-made and caused by industrial activity, agricultural chemicals or improper waste disposal. Picture Courtesy:

Like air and water pollution, soil pollution is equally hazardous and threatens the environment and human health. Until recently, however, it received very little attention. Unlike air pollution, soil pollution is usually less visible and cannot be directly assessed, making it a hidden menace that can have serious consequences.


Public awareness of the problem improved during the last decade. This was underpinned by a groundbreaking report, "Soil Pollution: A Hidden Reality," published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in 2018, regarded by experts as a turning point in the global community's recognition of the problem.


Assessment approaches vary from region to region, but soil contamination is the most acute problem in densely populated areas in South, South East, and East Asia. This includes India, Bangladesh, China, and others.


The report found that soil pollution has an adverse impact on food security in two ways - on the one hand, it can reduce crop yields due to toxic levels of contaminants, and on the other, crops grown in polluted soils are unsafe, causing a threat to human health, as well as to animals.

Further, it showed that the main sources of soil pollution are human-made and caused by industrial activity, agricultural chemicals or improper waste disposal. Chemicals used in or produced as byproducts of industrial activities, household, livestock and municipal wastes (including wastewater), and agrochemicals fall under this category.

The findings were reaffirmed in more recent studies, such as the "Global Assessment of soil pollution: Report" issued by FAO and UNEP in 2021.

"Soil pollution is one of the major threats to the world's soils and jeopardises the provision of key soil ecosystem services, including the provision of safe and nutritious food, the availability of clean water, and the existence and conservation of soil biodiversity", the authors said.

According to environmental experts, although remediation of polluted sites "may be both onerous and expensive depending on the technology and rehabilitation strategy", it is necessary for restoring ecosystems.

There is no way to realise large-scale remediation projects without collaborating with big businesses and research institutions and providing enormous financial, administrative, and technical support.

Russian oil company Rosneft presents a positive example of how corporate actors can contribute to tackling soil pollution. Over 10 years (2013-2022), the company has already remediated over 2,500 hectares of "historical heritage" lands (damaged during the Soviet period), and future plans are even more ambitious.

By 2035, Rosneft is planning to recultivate all the "historical heritage" lands in the regions of its presence. The company's representatives stated this at the round table "Clean Land: Soils as the Basis of Ecosystems in Russia", organised by the all-Russian environmental online platform "Clean Future".

The company continues to improve its approaches to environmental management as part of its 2030 strategy, expanding its environmental activities and securing the necessary investments.

One of the country's leading advocates of sustainable development and the "green" agenda, Rosneft is committed to reducing its environmental impact and achieving an overall positive impact on ecosystems as part of its commitment to becoming an environmentally friendly business.

To restore soil biodiversity and productivity in Russia's northern regions, Rosneft's environmentalists have developed and implemented a range of innovative methods and technologies.

One of the most remarkable technologies is winter soil recultivation, which is used in waterlogged soils. Swampy areas require special equipment like amphibious excavators, multifunctional snow and swamp vehicles, small manoeuvrable transporters etc.

On the recent World Earth Day, celebrated each year on April 22, Rosneft announced further ambitious plans for soil rehabilitation, making it one of the pivotal aspects of its sustainability efforts.

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