The soil is a "treasure beneath our feet," essential to human lives and well-being, a senior United Nations official has highlighted, warning, however, that this invaluable resource is under constant threat from the little-understood phenomenon of soil pollution.
According to José Graziano da Silva, the Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, human activities are the primary source of this "invisible" pollution.
Thousands of chemicals used in every-day lives - and tonnes of urban, industrial and agricultural waste - end up in the soil, leaving it "bare and degraded," he said, in a message marking the World Soil Day.
In addition, with soil essential to providing food for 95 per cent of the world, soil pollution not only reduces the quantity and quality of crops and produce, but it also worsens poverty and compromises the future for generations to come, warned the head of FAO.
'Be a part of the solution'
Old computers and devices can be donated to charities or institutions where they will continue to be used, their components can also be recycled, says the UN agency.
Glinka World Soil Prize
As part of global commemorations, the Global Soil Partnership awarded the Glinka World Soil Prize to Professor Rattan Lal, the President of the International Union of Social Science recognizing his "outstanding contribution to sustainable soil management."
Professor Lal's scientific work contributed to soil organic carbon restoration and improvement of soil structure, as well as converting science and research into policy and decision-making, according to FAO.
The Glinka World Soil Prize is named after the pioneering Russian scientist Konstantin D. Glinka. It honours individuals and organizations for leadership in promoting sustainable soil management and the protection of soil resources.
In addition, this year's commemoration saw the inaugural presentation of the World Soil Day Award, which was presented to Practical Action Bangladesh for its work in raising awards on the topic and organizing the best World Soil Day celebrations last year.
Farmers harvest rice near Ta Pra Mok, Thailand. Globally almost 95 per cent of the food comes from the soil.