“FAO” warns of soil pollution

Amman, Soil pollution poses a worrisome threat to agricultural productivity, food safety, and human health, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said in a report Monday.

At the start of a global symposium which has been taking place 2-4 May, 2018 at the FAO headquarters, it indicated that Industrialization, war, mining and the intensification of agriculture have all left a legacy of soil contamination across the planet, while the growth of cities has seen soil used as a sink for ever greater amounts of municipal waste.

But even though agricultural intensification, industrial output, and urbanization continue at a rapid pace, no systematic assessment of the status of soil pollution at global level has ever been undertaken, the FAO’s new report notes.

Soil pollution often cannot be visually perceived or directly assessed, making it a hidden danger with serious consequences.

Of course soil contaminated with dangerous elements (for example, arsenic, lead, and cadmium), organic chemicals like PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) or pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics or endocrine disruptors pose serious risks to human health.

Industrial activities including mining, smelting and manufacturing; domestic, livestock and municipal wastes; pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers used in agriculture; petroleum-derived products that are released into or break-down in the environment; fumes generated by transportation all contribute to the problem.

Almost no science on the fate of plastics in soils exists, observes hidden reality, while most e-waste continues to be disposed of in landfills rather than recycled, the report concluded.

Source: Jordan News Agency