A new UN report concludes: “Soil contaminants can have irreparable consequences on human and ecosystem health.”
Pollutants include metals, cyanides, DDT and other pesticides, and long-lasting organic chemicals such as PCBs, the report said, making food and water unsafe, cutting the productivity of fields and harming wildlife. The biggest problem is industrial pollution in western Europe and North America, farming in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, and mining in sub-Saharan Africa. In North Africa and the near east, urban pollution is the biggest single source of contamination.
Inger Andersen, head of the UN environment programme (Unep), said, “It is time to reconnect with our soils, as it is where our food begins. Soil pollution should no longer be a hidden reality. Let us all be part of the solution to soil pollution.”
“Global soils are under great pressure,” said Qu Dongyu, head of the UN food and agriculture organisation. “This thin crust of the Earth’s surface, the soil, supports all terrestrial life and is involved in many key ecosystem services that are essential to the environment and to human health and wellbeing.”
As if this is a recent revelation!
“The present poisoning of the air, water and land can only be put an end to by the fusion of town and country…Only a society which makes possible the harmonious co-operation of its productive forces on the basis of one single vast plan can allow industry to settle in whatever form of distribution over the whole country is best adapted to its own development and the maintenance of development of the other elements of production.”