The Week in Soil

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.  That’s according to Soil Pollution: A Hidden Reality a new FAO report released today. 

The report was debated at the Global Symposium on Soil Pollution (GSOP18) where experts called for a new global accord to address the emerging health risks posed by soil contamination in 5 million locations globally. “To remediate all the contaminated sites is humanity’s next really great challenge,”

BBC series Taking the Temperature, which focuses on the battle against climate change and the people and ideas making a difference asks whether liquid nanoclay could be the answer to turning barren desert into fertile soil?

How should the £10m earmarked to protect soils each year be spent - on enforcement or supporting measures like expert advice to farmers?  It’s the latter according to the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust in their letter to the Guardian.

You shouldn’t use ‘earthworm numbers’ as an indicator of soil health without identifying the species – according to Jackie Stroud, soil scientist at Rothamsted Research.

A survey undertaken by crop research organisation NIAB on behalf  of ASDA of their fresh produce supply chain has demonstrated the positive actions growers are taking to be good stewards of soil health, and an awareness of the long-term challenges to improving the sustainability of our soils.

With less than a week to go before the end of the government consultation period for its draft farming strategy: Health and Harmony, the Soil Association has criticised the document for its lack of reference to human health, calling for agricultural payments to be linked to public health outcomes and for the Government to recognise public health as a public good.

In Japan, residents of Fukushima are outraged by plans by the country’s Environment Ministry to use the radiation-tainted material to rebuild a number of roads in the region that was devastated by a tsunami in 2011.