The Lagos State on Monday joined the global community in marking World Soil Day, urging residents to join hands in ensuring wise use of the soil and its resources towards ensuring sustainability for generations to come.
Speaking during a media interaction in commemoration of 2022 World Soil Day at the State Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello said that it is imperative for Lagosians to shun all acts that may be deleterious to the natural use and functions of the soil.
“The loss of soil nutrients is a major process of soil degradation which threatens nutrition and food security in the world,” he said.
He said the theme for this year’s celebration “SOILS: WHERE FOOD BEGINS”, which is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15 (Life on Land), could not have come at a better time than now owing to the many daily occurrences and challenges of soil degradation globally.
He added that the various soil challenges threaten the integrity of the soil, its ability to sustain plant growth and food production through supply of essential nutrients for man’s survival.
“According to the United Nations, in the last 70 years, the level of vitamins and nutrients in food has drastically decreased, and it is estimated that 2 billion people worldwide suffer from lack of micronutrients particularly iron, zinc, iodine, and vitamin A known as hidden hunger,” he explained.
He stated further that the effects of soil degradation are not simplistic and can have widespread effects on not just food production but also environmental pollution arising from excessive use of fertilizers.
Bello added that some of the biggest threats facing soil health today include petroleum products contamination, unsustainable sand mining practices, pollution from industrial activities, excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides used by farmers which overloads the soil with harmful chemicals.
According to the Commissioner, “it is in this light that the State Government is joining the rest of the world in celebrating the Year 2022 World Soil Day by raising awareness through different multimedia platforms on the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being.”
He said the State Government also uses the annual celebration to address the many challenges in soil management while encouraging the society to improve soil health across the state.