World Soil Day: How to tackle soil pollution with 1 action

Editor | Cassandra Lau

This week kicked off with World Soil Day which is celebrated annually on the 5th December at the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations headquarters in Rome. This year’s focus was on soil pollution, a “virtually invisible” impact of the changes people have made to our planet.

Soils are a “nearly forgotten resource,” says FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva.

At the UN World Soil Day Conference, it was made clear that:

“for without soil there would be no food, there would be no fibre for clothing, no wood, clay, bricks for our homes; without soil we would be hungry, homeless and naked.” (Soil Science of America, 1:05:40)


Be the Solution to Soil Pollution Campaign‘ aimed to raise awareness and call people to #StopSoilPollution. Looking at facts and figures compiled by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO):

  • Soil holds three times as much carbon as the atmosphere and can help us meet the challenges of a changing climate.
  • 815 million people are food insecure and 2 billion people are nutritionally insecure, but we can mitigate this through soil.
  • 95 percent of our food comes from soil.
  • 33 percent of our global soils are already degraded.
Soil Pollution
Compiled by Cassandra Lau./ Statistics from FAO; Images from (a) (b) causesoffoodinsecurityinafrica (c) Gettyimages (d) pollutedsoilsenegal

However, as mentioned in our ‘B-Aware’ articles, it problematic that something as ‘silent but deadly’ as soil pollution is only brought up for 24 hours in the hopes of touching humanity before being archived and forgotten till 365 days later.

People find it daunting when confronted with global issues due to its sheer scale and impact, but that’s the only tactic organisations have up their sleeves when only given one day to raise awareness. So, how can we possibly think of ‘being the solution‘ to global soil pollution amidst deadlines, student budgets, and so forth? We can by amalgamating one simple action into our busy routine.

How to actually accomplish FAO’s 7 targets with 1 simple action:

Recycle and dispose wastes responsibly

Based on the FAO’s video on the 7 ways we can be the solution to soil pollution, it is clear that  responsibly disposing of wastes (i.e. plastics, batteries, electronics, food waste, etc) is crucial to mitigating soil pollution and degradation.

Photo credits to Lithium News.

If you’re from Royal Holloway, bring along your batteries and empty printer inkjet to your next shop at Tescos or Sainsbury’s! The nearest recycling points for batteries are:

a) Tescos, 157 High Street, TW20 9HP
b) Halfords, 2 The Causeway, Staines-upon-thames, TW18 3AP
c) Sainsbury’s, The Causeway, Staines-upon-thames, TW18 3AP

Not in this area? Check out Recycle Now which shows you where to recycle what!

Screen Shot 2018-12-07 at 17.11.05
Screenshot of by Cassandra Lau

If you are not prepared to put in the necessary efforts to appropriately recycle your waste, then don’t produce waste – don’t buy more groceries than you can fit in your carrier; don’t purchase a new phone if you don’t know where to recycle the old; don’t cook more than you can eat, etc.

green trash bin on green grass field
Photo by on

Please find here the official recording of this year’s World Soil Day conference (General Assembly resolution 68/232) co-organised by the Permanent Missions of Qatar and Thailand, and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).



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