Stop Treating Soil like Dirt!!!

Although it is the base below our feet often supporting us, many of us tend to forget about soil. It is what grows our crops, filters water, and provides a home for many organisms. It is also a crucial carbon sink that helps reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the air. As we continue to pollute our oceans and air, we must also pay close attention to the pollution of our soils as they are just as important. Soils are often polluted with trash and chemicals such as pesticides, mercury, nitrate, and many more. A recent study revealed that worms are unable to thrive in soil with microplastics in it. 95% of our food comes from the soil; therefore, it is crucial to be aware of how we are affecting it. There are five main ingredients that make up soil: silicate minerals, clay minerals, organic matter, air, and water. Yearly, we take out about 30% of organic matter from the soil, but we do not replenish the soil after we take it out for farming. The soil cannot keep up with our mass production. Earthworms play a crucial role in churning the soil and help pull material from the top and break down the carbon for the soil. They help us replenish the soil with the organic matter that we take from it from farming. If we continue to pollute our soils with microplastics, the earthworms will be unable to be sustained at the necessary level to help fertilize the soil.

This issue stuck out to me as I realize that with pollution I focus so much on air and water that I truly do not give soil the attention necessary to ensure that the environment is taken care of. Soil plays such a crucial role in sustaining humanity that is shocking what little attention we pay to how we are affecting our soil. Our mass production of foods is depleting the soil and our inability to properly dispose of trash like plastics is having a large toll on its overall health. In the video attached to the article they mentioned that there are 6 inches of soil standing between humanity and extinction. This is a stunning concept, yet they are correct. There needs to be more public education on soil chemistry and pollution if we want to avoid ruining the very thing sustaining us.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/12/worms-fail-to-thrive-in-soil-containing-microplastics-study

5 thoughts on “Stop Treating Soil like Dirt!!!

  1. Very insightful post — when we think about pollution we often think about air and water, but soil is usually overlooked despite the major impact it has on our lives.

  2. This was really interesting and I really did not know some of the key definitions between soil and dirt. In addition, I had never heard of the mircoplastics contaminating soil and thus creating an environment where the worms cannot survive. This really is an issue that should be an the forefront of our minds, because if we cannot grow foods/ use up all of the nutrients and do not replenish it, eventually we will have nothing left and the “extinction” really will happen.

  3. I didn’t know that 95% of our food is dependent on soil. I hope that there will be more media coverage on this topic, because it is something that is hard to see unless you work with soil a lot.

  4. I recently read a figure which stated that the proposed max capacity of Earth rests at 10 billion people and is estimated to be reached by 2050. With such an estimate in mind, I believe that it is increasingly important to focus on such issues as our soil and agriculture capabilities which will certainly be necessary to sustain such a large population. I especially appreciate that,in your report you laid out some possible methods to positively impact our soil via the halting of plastic pollutions and mindfulness of depleting fertility as a result of over farming.

  5. This is very true and should be more education in elementary schools about soil chemistry. Not very many people know how the chemicals can live in the environment for ages and still cause problems to the future crops as well as contribute to air pollution. How scary it is that we are destroying our environment?

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