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Thursday, 16 February 2012

Sustainable response to soil degradation

The European Commission has recently presented 2 reports on the policy and scientific aspects of European soil. According to the main findings, soil degradation is a worrying phenomenon in the EU: Between 1990 and 2006, at least 275 hectares of soil per day were permanently lost through soil sealing – the covering of fertile land by impermeable material – amounting to 1,000 km² per year, or an area the size of Cyprus every ten years. As soil degradation affects human capacity to produce food, prevent droughts and flooding, stop biodiversity loss, and tackle climate change, Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik stresses the EU has to use the resources from its soils more sustainably.
Furthermore, Potočnik adds: "These reports highlight the importance of preserving European soils if we are to safeguard supplies of quality food and clean groundwater, healthy recreational spaces, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. The best way to do this would be through a common approach across the EU. The Commission has put legislative proposals on the table, and I hope our new reports will help Council and Parliament move towards action. "
According to the Commission, five years after the adoption of a Soil Thematic Strategy, there is still no systematic monitoring and protection of soil quality across Europe. This means that existing actions are not sufficient to ensure an adequate level of protection for all soil in Europe.

Source: European Commission