According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), improper water management, including insufficient supplies and inefficient drainage systems, is leading to excessive salt levels in soil. This issue affects global food security.
Excessive salt levels in the soil, known as soil salinisation, can hinder plant development and potentially be harmful to life. It can happen naturally, like in deserts where there is a scarcity of water and excessive evaporation, or as a result of human activity.
Unsustainable agricultural methods, overexploitation of natural resources and a growing global population, are increasing soil strain and creating worrisome rates of soil degradation throughout the world, according to the FAO.
More than 833 million hectares of soil have already been impacted by salt, accounting for nearly 9% of the world’s land surface area, or roughly four times the size of India.
All continents affected
Salt-affected soils may be found on all continents and in practically all climates, although more than two-thirds of them are found in arid and semi-arid regions.
Some of the regions most affected are in Central Asia, the Middle East, South America, North Africa and the Pacific.
The FAO has also emphasized the necessity of generating accurate soil data, despite the fact that many nations have difficulties in this area.
The Global Soil Laboratory Assessment Report, released by the organization, finds that 55% of the 142 nations surveyed lack appropriate soil analysis capabilities. The majority of them are in Africa and Asia.
The importance of good soils in climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as in building resilience, was highlighted at the COP26 summit last month, according to FAO.
The organization has urged all nations to strengthen their soil information and capacities as soon as possible, and to make firmer commitments to long-term soil management.