Soils conservation requires attitude change

Luanda – More than just celebrating the World Soils Conservation Day, 15 April, humanity should stop and reflect on what it is doing to the Planet Earth, namely its destruction.

By A�ngela Correia

Ecosystems, almost all, are faced with imbalances brought about by man’s actions. The soils, one of the links of this interconnection, are those that are most attacked.

This is noted in the inadequate deposition of plastic or high acid waste, rude depopulation of forests and other plant ecosystems, sometimes by unconscious action, but often with knowledge inhibited by the prospect of profit.

Factories and cleaning and waste treatment operators deposit their garbage without taking into account their characteristics; Lumberjacks or peasants who, in the interest of having a good harvests, make harmful fires or use fertilizers and other chemical agents in excess.

All this makes the soils acid and sterile, which in turn, in periods of rain, release all harmful matter that is dragged into the rivers and seas, contaminating them. In the end, life in these sites dies or gets modified, resulting in deformed living things.

This is a reality that exists around us. There are regions, of course, with more serious situations than others. However, this problem can be reversed as long as people are aware of the consequences of their actions. Education seems to be the key …

However, in order for a really positive attitude towards the soils, it is necessary to understand it, as the agronomist Manuel Gomes says, which divides two types of understanding of the soils: those of typically urban people, to whom the word ” Earth” reminds of dirt, unclean sidewalks, dusty car etc.

The other is that of ecologically based agriculture that considers soil a living being full of vitality and complexities, to be observed and studied in the physical aspects (drainage, water holding capacity, texture, porosity); Chemical (amount of organic matter, nutrients, harmful substances, humus) and biological (micro and macro-organisms that inhabit it, like fungi, bacteria, earthworms, insects, ants and others). All are important for natural processes to occur.

“The hydrological cycle, for example, depends on the type of soil and its conservation so that rainwater can infiltrate and feed the underground reserves which in turn guarantee the springs and rivers.

The basis for animal life is plant production, which is born and grows from the interaction of sun, plants and soil “- adds the specialist.

According to the subject, the administrator of the Southern Africa Centre for Science and Services for Adapting Climate Change and Sustainable Land Management, Gabriel Luis Miguel, says that in Angola, bodies responsible for conservation, through legal instruments , have helped the population in changing consciousness about this resource that can degrade when it does not receive the necessary care.

“Mainly those that constitute state, ecological or agricultural reserves must be maintained in order to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and, thus, improve food production and water quality,” he argues.

To the administrator, the main issue is the phenomenon of the exodus and urban sprawl, which has led to land misuse, particularly when land is converted into housing or agricultural areas.

After all, we think: soil is a thing of the bush, of the cultivation of farms. However, cities contribute greatly to land degradation through occupation of fertile land, erosion, contamination by chemicals, waterproofing caused by roads, buildings, driveways and parking lots.

Vladimir Russo, an environmentalist, also suggested on the subject, showing that the main environmental issues (mobilise the various sectors of society) have the soil in common.

Their conservation or degradation has direct effects on climate, water supply, food production, disease spread, and other essential aspects.

According to the environmentalist, the effects of conservation practices go beyond the benefits to agriculture, since soil is an element that influences biodiversity and water retention.

The techniques for their preservation vary according to the specificities in each region and can be quite different across the country.

In her turn, engineer Barbara Casamayor emphasises that of the practices that contribute most to the preservation of the soil, common to all the riverside regions, is the protection of springs.

The technique consists in the closure of the sources for the preservation or recovery of the surrounding vegetation, often associated with the reforestation of the so-called recharge areas, that is, the space near the source where rainwater infiltrates the groundwater that supplies the water source.

This technique prevents erosion in the spring area, avoiding its extinction, in addition to strengthening the groundwater reserves, which also contributes to soil fertility.

In view of what has been exposed, it is necessary to keep in mind that the analysis and discussion of matters related to the soil should not only happen at the time of the celebration of the World Soils Conservation Day, 14 April.

In fact, the role of the soil in environmental balance is discussed on 15 April, during the celebrations of the National Soil Conservation Day, instituted in 1989 to hnour American researcher Hugh Bennett, one of the pioneers on the theme “The central role of the soil in the sustainability of the ecosystem”.

This alone is not enough. There is need for humanity to always be aware of the impact of contaminated or degraded soils on living organisms and the need to adopt good practices for their conservation, such as proper selection and treatment of waste; quitting of forest , savannahs and other vegetation fire making; rational use of fertilizers and other chemicals in agriculture and planting of trees to reduce erosion, especially in areas where torrential rains occur, slopes and river areas. Bamboo and eucalyptus are ideal.

Industrials and large builders should be made to remember that more than profit, the balance of ecosystems should prevail. It is high time the urban sprawl, though its benefit for the majority, respected the balance and preservation of soils.

Source: Angola Press News Agency