EFG contributed to FAO report on soil pollution


On 4 June 2021, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations released its “Global assessment of soil pollution” which addresses the extent and future trends of soil pollution and describes the risks and impacts of soil pollution on health, the environment and food security.

Over the last three years, EFG has actively supported the preparation of this state-of-the-art report through the involvement of its External Relations Officer, Dr Pavlos Tyrologou, a member of the EFG board and the Panel of Experts on Soil Protection.

“Over the recent decades, the Earth’s population has been steadily rising, creating pressures both in the food supply (expected increase 70-100% by 2050). Degraded land covers ~24 % of the global land area, with financial and ecological costs for their restoration being transferred to future generations. The legacy of intensive industrial activity (including agricultural) has inevitably created a vast amount of depleted and derelict land areas. 

Soil contamination has a direct impact on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially on poverty elimination (SDG 1), zero hunger (SDG 2), good health and well-being (SDG 3) as well as the supply of safe drinking water which the leaching of contaminants can degrade its quality into groundwater and runoff (SDG 6).”  (Pavlos Tyrologou, EFG External Relations Officer and member of the Panel of Experts on Soil Protection)

The process to develop the report involved in-depth regional assessments of soil pollution, and the regional chapters provide an overview of soil pollution issues at a global scale. The Editorial Board comprised more than 30 international experts. In this context, EFG co-authored chapter 13 of the report and participated in the external reviewers’ team.

How can geologists help to prevent, monitor and tackle soil pollution?

“Geologists with their diverse background in geochemistry, hydrogeology, engineering geology, including mineralogy, among others, can provide their support to better understand earth processes and how these can be affected by anthropogenic activities and have an impact on the soil quality.

Geologists working with other soil-related disciplines can be part of the solution for securing the natural soil asset for the current and future generation making sure the equal access from everyone and making sure that no one is left behind. 

We were honoured to be part of the process, and we are looking forward to providing our support to similar activities to our society’s benefit.”

Pavlos Tyrologou

EFG External Relations Officer and member of the Panel of Experts on Soil Protection

The report can be accessed at http://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/cb4894en.

Further resources are available here