2015 – The International Year of Soils

The 68th United Nations’ General Assembly has declared the 5th of December as the official World Soil Day and 2015 as the International Year of Soils.

The main objective of this initiative is to promote the fundamental role that soils play in food security, in the adaptation and mitigation of climate change, for essential ecosystem services, in poverty reduction and sustainable development; mainly drawing attention to the profound importance of soils in human life and to promote and support initiatives aimed at a sustainable soil management.

Soils are currently in danger due to the expansion of cities, deforestation, the practice of unsustainable land use and management, pollution, overgrazing and climate change. The current rate of land degradation threatens the ability to meet the needs of future generations. The promotion of sustainable land and soil management is essential to ensure the productivity of the food system, to improve rural lifestyles and to ensure a healthy environment.

In several projects and assessments performed by Nemus over the years, soils were often important study subjects in regard to their environmental quality, physical characteristics, erosion risks, contamination, use and management. The proper soil use and protection is, and has always been a major concern for Nemus when performing any kind of work. Among the projects with a strong soil intervention component, we highlight some examples such as the EIA of the Primary Network Irrigation Subsystem of Ardila and the EPIA of Alqueva’s Subsystems, which included assessments of soil use transformation impacts and recommended sustainable management and use measures.

More recently, for the Environmental Studies for the implementation of the Salvador-Itaparica bridge, over Todos os Santos Bay in Brazil, several collections of soils were made in order to study their environmental quality and to determine the potential groundwater contamination. Also of note is Nemus’ contribution in the assessment of soil contamination and the respective mitigation and management measures, proposed under the Public Tender for the Design / Construction Contract of the IC 17 CRIL – subsection Buraca – Pontinha, in Lisbon, Portugal. In the latter case, Nemus proceeded to assess the degree of soil contamination on a number of sites identified as being potentially contaminated (including an old gas station, a construction site and a slum area) and proposed an appropriate final destination for the contaminated soils.

 

For more information on the International Year of Soils, please visit the official website here.

Official events calender: http://www.fao.org/soils-2015/events/en/

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