World Soil Day (#WorldSoilDay) was celebrated simultaneously around the world on 5 December as an initiative to raise awareness and importance of soil to people, especially in the agricultural industry.
This celebration was originally proposed by the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) around 2002. However, under the leadership of the Thai government and through the framework group, the Global Soil Partnership (GSP), which is covered by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), has recommended that the WSD celebration be officially expanded globally.
In June 2013, the FAO Conference later agreed to the proposal and proposed to the United Nations in the 68th General Assembly for a formal declaration. Finally, in December 2013, the UN General Assembly announced the WSD celebration every 5 December starting in 2014, as the first year of celebration.
The selection of December 5 is in conjunction with the birthday of H.M. Raja Bhumibol Adulyadej, the King of Thailand who contributed a lot to the celebration of World Soil Day.
Last year, the World Soil Day celebrations carried the theme “Soils: Where Food Begins” or in Malay “Tanah: Di Mana Makanan Bermula”. The selection of this theme is in line with the importance of the soil in the production of continuous food to humans.
Soil consists of components of organisms, minerals, and organic components that provide food to humans and animals through agricultural activities
The use of fertilizer is one of the ways to ensure that the level of nutrients in the soil is sufficient. However, excessive consumption will have a long-term impact on soil health. The situation worsens when soil degradation occurs and interferes with agricultural activities.
Therefore, FAO has proposed the theme of World Soil Day celebrations last year to raise awareness on the importance of preserving healthy ecosystems and human well-being by emphasizing on various challenges in managing soil and so on.
World Soil Day last year was celebrated for the first time at Universiti Putra Malaysia Bintulu Sarawak Campus (UPMKB) through an initiative organized by the Department of Crop Science (JST), Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Forestry together with the Malaysian Soil Science Association (MSSS) from 5 to 6 December 2022.
The celebration was held at the Dewan Sidang under the leadership of the program director and also Vice President (Sarawak) for MSSS Dr Wan Asrina Wan Yahaya. During the celebration, 40 group entries were received for the 3-minute short video competition, posters, and plant models/specimens involving two categories, namely JST student category and non-JST student category.
Each competition is judged by a judge consisting of academic officers based on the criteria set by the members of the celebration committee.
Awareness of the importance of enhancing healthy ecosystems and universal human well-being can be achieved especially involving proper and sustainable soil management to ensure the health of the soil.
Through a short video, the participants inculcated the importance of soil in daily life through the aspects of food production and sustainable management to ensure better survival and ecosystem.
The differences in ideas were also highlighted creatively, especially with the issue of soil degradation reported by 33 percent at the global level and increasing over time..
This increase in soil degradation affects the fertility status of the soil that is closely related to poor soil management, soil carbon loss, etc.
The poster participation also had a high impact on awareness of the importance of the soil as participants translated learning outcomes in the lecture room by applying the elements of Student-Centered Learning (SCL).
Through the SCL approach, participants highlighted learning through understanding and discussion within the group. This also includes self-learning through reading and active involvement in synthesizing information from scientific sources.
For example, poster participation emphasizes the diversity of key universal issues that FAO also emphasizes. Among the issues highlighted is the loss of soil fertility of 24 billion tons annually due to soil erosion and impacting the decline in crop yields.
The participants also provided various alternatives to mitigate the effect. Sustainable soil management includes the provision of balanced fertilizers and proper management in ensuring the safety of the soil.
The delivery of model/plant-soil specimens gives a balanced and disproportionate picture of fertilizer use through physiological differences in crop growth. In addition, the use of growth regulators (PGRs) to modify plant growth was also contested.
The need for soil acidity management (soil pH) to ensure optimal plant nutrient intake is also highlighted which is also one of the foundations of sustainable soil management awareness.
Last year's World Soil Day celebration program provided a clear picture of the continued awareness of the participants who are very aware of the universal soil issue. Through this celebration, the participants were able to be the catalyst for sustainable soil management in the future.
(This article is prepared by PhD student Izzah Abd Hamid and Senior Lecturer, Department of Crop Science, Universiti Putra Malaysia Bintulu Sarawak Campus Dr Wan Asrina Wan Yahaya. Any questions can be asked by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.)
Date of Input: 11/01/2023 | Updated: 12/01/2023 | lanz
97008 Bintulu, Sarawak,