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COVID 19: Soil Scientists task authorities on management of environment

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the frailty and vulnerability of man to even the smallest enemy.
Soil scientists maintained this position in their recent publication the “Soil Science Beyond COVID 19”, featured in a Journal
of Soil And Water Conservation.
The article written by the Director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, Professor Rattan Lal, and reproduced by the Nigeria Institute of Soil Science (NISS), warned that action must be taken to protect the vulnerable population by ensuring that the food production and supply chains are operational and secure.
According to the article, “Ensuring adequate access to nutritious food is a daunting challenge even in developed/scientifically advanced
countries, and is a sheer tragedy in poor nations.
“The sudden collapse caused by COVID-19 indicates the fragility of humanity even to a microscopic foe. Cruel as it may seem, COVID-19 has accomplished what COP21 (the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties) and other initiatives could not.
“Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) have not risen during March and April of 2020 because of the closure of the industry and
travel restrictions. Even one month of lockdown has made the water of the Ganges River drinkable, air in cities like New Delhi and Beijing
purer, and skies bluer than seen in decades.”
The author argued that lessons that can be learned from flattening the COVID-19 curve by the lockdown is that humanity can actually make the earth a better habitable place for man and animals through adoption of restorative land use, sustainable management of soil and water, and
setting aside some land for nature.
“The COVID-19 pandemic may be a symptom of the increasing interaction between humans and the animal kingdom,” it said.
“Habitat has been altered by deforestation, in-field voluntary and intentional burning, excessive plowing and inundation by irrigation, indiscriminate use of chemicals, inappropriate use of natural resources, and of course, addiction to fossil fuel.”
It said that large scale conversion of natural ecosystems to managed landscapes, necessitated by the insatiable demands of a growing and increasingly affluent human population, has exacerbated interactions
between humans and other animals.
“Increase in intensity and frequency of pandemics since the onset of the twentieth century, of which COVID-19 is just one unfortunate event, indicates progressive increase in intensity and severity of such interactions, which are being aggravated by the anthropogenic climate change. It is important that humanity takes from nature only as much as is needed, and no more,” the article stated.
“With sustainable soil and agriculture management at the forefront of global issues, it is important to have a scientifically credible plan
that is understandable and relatable for policymakers. This is the time for the scientific institutions to reflect, rethink, and revisit
what needs to be done when the shutdown is lifted.”
Meanwhile, the Registrar, Nigeria Institutes of Soil Science, Prof. Victor Chude, making reference to the publication said protecting Nigeria farmers
against the adverse effects of the lockdown is essential to strengthening the resilience of the agricultural industry.
The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nation (FAO), has consistently warned since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic that every effort must be made to protect humanity, particularly, vulnerable population from extreme hunger.
Part of its warnings is that whatever action or inaction countries are taking to contain the pandemic must not hinder people’s access to
Source: Nigerian Tribune

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