On World Soil Day, the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) recognises the significance of soils to human welfare and supports action to protect this valuable resource.

World Soil Day is an annual celebration on the 5th of December which aims to highlight the importance of soil to societies across the world, and the need to use it sustainably. Soil is a fundamental natural resource, the cornerstone of life. From food production to nutrient cycling and carbon storage, soils provide an extensive range of valuable functions that support human life and welfare. We grow, build, and play on our soils, which form the multi-functional and diverse platform of our lives.

Under threat of erosion, loss of organic matter, and contamination from human activities, continued action is needed to protect soil. Once degraded, soil can take decades to recover, making it an essentially non-renewable resource. Globally, failure to manage soil in a sustainable way affects the ability of millions of people to feed themselves. As the world’s population continues to grow, the need to manage soil sustainably will intensify.

Soils in the UK continue to be degraded by intensive agriculture, industrial pollution and urban development. Future climate change has the potential to exacerbate these impacts, resulting in further degradation.

CIWEM Executive Director, Nick Reeves OBE, says: “World Soil Day is an opportunity to highlight all that soils contribute to our society, and an occasion to reinforce the need for continued protection and enhancement of our most valuable resource. A comprehensive European Framework Directive is needed to sustain our soils and meet future challenges”.

CIWEM welcomes the global celebration of World Soil Day, supports soil education at all levels, and encourages all public bodies to pay greater attention to soils in their work.

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) is an independent professional body and a registered charity, advancing the science and practice of water and environmental management for a clean, green and sustainable world

CIWEM’s policy position statement on soils, ‘Protecting and Enhancing Soils,’ can be found at:

World Soil Day was launched in 2002 by the International Union of Soil Sciences. Further information about World Soil Day can be found at:

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