Soil is one of the most valuable resources which is available to us among the natural resources. The top soil which is suitable for plant growth is getting eroded in a faster rate due to human activities like construction of building, homes,roads and city expansions. On the other hand the top soil layers, responsible for soil fertility, soil microbiology and useful soil organic matter are polluted and contaminated deliberately due to human activity and industrial pollution.
Unfortunately we humans of this generation have been habituated to avoid even soil contact by foot as far as possible making the younger generation unaware of soil, it’ s feel to touch and its properties.
What is the importance of soil:
Soil plays a vital role in the survival of living beings on the earth. Its importance can be listed as
1. Soil fertility: Fertile soil supports growth of plants. In-turn these plants produce vital needs to humans like food, clothing, furniture, medicine etc. Even other animals, insects receive food by grazing on plants.
2. Soil microbiology: It provides support for survival of many bacteria, algae, fungi etc.. These bacteria and microbes present in soil help in environmental balance like retaining of moisture, decay of dead bodies of animals, plants etc., scavenging of waste and other toxic chemicals including plastic.
3. Top soil provides shelter for insects, reptiles, birds and animals. Further top soil is necessary for even other activities like nesting, reproduction, hatching of eggs, breeding etc.
4. Soil organic matter contains essential minerals and elements like phosphates, sulphates, calcium, zinc, magnesium and many more. These elements are provided to plant during growth and from there to all the living forms. Hence they act as source of essential minerals and elements needed for various enzyme and cell reactions.
5. Soil a source of minerals: Minerals and mines present in soil is the source of many metals like iron, bauxite, zinc etc . Many metal elements are mixed up with soil and hence extracted from soil by technical processes.
6. Soil is used for making utensils, tiles etc. The utensils like cups, plates china clay, plaster of paris etc. Tiles used in home or building made of ceramic like soil components.
7. Soil contents like gravel, clay, sand, etc. are widely used for construction of homes, buildings, roads etc
8. Soil is source of mineral medicines.
Uses of soil:
1. Top soil is used for agricultural production of crops necessary for human and animal food and clothing needs.
2. Soil texture is suitable for cultivation of bacteria, fungus etc as a source of medicines like antibiotics.
3. Plants and forest-grown due to soil are the cause of rains which produces water for drinking and usage.
4. Soil is useful for germination of seeds to grow into plants.
5. Soil layers promotes decay of waste and pollutants. The decay of some organic matter converts to petroleum and other essential resources.
Tips for soil conservation:
Soil conservation is very essential to reap the above benefits. It has to be done in two ways
a) Soil erosion prevention
b) Soil pollution prevention.
The main soil erosion causes include the top soil being blown away by heavy winds and also carried away by rain water and floods. Hence Top soil erosion can be prevented by wide cultivation of plants as this acts as hindrance to winds and prevents soil erosion. Tilling of soil against the flow direction of rain water prevents soil erosion due to water into the sea.
Soil layers get polluted due to heavy human activity, and careless disposable of industrial pollution. This pollution also reduces soil fertility and quality. The soil depletion occurs even in-terms of bacteria and other soil animals and organisms due to heavy soil pollution. Hence minimization of human activity and proper treatment of industrial pollution before discarding is necessary to prevent soil pollution.