Soil pollution should be given priority attention – Nigerian ecologist

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Mr Abdullahi Aremu, Director-General, Advocacy for Environmental and Sanitation Integrity, an NGO, has urged stakeholders in agriculture to address soil pollution in order to support efforts to grow crops and plants in the country.

The ecologist said soil polluted by acid rain had an impact on plants by disrupting the soil chemistry and reducing the plant’s ability to take up nutrients and undergo photosynthesis.

He said that soil pollution also caused the loss of soil and natural nutrients present in it, hindering plants’ ability to thrive in such soil.

This development, he said, would further result in soil erosion, disturbing the balance of flora and fauna residing in the soil.

“Human activity such as mining also releases acidic drainage which can have widespread effects. Whatever the cause, soil pollution has negative effects on plants and flora as well as the organisms that depend upon them,” he said.

According to Aremu, soil pollution can mobilise inorganic forms which are highly toxic to plants and can potentially percolate into ground water, thereby compounding its effects on plants.

Aremu said that soil pollution also increased the salinity of the soil (the saltiness or amount of salt dissolved in a body of water), this making it unfit for vegetation.

“If some crops manage to grow under these conditions, they will have enough poison to cause serious health problems in people consuming them.

“Therefore, government and relevant stakeholders should rise to address soil pollution that militate agriculture development,” he said.