This week we recognised ‘World Soil Day’. Soils – Where Food Begins aims to focus attention on the importance of healthy soil and to advocate for the sustainable management of soil resources. What does this mean? In short, soils are the foundation of life on Earth. Healthy soils are key to sustaining our food supplies, keeping our environment healthy, and providing clean water for humans and animals alike. With all that in mind, let’s take a look at how soils affect your health—and vice versa!
Soil is the living skin of the earth, a natural resource that is essential for life. Soil is made of minerals (less
than 1%), air (about 20%), water (about 65%) and life – mainly bacteria, fungi, algae and earthworms.
These living organisms give soil its unique properties that make it a fertile medium for plants to grow in.
Soil covers around one third1/3 of our planet’s surface and contains almost 60% organic matter including
decaying plant material such as leaves, twigs and roots.
Soil is a major component of the earth’s ecosystem, and its role as a foundational medium for terrestrial
life cannot be overstated. It provides food, water, shelter, and medicine for humans and other animals
Sustainable land management practices are important to ensure the long-term health of soil, which is
essential for food production, climate stability and environmental conservation. Sustainable land management means taking care of the soil so that it can support future generations. This includes protecting biodiversity through sustainable farming methods such as crop rotation (growing different types of plants in one area at different times), planting trees as barriers against windstorms, dust or floods; reducing erosion caused by overgrazing (too much livestock grazing) or deforestation; using fertilisers responsibly so they don’t pollute nearby lakes or rivers—or even worse: groundwater sources below our feet.
Helia EHS provides a range of specialist services for soil testing and remediation for both organisations and companies across Australia – from public to private! Soil remediation involves cleaning or treating the polluted soil to reduce or remove harmful contaminants and we can achieve this with our business partners.
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) contains the waste duties that apply to all types of waste
including waste soil. You must classify all industrial waste, including soil, to meet your waste duties. This
includes classifying waste soil before transportation. Classifying waste soil helps you determine the
waste code and type before transportation. To meet your industrial waste duties, you must classify soil to find a lawful place to dispose of it. To meet your waste duties, you must classify priority waste soil in accordance with relevant compliance obligations. You need to determine the waste category that’s relevant to your local jurisdiction (i.e., state or territory) if soil is going to landfill.
For example, the (priority) waste categories in Victoria for soil are Category A, B, C , D and soil containing asbestos only. In this instance, the (priority) waste category tells you which landfill the soil can go to, and which waste levy applies.
Soil is a major carbon store, holding over three times as much carbon as the atmosphere. As such, it has
an important role in regulating climate change by absorbing and storing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the
atmosphere. However, this function can be upset by land-use changes such as deforestation or overgrazing. Soil also acts as a source of CO2 due to respiration by plants and soil organisms (including microbes), which produce CO2 during photosynthesis and decay processes respectively. Helia EHS appreciates, respects and encourages carbon farming as it reduces Greenhouse Gas emissions and captures and holds carbon in vegetation and soils.
Soil is the foundation of life. It provides us with food, fibre and fuel. Soil also provides us with clean water
and air, as well as helping to regulate climate. However, But we’re losing an alarming amount of soil every
year to erosion, pollution and other forms of degradation. Helia EHS commends those that continue to
maintainour soils that enable our food to grow and support our ecosystem!
So join us in recognising World Soil Day by taking action to protect our planet’s most precious resource: healthy soils!
Since we depend on healthy soils to produce food, clean water, and healthy ecosystems, we should do all
that we can to protect them. It’s up to us today—and every day—to be good stewards of this precious
To find out more about Helia EHS and our range of specialist services in relation to Soil Testing, and
Remediation and Contaminated Land Management, please get in touch with us today.