GEORGE TOWN: Soil erosion is a global problem that threatens food security and the functioning of ecosystems with the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) today calling for more awareness to be created, regarding the soil erosion in Malaysia.
In conjunction with the World Soil Day 2019 today, CAP President Mohideen Abdul Kader said Malaysia was already experiencing soil erosion, affecting the crop yield, food security and the environment.
According to him, there should be more awareness about soil erosion and promote education in rehabilitating degraded soil through traditional and organic agricultural practices.
“Today, the equivalent of one football pitch of soil is eroded in every five seconds, and the planet is on a path that could lead to the degradation of more than 90% of all the Earth’s soils by 2050,” he told reporters here, attributing the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).
He said that the contributing factors to soil erosion includes intensive use of agrochemicals, deforestation, as well as unsustainable land use and management practices.
“Rehabilitation of degraded soil should not be through pumping in chemical fertilisers because chemicals kill our soils and threaten our farms,“ he said.
He also urged farmers to avoid using agrochemicals which would destroy the soil ecosystem by killing microbes and earthworms, which were essential for crop growth.
“Recognising that soil is our life support system, CAP has been long campaigning to prevent soil erosion caused by mal-development and promotes good soil management practices through organic methods,” he said, adding that CAP organised monthly training sessions on growing vegetables and herbs.
Based on a study found by the University of Maryland, Malaysia had the world’s highest rate of forest loss between 2000 and 2012. Malaysia has lost 47,278km² of forest during that period, an area larger than Denmark.
The impacts of soil erosion and degradation not only affected the crop growth and yield, but it is also a contributing factor to landslides.
One of the major landslides that occurred in Penang was at Bukit Kukus, Paya Terubong, which claimed the lives of nine foreign workers on Oct 19 last year, whereas the most recent landslide in Penang was at a construction site at Jalan Tanjung Bungah, where four Myanmar workers were buried there on June 25 this year.
According to the US National Aeronautics Space Administration (Nasa), Malaysia recorded 171 landslides between 2007 and March 2016, ranking in tenth place for most frequent landslides worldwide. — Bernama