PESHAWAR: The World Soil Day was observed across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Thursday.
The United Nations (UN)-designated World Soil Day is celebrated every year on December 5. This year the theme is “Stop Soil Erosion, Save Our Future.” In the provincial capital, the Environment Society (EnvSoc) of the University of Peshawar (UoP) organised a seminar to mark the day.
More than 300 participants mainly students of various departments were present on the occasion. At the start of the seminar, Dr Asif Khan Khattak, organiser of the UoP EnvSoc, welcomed all the speakers and participants. In his introduction to the World Soil Day, he said, “Climate change is a major cause of soil erosion.”
He also highlighted the importance of sustainable soil management as a big step to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG2 ‘Zero Hunger’. Dr Asif Khan Khattak thanked all the participants for their active involvement and great enthusiasm shown. Speaking on the occasion, Prof Dr M. Nafees from UoP said soil contamination with chemicals is a major problem which needs to be tackled. “Greater concentrations of copper from fungicides are severely contaminating the soils in the peach orchards and the wheat crops that are grown there,” he added. Dr Ishaq Ahmad of the University of Agriculture explained the different ways in which soil erosion has been prevented in various districts of KP. He said, “We have constructed mini-dams, water storage reservoirs and spill-ways to conserve soil in many parts of KP.”
Abid Sarwar from the Soil Survey of KP showed various regions of KP that have been severely affected by soil erosion. He said that long-term planning was essential for land use to avoid soil erosion. Research students of the Department of Environmental Sciences, UoP, Ziaullah and Tasneem Sarwar presented the findings of their respective research projects on soil contamination and plant-soil interactions, respectively.
In Mardan, the Department of Environmental Sciences at Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan (AWKUM) organised a panel discussion on “The Climate Change and its Impact on Different Sectors.”
Participants from the academia, media and civil society attended the event, organised under National Campaign of Islamic Relief Pakistan. It attempts to address the challenges of climate change, in partnership with the governments, academia and media. Dr Dilawar Farhan, Chairman, Environmental Sciences Department, appreciated the effort of the IRP for providing an opportunity to students to learn about the climate change and its impacts and assured collective efforts for need-based research by students in line with the government priorities. “There is a need for coordinated mechanisms with integrated researches driven by academia to reduce the climate impacts in sectors of vital importance for human survival and ensure consistency in policy and plans,” said Sarmad Iqbal, advocacy and campaign specialist, Islamic Relief Pakistan. The session concluded with a commitment to equip students with the knowledge and skills, linking them with government departments for a collective and innovative response to the climatic changes taking place in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.