People are putting the planet Earth into great difficulties, with their irresponsible way of living. During the 20th century, the world increased its consumption of fossil fuels 12 times and used 34 times more material resources. According to futurists, demand for food, animal feed and fiber can increase by 70% by 2050. If we continue to use resources at the current rate of utilization, we will need more than two planets to sustain us. Soil is becoming increasingly polluted, because of rapid population growth and accelerated economic development,and is increasingly being exploited both for food production and as a source of basic raw materials. At the same time, a large part of the waste matter that is generated in numerous human activities is deposited on the soil. All this affects the normal functioning of the soil and causes pollution and various forms of damage.

    Contamination of the soil may result in its degradation, destruction, or temporary or permanent complete exclusion of the soil from function. Pollutants found on the soil surface in the inner layers can be the product of natural and human activities on Earth. Natural sources of pollution include: ore deposits, mineralization, rocks of specific composition, forest fires, volcanoes, earthquakes, storms and sandstorms, erosion, storm rains, floods. Anthropogenic sources of pollution include: mining, industry, agriculture, urbanization and communal activities, traffic and transport, forest fires caused by humans, floods, erosion. When pollutants reach the soil in any of these ways, their further fate depends on a number of physical, chemical and biological factors whose impacts are intertwined. As a consequence of various causes of pollution, the following processes can be distinguished:

    • biological contamination (infection) means bringing into the soil various parasites, viruses, bacteria, fungi, etc., which reside in the soil and can directly or indirectly infect animals and humans through plants;
    • chemical contamination means bringing into the soil, various harmful organic and inorganic substances in various forms (solid, liquid, gaseous), such as: heavy metals, organic pollutants, radionuclides, pesticides, mineral fertilizers, etc. The highest contamination usually occurs in the areas of industrial zones and in close proximity to roads and waste dumps.
    • anthropogenic degradation represents damaging the soil when in regular use in a crop production. It arises as a result of irrational soil use, and is manifested through: damage to soil structure, compaction, reduction of physiological depth, occurrence of surface and furrow erosion, soilslides and reduction of soil fertility.

    It is estimated, that 275 hectares of farmland in the European Union are "destroyed" every day.[1] Most of the world's land is in satisfactory, poor or extremely poor condition. For example, in EU countries, the situation is as follows: in Italy, about 45 percent of the coast is paved, and for Spain the particular problem is soil drainage. On the other hand, there is significant soil erosion in Eastern European countries, so about 35 percent of Podzol's soil is excessively acidic, and 40 percent of Lithuanian soil has a high concentration of heavy metals. Approximately 45% of the land in Europe has very low organic matter content (0 - 2% organic carbon)[2] and 45% of the land has a medium level (2 - 6%). The problem is particularly highlighted in the countries of southern Europe, but also in parts of France, Britain, Germany and Sweden.

    In the first decade of the 21st century, the Ministry of Environment and Water of the Republic of Bulgaria implemented a program of monitoring of soil pollution that fully meets the requirements of the EC (European Commission) and EEA (European Environment Agency), with good practices in many European countries, as well as with national legislation. The monitoring program is organized in 3 levels:

    • Level I refers to the assessment of soil conditions according to the following indicators: content of 9 heavy metals and metalloids, total nitrogen, phosphorus, organic carbon, active soil reaction (pH), electrical conductivity, nitric nitrogen, total carbon and persistent organic pollutants;
    • Level II is oriented towards regional manifestations of degradation processes, such as acidification, salinization and erosion, soil compaction (Corine Soil Cover project);
    • Level III is aimed at identifying and inventorying (listing) local soil pollution.

    The periodic monitoring and listing is different depending on the monitored processes. Tests of soil samples are carried out in 15 regional EEA accredited laboratories (Executive Environmental Agency).

    In the project area, the impact of anthropogenic factor on soil pollution is particularly highlighted through irregular tillage, poor selection of agricultural crops and plantations, forcing crops that are cultivated on sloping terrain, deforestation and other factors that have led to erosive processes. Erosion destroys large areas of the most fertile land, decreases its productive capacity, and gradually degrades climatic conditions and threatens the environment.

    [1] lose 275 acres of farmland every day!?

    [2] www. Karolić, R.: Plowing land (I): Agricultural soil degradation in the European Union.

    The project is co-funded by EU through the Interreg-IPA CBC Bulgaria–Serbia Programme.

    This website was created with the assistance of the European Union through the Interreg-IPA CBC Bulgaria-Serbia Programme, CCI No 2014TC16I5CB007. The contents of this website  are the sole responsibility of Regional Developement Agency Eastern Serbia – RARIS and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union or the Managing Authority of the Programme.


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