Daily News Analysis

SOIL DEGRADATION

18th June, 2022 Environment

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Context:

  • Spiritual guru Sadhguru, weighed in on the need to focus on soil enrichment as the number one environmental issue. As part of a 100-day save soil campaign, Sadhguru plans to travel 30,000km from Europe to Central Asia.
  • On the occasion of World Environment Day, Prime Minister attended a programme on ‘Save Soil Movement’.

 

PM’s address highlights:

  • He said the government has focused on five main things to save the soil.
  1. How to make the soil chemical-free.
  2. How to save the creatures that live in the soil, which in the technical language are called soil organic matter.
  3. How to maintain soil moisture, how to increase the availability of water till it.
  4. How to remove the damage that is happening to the soil due to less groundwater.
  5. How to stop the continuous erosion of soil due to the reduction of forest cover.
  • The PM laid emphasis on the importance of "Soil Health Cards" in changing the mindset of the farmers.
  • The Save Soil Movement was started by Sadhguru in March 2022, who embarked on a 100-day motorcycle journey passing through 27 countries. June 5 marks the 75th day of the 100-day journey.
  • World Environment Day is celebrated annually on June 5. It offers a global platform for inspiring positive change in the environment. It also pushes individuals to think about what they consume from the ecosystem and gives them a chance to build a greener future.

‘Save Soil Movement’ is a global movement to increase awareness about deteriorating soil health and bring about a conscious response to improve it.

 

Soils in India:

India has varied relief features, landforms, climatic realms and vegetation types. These have contributed in the development of various types of soils. Indian soils are largely deficient in nitrogen, mineral salts, humus and other organic materials. On the basis of genesis, colour, composition and location, the soils of India have been classified into:

  • Alluvial soils
  • Black soils
  • Red soils
  • Lateritic soils
  • Forest and Mountain soils
  • Arid and Desert soils
  • Saline and Alkaline soils
  • Peaty and Marshy soils

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Alluvial Soil

Coverage: 15 lakh sq km (46 per cent of the total area).

Parent Material: Himalayan Rocks (Hence, Transported Soil- Brought by rivers)

Type: Immature and azonal Soil (Since, of Recent Origin)

Nature: 

  • Loamy (equal proportion of sand and clay)
  • Highly porous
  • Good Drainage
  • Very Fertile (Comprise of Khadar and Bhangar alluvium)

Chemical Composition:

  • Poor in Nitrogen
  • Poor in Phosphorus
  • Poor in Humus
  • Rich in Lime
  • Rich in Potash
  • Adequate Phosphoric acid, alkali

Distribution: Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal

Crops: Rice, Wheat, Sugarcane, Cotton, Oilseeds and Jute

 

Black Soil (Regur)

Coverage: 5.46 lakh sq km (16.6 % of total geographical area)

Origin: Weathering of volcanic rocks

Parent Material: Gneisses and schists; weathering of Basaltic rock formed due to solidification of lava.

Type: Mature and zonal Soil

Nature:

  • Clayey (62% of composition)
  • High water retention capacity
  • Extraordinary fertility
  • Black in colour due to Titaniferous Magnetite

Composition

  • Poor in Nitrogen
  • Poor in Humus
  • Poor in Phosphate
  • Rich in potash
  • Rich in lime
  • Rich in aluminium, calcium
  • Rich in iron, magnesium

Distribution: Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu

CropsCotton, Sugarcane, oilseeds and Tobacco,  jowar, linseed, virginia tobacco, castor, sunflower and millets. Rice and sugarcane are equally important.

 

Red Soil

Coverage: 3.5 lakhs sq km (10.6% of the total geographical area of India).

Parent Rock: Decomposition of granite, gneiss and metamorphic rocks. Formed in Low rainfall areas.

Nature:

  • Mostly Loamy
  • Gravelly, and porous in Uplands
  • Rich and fertile in lowlands
  • Cannot retain water
  • Red colour due to the presence of iron oxide
  • Acidic in nature
  • Productive when fertilizers added

 Composition:

  • Poor in Nitrogen
  • Poor in Humu
  • Poor in Lime
  • Poor in Phosphorous
  • Poor in calcium
  • Rich in Iron
  • Rich in Potash
  • Rich in Potassium

Distribution: Whole of Tamil Nadu, parts of Kerala, and Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Chota Nagpur plateau; parts of south Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh; Aravalis and the eastern half of Rajasthan (Mewar or Marwar Plateau), parts of North-Eastern states.

Crops: Bajra, maize, pulses, potatoes, fruits, cotton, wheat, rice, millets, tobacco, oil seeds.

 

Laterite Soil

Coverage: 2.48 lakh sq km

Parent Rock: Leaching of laterite rocks. Conditions - High temperature and heavy rainfall with alternate wet and dry periods.

Nature:

  • little clay and more gravel of red sand-stone
  • Lacks fertility(Since intensive leaching)
  • Agriculturally less important
  • Hardens like iron when exposed to air
  • Durable and valuable building material – Bricks made for construction

Composition

  • Poor in Lime
  • Poor in Potash
  • Poor in Magnesia
  • Poor in phosphorous
  • Poor in calcium
  • Poor in Nitrogen
  • Rich in Iron and ferric oxides
  • Rich in Aluminum Oxides
  • Rich in Iron Phosphate

Distribution: Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Odisha, summits of Western Ghats, Eastern Ghats, the Rajmahal Hills, Vindhyan, Satpuras and Malwa Plateau.

Crops: Plantation Crops - Cashew, Tapioca, Coffee and Rubber, cinchona, coconut, arecanut, etc.

 

Forest – Mountain Soils

Coverage: 2.85 lakh sq km or 8.67% of the total land area of India.

Genesis: Deposition of organic matter derived from forests

Nature:

 

Acidic

  • Heterogeneous, character changes with parent rocks and climate.
  • Require good deal of fertilizers.

Composition

  • Poor in potash
  • Poor in phosphorus
  • Poor in lime
  • Rich in Humus

Distribution: Himalayan region. Western and Eastern Ghats

Crops: Wheat, maize, barley, Temperate fruits, spices, tea, coffee

 

Arid and Desert Soil

Coverage: 1.42 lakh sq km (4.32%).

Nature:

  • Poor in organic matter
  • Aeolian sand (90 to 95 per cent) and clay (5 to 10 per cent)
  • Alkaline

Composition:

  • Poor in Nitrogen
  • High in Calcium
  • Rich in Calcium Carbonate
  • Rich in Phosphate
  • High in Nitrates

Distribution: Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana

Crops: Drought resistant barley, cotton, millets, maize and pulses are grown. 

 

Saline Soil (Usara Soil)

Formation: Accumulation of soluble salt

Nature:

  • Unproductive soil
  • poor drainage
  • In Punjab and Haryana gypsum is added to improve the soil

Composition:

  • Rich in Chloride
  • Rich in Calcium
  • Rich in Magnesium

Distribution: Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Maharashtra 

Crops: Barseem, Dhaincha and leguminous crops

Peaty and Marshy Soil

Nature:

  • large amount of organic matter
  • considerable amount of soluble salts
  • black, heavy and highly acidic
  • heavy rainfall and high humidity

Composition:

  • Poor in Potash
  • Poor in Phosphate
  • Rich in humus and Organic Matter

Distribution: Kottayam and Alappuzha districts of Kerala(Kari soil); Odisha and Tamil Nadu, Sunderbans of West Bengal, in Bihar and Almora district of Uttarakhand.

Crops: Paddy cultivation

 

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/soil-degradation-biggest-environmental-issue/articleshow/92240012.cms