Healthy soils regulate water flow, filter pollutants, cycle nutrients, and support plant and animal diversity. Land and soil pollution dramatically disrupt this delicate balance, with far-reaching consequences on human and ecosystem survival.
Major industrial accidents and extended industrial mismanagement, especially in the extractive industry, can pollute enormous areas of land. Contaminants present in the soil can be absorbed by crops and produce, which have direct and immediate impacts on human health.
Since launching its first ever nationwide soil pollution project 1n 2016 in Serbia, UNEP has supported various countries such as Iraq, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire. The projects helped local officials map contaminated areas, collect data from contaminated sites, assess environmental and health risks of pollution, and conduct clean-ups of contaminated sites.