Soil protection is essential and must be guaranteed through binding rules for both public and private sectors. Only in this way will it be possible to achieve the objectives set out in Green Deal European.
A ray of light filters through the clouds of Brussels, thanks to the draft resolution adopted by a large majority by the ENVI Commission of the European Parliament, on 16.4.21. (1)
Soil protection, the missing EU rules
Soil protection it had already been the subject of a resolution by the European Parliament in 2014, which is still unanswered by the Brussels executive. The ENVI Commission (Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee) returns to the office and underlines the anomaly of a European environmental policy that protects the air, water but not the soil with uniform rules.
La soil protection, MEPs point out, 'it is fragmented into various uncoordinated and often non-binding policy instruments.'The European Commission is therefore called upon to implement the common policy in this regard. With particular attention 'agriculture, forests, water and waste management, industrial emissions and international trade agreements. '
Soils and biodiversity, free words
The soils they guard 25% of biodiversity on a planetary level. They perform fundamental ecosystem services, including the absorption of carbon and the purification of water, the nourishment of the plants on which animal and human lives depend, the control of parasites. Soil integrity is also crucial to prevent flooding e drought. The European objectives of safeguarding biodiversity and climate neutrality cannot therefore disregard soil protection.
From words to deeds, it should be remembered that as early as 2019, FAO has recommended Member States to support organic or eco-agriculture with appropriate measures, since it is the only one capable of protecting the soils and promoting sustainable development. But the Parliament itself agreed that this did not happen, neither in the 'smoke gray' reform of the CAP 2021-2027 nor in the Recovery Fund.
Cementing and industrial agriculture
The parliament therefore requests the European Commission to introduce concrete measures to prevent or at least minimize soil sealing, the primary causes of which are overbuilding andintensive agriculture. With specific regard, in this second area, to synthetic agrochemicals and nitrogen fertilizers. (2)
Minimize waterproofing it is also indispensable, in words, to achieve the objectives of 'no soil degradation'by 2030 and'no net land use'by 2050. Goals so far from remembering those brag to the world earth day, 22.4.21, by Jair Bolsonaro. Deforestation in Brazil will end by 2030, perhaps along with primary forests.
New EU soil strategy
The plenary assembly of the European Parliament is now called upon to approve the draft resolution which will then be sent to the European Commission which, among other things, together with the Council, is called upon to respond by June 2021 on a question of the same subject.
The new EU strategy on soils, elaborated in a first scheme, was subjected to a public consultation in November-December 2020. (3) Therefore, its official presentation is expected in the coming months. Ad maiora.
Dario Dongo and Alessandra Mei
(1) European Parliament, ENVI Commission. Draft motion for a resolution on Soil protection (2021/0000 (RSP)). V. https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20210412IPR01806/meps-call-for-better-protection-of-soil-to-reach-green-targets
(2) The latest annual report by ISPRA and SNPA on land use in Italy shows that in 2019 alone cement has devoured 57,5 square km, on average 16 hectares per day. V. https://www.snpambiente.it/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Estratto_Rapporto_consumo_di_suolo_2020-1.pdf