December 5 is World Soil Day: this year's slogan is 'Stop Soil Pollution'. According to the official UN website, one-third of our global soils are already degraded. With a growing population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, soil pollution is a worldwide problem which degrades our soils, poisons the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe.
The soil in Armenia is polluted with heavy metals and toxic substances mainly by mining. As of 1 October 2018, RA Ministry for Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources issued soil management permits to 409 metallic and non-metallic mine development. In terms of soil pollution, metallic mines are particularly hazardous.
One hectare of open mines and tailing dumps pollutes around 10 ha of surrounding area. According to the official data of RA Statistic Service, industrial, soil management and land areas of other industrial significance have increased in Armenia. If in 2013 they made up 34.900 thousand ha out of 2974.3 thousand ha of total land areas, this figure made up 38,000 ha in 2017. Instead, agricultural land areas have decreased: in 2013 there was 2051 thousand ha, while in 2017 there was 2043.8 thousand ha.
Desertification processes have become more active in Armenia as a result of the decrease in soil quality, reduction of fertility and vegetation, which is conditioned both with human activities and climate change. According to the strategy on Combating Desertification in the Republic of Armenia adopted in 2015, 14519 km2 (48.8 %) of the area in Armenia undergo desertification, which will accelerate as a result of global climate changes, 7233 km2 (24.3 %) is in the desertification risk zone, only 6742 km2 (22.6 %) of the area don't have features of desertification processes.
16:18 December 05, 2018