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World Soil Day 2019. Italy overbuilts 4.900 hectares of soil every year

In Rome and Milan, two different flashmobs against land consumption and climate change.

Erosion emergency: our country holds the European record. Agriculture must become an ally against soil degradation.

We ask the Parliament to vote the bill on soil consumption as soon as possible.

According to ISPRA, in Italy the use of soil proceeds at a rate of almost 1,6 square meters per second, which menas that a new city of 4.900 hectares, almost the urban sprawl of the city of Bologna, il built every year. An alarming increase, considering that – at the same time –the Italian population decline of about 102.000 people every year.
For this reason, Legambiente tooks the street today by organizing two flashmobs in Rome and Milan (watch the VIDEO and the GALLERY), with the aim of reporting this problem, still not very well known, despite its serious effects on people quality life and the impact on climate change.

The soil protection is necessary for our life on the Planet. Without soil we are exposed to landslides and floods and we could lose an essential heritage of biodiversity. Even more important, the World’s soils act as the largest terrestrial carbon sink, playing a big part in fighting climate changes. An issue underestimated by the Cop25 negotiations held in Madrid.

The growth rate of land consumption mainly affects the Italian northern regions (53,4%) and less those in the South (20,6%).
“Every 60 seconds we consume 100 square meters of agricultural and natural land: about 6.000 square meters every hour – says Stefano La Porta, ISPRA President. The use of cement does not stop even in areas of hydraulic vulnerability (+673 ha in 2018), potentially subject to landslides (+350 HA) and seismic hazard zone (+1803 ha). ement is suffocating our cities, with an estimated loss of green areas of about 24 square meters per hectare. It is really necessary put in place a new legislation to regulate and stop soil consumption in Italy”.
The theme chosen by FAO fot the the World soil day is the erosion. An issue that concerns Italy, considering that we have the most alarming data in Europe, in particular regarding erosion caused by non sustainable agricultural practices.
Erosion from water, wind or aggressive agricultural practices grows at European level by a rate of 2,47 tons of soil per hectare per year. The total amount is a loss equal to 970 millions tons, or 600 million cubic meters of soil every year.
“Fighting against soil erosion and degradation must be taken as priority challenge for Italian agriculture, especially considering the new PAC funds programme – says Stefano Ciafani, Legambiente President -. Erosion leads to a loss of production, especially in hilly areas, and it is the reason for hydrogeological instability, together with the consequences of poorly designed infrastructures  and settlements. A good prevention policy should consider the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices that will ensure a perennial vegetation cover of the soil and the conservation of the organic substance, which is the basis of fertility. On the occasion of the World soil day, SOIL4LIFE project partners ask to the Italian Prime Minister and to the Parliament Chairmans to ensure a fast track to the legislative proposal against land use, to prevent the potential risk coming from bad urban growth, which might lead to a damege to the Italian environment, landscape and agriculture.