Declining Soil and Water Quality Worries Scientists
Scientists are getting wary on the declining quality of soil and water all over the world due to the continuous application of inorganic fertilizer. They noted that while inorganic fertilizer application is responsible for 40 percent of the world’s total production output, this practice has also led to ecological impact that ultimately threatens man’s existence.
In a recent symposium at BPRE, the participants claimed that 60 percent of the applied inorganic fertilizer contaminates the environment through run-off, seepage, percolation and volatilization. It contaminates the underground and surface water, and causes soil and water acidity, salinity and eutrophication. At the same time, water contaminated with nitrate when taken in causes blue baby syndrome both on humans and ruminants.
Teresita S. Sandoval of the Bureau of Soil and Water Management (BSWM) said that based on data from the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and BSWM, water quality for agriculture poses no serious threat yet. However, she pointed out that this information may not reflect the true picture because of limited samples. Some aspects of sampling needed to establish the quality of a particular body of water over time and space were not adequately satisfied.
The news on the country’s agricultural lands is also bleak. Dr. Nenita E. dela Cruz, soil science professor at the Central Luzon State University (CLSU), said that most of the country’s cropland soil is virtually dead. She claimed that chemicals have killed beneficial microorganisms that can produce organic mater. Monoculture or no-mix farming has aggravated the situation.
In the symposium, Japanese scientists said that silicate minerals like quartz porphyry or bakuhan-seki stone, can reverse the fast deterioration of soil and water quality. As a soil amendment, it can enhance the growth and development of plants and could be a potential system for producing mineralized water.
The Japanese scientists also said that quartz porphyry has been found to improve the physiological and ecological characteristics of wheat, soybean and komatsuna vegetable.
The yield increased and harvest maturity in soybean was significantly prolonged. Plant height and number of branches per plant also increased. Addition of quartz porphyry also minimized further acidification of the soil.
The bad news is that quartz porphyry is not available in the Philippines and, hence, importing it would be expensive. The good news is that the locally available bio-organic fertilizer Durabloom is an alternative to quarts porphyry. Durabloom has millions of microorganisms that completely decompose chicken manure, its base material.
This bio-organic fertilizer, produced by Novatech Agri-Food Industries, is environment- and user-friendly. Unlike other organic fertilizers, it does not emit any obnoxious odor. The microorganisms in it restore the microflora in depleted soils. For instance, canes in the fields on the slope of Mt. Salimbalin, Pangantucan, Bukidnon grew bigger and longer than the canes in nearby fields. And this is due to the application of Durabloom.
In other parts of Mindanao where yields have been declining, corn, sugarcane and banana applied with Durabloom are now producing high yields.