Loss of Productive Land due to Sand and Dust Storms

Recently, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) issued a dire warning on Wednesday, revealing that almost 1 million square kilometres of productive land vanish yearly due to sand and dust storms intensified by human activities.

Key Points

  • Alarming Land Loss Figures: The UNCCD disclosed that approximately 2 billion tons of sand and dust annually enter the atmosphere, causing severe damage across Asia and Africa and significant global economic repercussions.
  • Human Activities Amplify Storms: The report, unveiled during a Samarkand meeting in Uzbekistan, emphasized that a quarter of these storms are linked to human actions, including overmining and overgrazing.
  • Wide-ranging Impacts: Beyond food supply disruptions, the loss of topsoil triggers migration, hampers navigation, and poses security risks, warns Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD executive secretary.
  • Call for Better Land Management: The UNCCD advocates for improved land management practices to restore degraded land, along with enhancing early warning systems and resilience.
  • Funding Challenges: Thiaw highlights a major challenge in securing funding to combat desertification, noting that only $15 billion was allocated from 2016-2019 to address issues spanning 126 countries.
  • China's Success Story: China is recognized for its success in combating desertification through long-term land restoration and reforestation programs, although challenges persist, particularly from land degradation in Mongolia.