Scientist calls for soil museum


A VETERAN soil scientist has proposed that a soil museum be set up at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) to serve as a reference centre for sustainable land use in regard to agriculture, food security and soil conservation.

Former UPM Science Department head Ahmad Ebon said such a facility at the university’ main campus in Serdang, Selangor, could champion sustainable land use management and promote awareness of soil’s role.

The facility, if established, would be backed by various divisions such as geology, agronomic, advisory and research, he added.

“We noticed that the lack of basic knowledge on soil and topography, especially in areas where land has been cleared for agriculture, has caused financial losses and environmental damage.

“All these issues could have been avoided with proper planning and if advice had been sought from this proposed centre which we want to set up in UPM,” Ahmad said.

He also suggested that state governments pass a law that would make it compulsory for surveys to be conducted by experts for future development in areas involving soil movement.

Besides that, recommendations made based on science should be strictly adhered to so problems do not occur or recur, he said.

Ahmad has formed a four-member team comprising fellow soil scientists to lobby for the implementation of the project.

On possible funding to get the project started, he said Petronas, Petroleum Sarawak Bhd and other oil companies would make ideal contributors.

“Another source would be timber companies as they obtain their wealth from trees grown on Malaysian soil,” he added. — Bernama

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