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How soil works to keep plants and people healthy

Did you know that there are over four billion micro-organisms in a teaspoon of healthy soil? That's more than the populations of 220 countries combined!

We depend on soil and the soil food web for more than just growing plants. Healthy soil not only provides air, water and nutrients for plants but also serves as nature's environmental protector.

Soil performs many functions

It can serve as a:

spoonful of soil
There are over four billion micro-organisms in a teaspoon of healthy soil.
  • Sponge, soaking up excess rainwater and slowing down excess runoff
  • Spigot, turning water flow on and off by storing and releasing water for plants
  • Snare, trapping urban pollutants such as oil, metals, and pesticides
  • Strainer, filtering and purifying the air and water that percolate through it
  • Supermarket, supplying valuable nutrients and antioxidants to plants.

If left undisturbed, native soil can easily perform these functions; but if native soil has been disturbed by construction or the development of roads, houses or shopping malls, it can no longer function properly. The result will be problems with run-off and erosion. Enhancing the quality of poor soil greatly improves our air and water and creates a healthier environment.

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King County Solid Waste Division mission: Waste Prevention, Resource Recovery, Waste Disposal