Mecklenburg-western pomerania: warning of sandstorms

Mecklenburg-western pomerania: warning of sandstorms

Nine years after the mass accident with eight fatalities on the A19, the environmental organization BUND and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania’s Minister for Agriculture and the Environment Till Backhaus (SPD) are still warning of the dangers of soil compaction and wind erosion. "More than half of the soil is heavily compacted," said BUND agricultural expert Burkhard Roloff on Tuesday (7. April 2020). Causes, he said, are too heavy agricultural vehicles, the lack of humus and low biodiversity in the soil. Aeration, water absorption and rootability of the soil are low, he said.

Problem: soil compaction

According to Roloff, compacted soil can only be prepared for sowing at great expense – for example, by plowing or cultivating and breaking up the soil to create a fine seedbed. This "pulverization" creates soil components that the wind can whirl up and transport for kilometers. This is one of the reasons for the sandstorm and the pile-up on 8 September. April 2011 had been south of Rostock.

Minister Backhaus appealed to farmers to farm in a way that is adapted to the weather and location. Likewise, motorists are urged to be proactive on the road, he said. At the beginning of April, weather conditions often favor sandstorms. The vegetation is still little developed. "In the coming days, as temperatures rise, we can also expect increasing dryness." If spring storms were added to the mix, the danger of sandstorms would be high. The state has implemented a bundle of measures to support active precautions by farmers, such as the creation of erosion control strips, diverse crop rotations and erosion-reducing tillage practices.

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