Informing people about the toxicity risks by soil contamination

Pollution is the largest environmental cause of disease and premature death in the world today however it has been neglected, according to the Lancet Commission on pollution and health. In particular, polluted soils threaten the environment and human health. The persistent substances such as metals are contaminants posing the greatest threats to health.

Invited by the Major of Sanlúcar la Mayor (Sevilla), researchers of the IRNAS, CSIC participated in an open meeting with town´s people to answer their concerns about the potential risks persisting twenty years after the mine-spill contamination.

Photo: Erika López

During twenty years the SoilPlant Group in the IRNAS, CSIC has been investigating the dynamics of potentially toxic trace elements in the Guadiamar Green Corridor (a contaminated and remediated area). The current conditions are very positive, after the application of soil amendments and planting of trees, with a significant reduction in the mobility of potentially toxic elements. However, contaminants are immobilized in soil but they are not eliminated, therefore it is obligatory a permanent vigilance and monitoring.   

Local people were warned that some wild organisms such as terrestrial snails and mushrooms tend to accumulate arsenic, cadmium or lead, and they should not be harvested for human consumption in the contaminated area.

Some of the relevant results shown in the meeting are the contribution of the IRNAS, CSIC to the European project RECARE, on the prevention and remediation of degraded soils in Europe.

This event is part of the social compromise by the CSIC and it has been widely covered by local media:

Europa Press

El Mundo

20 Minutos

ABC

Cuaderno Agrario

EcoDiario

El Periódico

Diario Siglo XXI

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