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Assessing agricultural soil pollution risks from organic waste recycling: informing regional participatory waste management

Wassenaar T., Feder F., Doelsch E.. 2018. In : Be the solution to soil pollution: Proceedings of the Global Symposium on Soil Pollution. Rome : FAO, p. 137-142. Global Symposium on Soil Pollution (GSOP 2018), 2018-05-02/2018-05-04, Rome (Italie).

The well-informed recycling of organic waste to agricultural land becomes increasingly desirable in dynamic, developing regions worldwide. Pursuing locally optimal benefit-risk ratios, agro-environmental research in support of OW recycling does not focus on avoiding contamination perse, but on the control of dynamics, in soil and other environmental compartments, in order not to exceed risk thresholds. We present a series of empirical research efforts that inform decision making in regions under OW pressure on OW-contained trace contaminant fate under local conditions. Their results illustrate that the present understanding of trace elements fate allows for the ex-ante assessment of fate under specific use scenarios and local conditions, with a limited set of simplifications. A well-established set of analytical tools provides the information required by such assessments. Understanding of OW-borne organic contaminants is less advanced, but the present capacity to project fate under local conditions does allow for the approximate appreciation of risk levels, the major benefit of which is to focus subsequent research on substances of concern. Ongoing long-term field trials may critically advance our understanding of OW-borne contaminant fate in soil. Developing a reasonable capacity to assess biological contaminant fate is one of its priorities.

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