Publications des agents du Cirad


Long term organochlorine soil pollution in agriculture: The lessons learnt from the Chlordecone pollution in French West Indies

Lesueur Jannoyer M., Cattan P., Mottes C., Clostre F., Della Rossa P., Woignier T.. 2018. In : Be the solution to soil pollution: Proceedings of the Global Symposium on Soil Pollution. Rome : FAO, p. 123-128. Global Symposium on Soil Pollution (GSOP 2018), 2018-05-02/2018-05-04, Rome (Italie).

The French West Indies face nowadays a diffuse and long term environmental pollution related to historical use of organochlorine insecticide in banana fields, Chlordecone (CLD). Due to its stability, it now pollutes soil, waters, agricultural products and leads to a global exposure of people and ecosystems. We wonder how to manage such a complex pollution system involving all environmental compartments, linked each other. For that, we have been conducting research studies for more than 15 years in the field of agronomy and environment to explore the fate of the molecule in the environment, the impact on food safety, and also the remediation options. Three main points are addressed: i) how to characterize the pollution and to make easier the diagnosis? ii) how to assess the impacts on environmental compartments and agricultural products? iii) How to manage the pollution? The tools we developed make a diagnosis of such pollution easier at different scales (field, farm, watershed, and territory). We built monitoring support systems for the water quality of rivers with models helping to understand variability of water contamination. We built also decision support systems to farmers to manage their soil pollution and choose the crops that will ensure food security. Now CLD content of local crop products on the market complies with the Maximum Residue Limit. Management is more complex for animal products, and further investigations are needed. We investigated alternative solution to enhance CLD soil sequestration, using physical properties of French West Indies volcanic soil and organic matter amendment. Increased organic matter content in soil reduced drastically the CLD transfer from soil to water, but this effect was not perennial and amendment had to be regularly applied. Our results show that an integrative approach is needed to build efficient policies to manage such pollution than to prevent new ones.

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