SEGH Articles

Remedial Solutions for polluted soils: developing research collaboration between UK and China

17 November 2015
Hunan University of Science & Technology (HNUST), Xiangtan, PR, China. The School of Civil Engineering houses a Key Library for Shale Gas extraction and has undertaken work to assess resources and their low impact extraction.
 
SEGH member and former President Professor Andrew Hursthouse, of the University of the West of Scotland, has been working in the Hunan University of Science & Technology (HNUST), Xiangtan, PR, China. Andrew spent a month during September and October 2015, based in the School of Civil Engineering, developing a research programme based on soil and groundwater treatment approaches to agricultural and resource development problems. The School houses a Key Library for Shale Gas extraction and has undertaken work to assess resources and their low impact extraction. These are important issues, particularly in the Hunan region of China. Wide spread non-ferrous metal extraction in the region has also created problems for food safety and research into locally viable management strategies is needed.
 
 
The project has been supported by the award of research fellowships to Prof Hursthouse through the Overseas Chair Professor “Xiangjiang Scholars Programme” 2013-14 and High End Expert Recruitment – fellowship in contaminated land research 2014-15, from the State Administration of Foreign Experts affairs, Peoples Republic of China. The visits have involved seminars and knowledge exchange and research programme fieldwork with colleagues from HNUST and the University of Hunan in Changsha. Interests in the re-use of waste materials for low cost treatment of contaminated soils are being developed using experiences from applications in the EU.
 
by Professor Andrew Hursthouse, University West of Scotland
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Latest on-line papers from the SEGH journal: Environmental Geochemistry and Health

  • Editorial 2018-12-11
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    Abstract

    Samples of PM2.5 were collected from an urban area close to a national highway in Agra, India and sequentially extracted into four different fractions: water soluble (F1), reducible (F2), oxidizable (F3) and residual fraction (F4) for chemical fractionation of arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), cobalt (Co), chromium (Cr), nickel (Ni) and lead (Pb). The metals were analyzed by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy in each fraction. The average mass concentration of PM2.5 was 93 ± 24 μg m−3.The total concentrations of Cr, Pb, Ni, Co, As and Cd in fine particle were 192 ± 54, 128 ± 25, 108 ± 34, 36 ± 6, 35 ± 5 and 8 ± 2 ng m−3, respectively. Results indicated that Cd and Co had the most bioavailability indexes. Risk Assessment Code and contamination factors were calculated to assess the environmental risk. The present study evaluated the potential Pb hazard to young children using the Integrated Exposure Uptake Biokinetic Model. From the model, the probability density of PbB (blood lead level) revealed that at the prevailing atmospheric concentration, 0.302 children are expected to have PbB concentrations exceeding 10 μg dL−1 and an estimated IQ (intelligence quotient) loss of 1.8 points. The predicted blood Pb levels belong to Group 3 (PbB < 5 μg dL−1). Based on the bioavailable fractions, carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risks via inhalation exposure were assessed for infants, toddlers, children, males and females. The hazard index for potential toxic metals was 2.50, which was higher than the safe limit (1). However, the combined carcinogenic risk for infants, toddlers, children, males and females was marginally higher than the precautionary criterion (10−6).

  • Effects of steel slag and biochar amendments on CO 2 , CH 4 , and N 2 O flux, and rice productivity in a subtropical Chinese paddy field 2018-12-07

    Abstract

    Steel slag, a by-product of the steel industry, contains high amounts of active iron oxide and silica which can act as an oxidizing agent in agricultural soils. Biochar is a rich source of carbon, and the combined application of biochar and steel slag is assumed to have positive impacts on soil properties as well as plant growth, which are yet to be validated scientifically. We conducted a field experiment for two rice paddies (early and late paddy) to determine the individual and combined effects of steel slag and biochar amendments on CO2, CH4, and N2O emission, and rice productivity in a subtropical paddy field of China. The amendments did not significantly affect rice yield. It was observed that CO2 was the main greenhouse gas emitted from all treatments of both paddies. Steel slag decreased the cumulative CO2 flux in the late paddy. Biochar as well as steel slag + biochar treatment decreased the cumulative CO2 flux in the late paddy and for the complete year (early and late paddy), while steel slag + biochar treatment also decreased the cumulative CH4 flux in the early paddy. The biochar, and steel slag + biochar amendments decreased the global warming potential (GWP). Interestingly, the cumulative annual GWP was lower for the biochar (55,422 kg CO2-eq ha−1), and steel slag + biochar (53,965 kg CO2-eq ha−1) treatments than the control (68,962 kg CO2-eq ha−1). Total GWP per unit yield was lower for the combined application of steel slag + biochar (8951 kg CO2-eq Mg−1 yield) compared to the control (12,805 kg CO2-eq Mg−1 yield). This study suggested that the combined application of steel slag and biochar could be an effective long-term strategy to reduce greenhouse gases emission from paddies without any detrimental effect on the yield.