contaminated soils: Chemicals & pollution

“Over 200 years of industrialisation have caused soil contamination to be a widespread problem in Europe. Decision makers, scientists, businesses and individual citizens generally accept and understand that air and water pollution can have negative impacts on human health, but the impacts of such soil pollution on our health have had a much lower profile, and are not so well understood.”

Science for Environment Policy, in-depth report on soil contamination - September 2013

There is a direct link between the land and public health from the negative point of view. Current evidence shows a statistically significant correlation between contaminants in urban soils and public health (Glasgow and Durham Universities).

We aim through a collaborative approach to harness interdisciplinary expertise together with common purpose to bring the goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan into focus in this area, both in terms of managing exposure to chemicals and connecting people to the environment to improve health and wellbeing. 

Our general aim is to gain greater understanding of soil contamination in urban settings at a public and research level. It is a public right to live in a non-toxic environment: just as research and regulations exist around air pollution, so should there be an equally in-depth reflection of understanding of soil quality and contamination, as significantly impactful on public health and citizens’ quality of life.


Oil soaked soil

Latest research

Be the Solution to Soil Pollution 

Dr Johnson introduced her research into soil health which was undertaken as part of the ‘Regeneration of Brownfield Land Using Sustainable Technologies’ (ROBUST) project. The study looked at whether adding a common mineral to the soil could offer a cost-effective and simple way to increase the levels of carbon it stores, a vital element of soil health.

Dr Johnson believes that the findings of this research could offer a way to address soil contamination and degradation without resorting to expensive alternatives which can involve artificial chemicals and electricity.