The need for attuned soil quality risk assessment for non-Western humans and ecosystems, exemplified by mining areas in South Africa
Van Rensburg, L.
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Worldwide, soils are under threat of deterioration and contamination due to anthropogenic activities. Whilst risk assessment of soils in Europe has been well studied, the same cannot be said of soils in Southern Africa. Soil screening values exist in SA, which enables soil quality assessment, but lack a clear risk-based scientific foundation and site-specific risk assessment. This is specified, in the light of the proximity of mine tailings disposal facilities to residential areas, exposing people to a wide range of possible contaminants. The aim of this paper is to give an overview of soil quality risk assessment with specific reference to European models, and to explore how these could be used in a Southern African context where soil quality risk assessment is a relatively new and insufficiently investigated field. Therefore, the attention in this paper is on typical non-Western conditions to which soil quality risk assessment has to be attuned.