Resource Exploitation and Environmental Impact: challenges from China’s rapid industrial expansion

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


Theme: Environmental Processes in Soil, Water and Air/Food and environment nexus

After over 30 decades of rapid industrialisation and poor management of manufacturing processes, transport and power production, the environmental quality of large areas of China has been severely compromised. Most external focus has been on air pollution, which has been relatively effectively managed, but significant issues have been revealed around soil and ultimately food chain contamination. Remediation is challenging with to date a focus on spatial assessment of risk and remediation strategies, backed by policy development.

Investigations centred on one of China’s richest base metal ore zones in Central South China have identified significant levels of mobile and bio-accessible1,2 portions of potentially toxic elements (PTEs) from recent historic mining and associated activities. Case studies of environmental contamination and health risk associated with resource exploitation show variable food chain contamination3 and paint considerable challenges for large scale environmental remediation. Waste management strategies in China ned to cope with rapidly growing levels of hazardous waste, post COVID194. Recent assessment of the development of the land condition community5 provide a glimpse into the activities of the professional organisations and enterprises active in the sector. It highlights conventional remediation strategies being supplemented by emerging “soft” techniques under an increasingly diligent regulatory control. Is this appropriate to deal with such extensive spatial demands?

1. Xie Q, Ren B, Hursthouse A, Shi X. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management. 2022:748–756
2. Jiang, F., Ren, B., Hursthouse, A. Deng, R. Environ Sci Pollut Research, 2020 27, 23686-23694 .
3. Xie, Q, Ren, B, Shi, X & Hursthouse, A, Ecological Indicators, 2022, 144, 109502.
4. Song, N, Hursthouse, A, McLellan, I & Wang, Z, Sustainability, 2022, 14, 11811
5. Song N, McLellan I, Liu W, Wang Z, Hursthouse A. Environmental Geochemistry and Health 2023, 45, 1117–1131
Period1 Jun 2023
Event titleEnvChem2023: Chemistry of the Whole Environment
Event typeConference
LocationGlasgow, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational