GMPV8Pollution and Geochemistry
|Convener: Brunella Raco | Co-Convener: Luigi Marini|
All anthropogenic activities, including the production processes in industrial plants and power plants as well as the disposal of waste materials may cause significant environmental impacts on the surroundings. In general, upon release into the environment, the polluting substance is quickly dispersed through transport processes such as circulation of air masses and advection in groundwater and surface waters. Consequently, it can travel to considerable distances from the source. In addition, in areas strongly affected by human activities there are several possible contamination sources and it is fundamental to assess the provenance of a given polluting substance, for the correct application of the Polluter Pays Principle, the well-known environmental policy requiring that costs of pollution be borne by those who cause it.
The classical chemical interpretation, based on both the analysis of a large number of substances in different geo-environmental matrices and the comparison of analytical data with maximum admissible concentrations, represents a necessary, preliminary step. However, it is not of much help to assess contamination sources. Fingerprinting techniques integrating chemical and isotopic data have to be applied, together with geochemical and biogeochemical modeling, to highlight active processes and to establish the provenance of polluting substances.