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J Environ Public Health. 2013;2013:158764. doi: 10.1155/2013/158764. Epub 2013 Jun 16.

Contaminated sites in Europe: review of the current situation based on data collected through a European network.

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European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Via E. Fermi 2749, 21027 Ispra, Italy.


Under the European Union (EU) Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection, the European Commission has identified soil contamination as a priority for the collection of policy-relevant soil data at European scale. In order to support EU soil management policies, soil-related indicators need to be developed which requires appropriate data collection and establishment of harmonized datasets for the EU Member States. In 2011-12, the European Soil Data Centre of the European Commission conducted a project to collect data on contaminated sites from national institutions in Europe using the European Environment Information and Observation Network for soil (EIONET-SOIL). This paper presents the results obtained from analysing the soil contaminated sites data submitted by participating countries. According to the received data, the number of estimated potential contaminated sites is more than 2.5 million and the identified contaminated sites around 342 thousand. Municipal and industrial wastes contribute most to soil contamination (38%), followed by the industrial/commercial sector (34%). Mineral oil and heavy metals are the main contaminants contributing around 60% to soil contamination. In terms of budget, the management of contaminated sites is estimated to cost around 6 billion Euros (€) annually.

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