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Climate change could accentuate the risk of ecotoxicity of contaminated soils in the Sierra Minera that have an acidic pH (05/12/2020)

| The motto of # World Soil Day 2020, which is celebrated this Saturday, is "Let's keep the soil alive, protect the soil's biodiversity "| Future climatic conditions, a consequence of the global warming that the planet is experiencing, could accentuate the risk of ecotoxicity of the soils contaminated by metals of the old mining district of La Unión-Sierra de Cartagena, especially those with an acid pH.

This is stated by the researcher of the Saavedra Fajardo Regional Subprogram of the Seneca Foundation of the Region of Murcia, who develops her work at the Polytechnic University of Cartagena (UPCT), Nazaret González, specializing in the study of contaminated soils and the influence that these they may have on edaphic organisms.González uses soil organisms as bioindicators to assess the risk of ecotoxicity of contaminated soils in current climatic conditions and in future climate change scenarios.

He simulates these climate change scenarios in experiments in which he modifies the conditions of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, air temperature or soil moisture."The problem we have here with the Sierra Minera is repeated in many areas," he says.

And, after presenting his thesis, González specialized in soil ecotoxicology at a high-level research center in Holland and Portugal, where he worked for more than six years, by obtaining scholarships, contracts and through research projects that she managed.It ensures that, among others, the pH of the soil, this is the degree of acidity or basicity, is a "key" factor in areas contaminated by metals.

"An acidic pH favors more soluble metals and, therefore, bioavailable for organisms, which can lead to greater risks of toxicity for the ecosystem," he indicates before explaining that when metals are in soluble form, their incidence on soil organisms is "greater" affecting parameters such as survival, growth and reproduction, which, in turn, negatively affects the functions they perform within the ecosystem."Soils contaminated by metals with an acid pH are very problematic, in addition, in mining areas we can also find high concentrations of salts and a shortage of organic matter and nutrients, so the situation is complicated for the soil biota" he points out.

But not only that, because it also points out that when, for example, the air temperature rises and the soil humidity decreases “the risk of ecotoxicity may increase due to changes in the chemical state of the metals present since organisms can become more sensitive to its harmful effects ”.This Saturday, December 5, World Soil Day 2020 (# DiaMundialdelSuelo), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), promotes the campaign "Let's keep the soil alive, protect soil biodiversity", which aims to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being by addressing the growing challenges of land management, combating loss of soil biodiversity, raising awareness about soil, and encouraging governments, organizations , communities and people around the world to commit to proactively improving soil health.

Source: UPCT

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