Monday, April 22, 2013

South Korean Updates: Forensic science for identifying environmental pollutants (18 Apr 2013)


Forensic science for identifying environmental pollutants


National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER) of the Ministry of Environment released the first result of identifying environmental pollutants with forensic science since it has adopted the method to resolve environmental disputes since 2012.

Aimed at identifying the pollution source and address environmental disputes, NIER’s environmental forensic science takes one step forward from a mere phenomenon assessment of pollution to a thorough investigation of the cause.

After conducting a pre-evaluation in 2011, NIER initiated the ‘Contamination Source Tracking Study Using Heavy Metal Isotope’ in 2012 based on a 5-year research roadmap.

When the foundation for research is established through this project, it will be possible to more accurately investigate contamination source by analyzing emission source with heavy metal isotope and evaluate its level of contribution to contamination source.

By tracing emission source for pollution and setting up a method to measure the level of contribution, it will allow to identify the sources for environmental pollution with higher accuracy. Thus, evidentiary data will be secured to resolve environmental disputes and make compensation for damage.

To verify reliability of the contamination source-tracking method using lead isotope, NIER carried out a study on ‘tracking lead contamination sources of sediments in Lake Andong using lead isotope.’ The study found that an inflow of ore residue accounted for 79% of pollution and an inflow of nearby soil held 21%.

NIER will take full advantage of the environmental forensic science to settle environmental disputes, secure evidentiary material for pollution recovery and verify the efficacy of environmental administration.


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