WIT Press

Contaminated Urban Land: A Situational Analysis


Free (open access)

Paper DOI






Page Range

173 - 184




808 kb


E. F. de Souza, S. C. Bettine, M. H. Borges


In the XXI century, urbanization poses to humankind as the main novelty and as an irreversible phenomenon. Currently, more than half of the world population lives in cities and it is estimated that by 2030 this ratio will reach two thirds. Several surveys indicate a direct relationship between urban growth and pollution, identifying urbanization as one of the major causes of the contamination of soil, groundwater and surface water resources. Soil contaminated by anthropogenic activities has been a global concern because where there is soil exposure to harmful substances there are risks to human health and to the environment. This work presents an analysis and discussion of the existing soil contamination in a densely urbanized and highly industrialized area in southeast Brazil. It was observed that in the last ten years the number of polluted areas has increased linearly and on 74 percent of these more than one type of contaminant has been identified, many of them considered to be carcinogenic to humans. It was concluded that the number of remediation processes in the area is incipient and as a function of complex mixtures of chemical compounds specific remediation techniques will be necessary due to the combined effects of these compounds in the long term.


contamination of soils, urban areas, environmental risks