NAIROBI, March 12 (Xinhua) -- China's prestigious Tsinghua University is seeking to collaborate with Africa research institutes in order to improve soil fertility in the continent.
Hou Deyi, associate professor at Tsinghua University told Xinhua in Nairobi that his institution has developed green and sustainable technologies to improve soil health.
"We are seeking to partner with African research institutes so that we can play a role in reducing the impact of soil pollution in the continent," Hou said on the sidelines of the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi.
Hou said that soil contamination is a global issue, hence the need for collaborations to find sustainable solutions, adding that it carries many risks including danger to human health, food safety and ecological receptors.
According to him, the main types of soil contaminants include heavy metals such as mercury and organic pollutants, and soil pollution can occur through irrigation using waste water containing pesticide and fertilizer or industrial effluents that is discharged before being treated.
He observed that the best way to prevent soil pollution is by preventing contamination. He said that global efforts to use green methods to remedy soil pollution began in the 1970s.
He added that initially scientists used to remove and incinerate contaminated soil but this proved to be a costly exercise.
The Chinese scholar also noted that use of bioremediation techniques is one of the efforts deployed to clean toxins in the soil.