Measuring eco-efficiency of contaminated soil management at the regional level

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Researchers

Research units

  • Minerva Foundation Institute for Medical Research Helsinki
  • Finnish Environment Institute

Abstract

Eco-efficiency and sustainable development are the key environmental topics and goals for today's society that we should strive for in all activities, including contaminated soil management (CSM). However, particularly at the regional level, CSM is studied to a lesser extent from this perspective and practical means to monitor and assess sustainability or eco-efficiency are not widely available. This study aims to fill this gap by developing indicators to measure and monitor the development of regional eco-efficiency of CSM. The indicators can be used to support decision-making at the regional level since many CSM decisions, such as prioritisation of sites and the number of soil treatment and storing facilities, are made regionally. To start with, we surveyed the methods available for determining eco-efficiency and suitable indicators to monitor and measure the development of CSM regionally. We used life cycle analysis (LCA) and material flow analysis (MFA) to identify factors that the environmental indicators should cover, and also involved economic indicators. We ended up with a selection of 28 indicators, which can be classed into three different categories: background indicators, environmental indicators and economic indicators. We further demonstrated the use of the indicators by applying data from three different regions in Finland, and evaluated their suitability. On the basis of the results we recommended 15 indicators for continuous follow-up and decision-making purposes. Even though these indicators are suitable for monitoring and measuring the eco-efficiency of CSM at the regional level, unfortunately we found several data gaps related to the actual remediation projects which impede their use in practice. The data collection practices therefore need to be regionally developed.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-188
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Volume109
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2012
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Contaminated soil, Eco-efficiency, Finland, Indicator, Region, Risk management, Sustainability

ID: 9940762