Understanding and managing the impact and risks of agricultural waste-disposal to land
(Prof Phil Haygarth, Prof Roger Pickup and Dr Maria-Fernanda Aller)
This innovation area has an overall aim to improve the quality of life for UK and Chinese Citizens in reducing health and pollution risks from agriculture sources with a focus on:
- Managing agriculture waste to produce energy and to reduce the impact of waste in the environment, with specific interest in biochar production and its application to soil to minimize diffuse pollution from soils
- Innovations in catchment management in combating water eutrophication by reducing diffuse pollution from agriculture sources;
- Minimising the impacts of microbial pathogens entering the environment through diffuse pollution and impacting humans through environmental exposure;
Managing agriculture waste to produce energy and to reduce the impact in the environment
This innovation will focus on the creation of activities leading towards the creation of a document that assesses current and future innovations for waste treatment and disposal of waste across China and the UK. Specifically, the focus will be to:
- Conduct an impact assessment on waste and biochar application in soils and related media
- Forecasting the future of treatments
- Description of environment, ecological, health issues risk for treatment and waste disposal
The wider aim here is to develop a hub to facilitate UK-Sino innovation flow, with particular emphasis on the thermal technologies for biochar production and their application in areas differing economic affluence.
Eutrophication in China and UK: common solutions to problems at different scales
Eutrophication describes the undesirable state of lakes with nutrients and the changes that occur as a result, i.e. the primary productivity of the waterbody. Resulting algal blooms have negative environmental effects that include anoxia with severe reductions in fish and other animal populations. Furthermore loss of penetrating light reduces the numbers of macrophytes. This is a worldwide problem that includes pertinent and contemporary problems for the UK and China.
In China, one example is Lake Taihu. Lake Tai’ is the third largest lake in China and is used predominantly for drinking water and recreational activities. Since 2007 it has been severely affected by an invasion of toxic algae as a direct result of nutrients entering the lake. These algae invade the surface of the water blocking the sun light causing lake ecosystem degradation – essentially the lake has turned green. Innovations are taking place to try to control the leakage of nutrients from agriculture into the lake and also with a special focus on in-lake technologies to clean up the toxic algae and find sustainable solutions for the biomass removed.
In the UK, Lake Windermere is England’s largest lake located in Lake District Natural Park, largely used for recreation and utilities including sewage deposition and drinking water. It currently has problems due to water euthrophication and in spring 2010 the ‘great north swim’ was halted in Lake Windermere because of the proliferation of toxic Algae in the lake. Agriculture is partly to blame for the problem and in the catchments and neighbouring catchments (including the River Eden – a national Defra demonstration test catchment), new innovations and solutions are being trialled to minimise the eutrophic effects on lakes like Windermere.
Focussing on this common problem, Lancaster China Bridge with their Chinese partners will explore the innovative solutions to this problem at various levels of policy giverenance. As a part of this work we are organizing innovation exchange between Lakes and catchments workshop between UK and China
Exchanges between Chinese and UK participants of various governances have and will continue to take place Lake District (UK), and the aims to:
- ‘Twin’ Lake Taihu and its catchments with Windermere and its catchments, linked by the common problem of eutrophication:
- To assess agricultural and catchment based solutions trailed in both countries
- To assess innovations of ‘in lake’ eutrophication control in Chinese and UK lakes
- To examine diffuse pollution issues (mainly nitrogen and P)
- To provide a common policy guidance document providing sustainable solutions through manure and livestock management and sharing innovation in catchment projects in the UK and China. This will be done through the engagement of local, regional and national governments and policy makers and commercial companies.