The University of Southern Queensland had the pleasure of co-organising the fourth International Congress on Arsenic in the Environment, which saw 146 experts from 30 countries gather at Cairns.
The topic of arsenic in the environment is an important one as more than 200 million people around the world suffer from arsenic contamination of water resources, environment or food.
USQ Professor in Hydrogeology Jochen Bundschuh said the problem was getting worse, with evidence suggesting incidences of arsenic contamination of drinking and irrigation water has doubled in the last ten years, with reports of contamination from over 75 countries.
‘Arsenic is an increasingly global problem, which will require global solutions,’ Professor Bundschuh said.
‘Research into the occurrence, mobility and bioavailability of arsenic in different environments will become increasingly important.’
Professor Bundschuh, who also attended the Cairns event, is a Leader of the interdisciplinary USQ Groundwater Research Group, which is currently managed within the National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture (NCEA) with members also drawn from the Faculty of Engineering and Surveying and Faculty of Sciences and four USQ research centres.
Professor Bundschuh said the congress’ approach to the issue of arsenic was in line with USQ’s and NCEA’s efforts to provide education and research services to communities to support sustainable development.
‘USQ has an emerging groundwater, geochemical and environmental research capability supported by existing internationally recognised expertise across four key research centres,’ Professor Bundschuh said.
‘The NCEA and Australian Centre for Sustainable Catchments is actively involved in research to utilise waste streams, mitigate the impacts of mining and rehabilitate contaminated and degraded landscapes.’
The proceedings volume, which was unveiled during the opening ceremony of the congress, contains 194 published extended abstracts and a foreword by USQ Vice-Chancellor Jan Thomas.
Professor Bundschuh is one of two international organisers of the biennial event series, which will be held again in 2014 at Buenos Aires, Argentina.
For more details about the event, visit www.as2012.com.au.
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