Contaminated land in Colombia: A critical review of current status and future approach for the management of contaminated sites.
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Environmental contaminants can have negative effects on human health and land, air and water resources. Consequently, there have been significant advances in regulation for protecting the environment in developed countries including the development of remediation frameworks and guidelines. On the other hand, fewer studies have been reported on the risks and health effects of contaminants in developing regions and there is scarce information regarding contaminated land assessment and environmental remediation. Colombia is an important emerging economy and has started to take the first steps towards the development of a framework for the management of contaminated sites and there are opportunities for the country to learn from countries with well-established frameworks such as the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) and for international collaboration with organisations such as CRC for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CARE). We review main pollution issues, current status of contaminated land management in Colombia to identify the gaps in policy and regulation. We also review the UK and US contaminated land policies and regulations to identify the elements of those experiences that could support progress in the country. Finally, we propose recommendations (e.g. risk based approach, soil screening criteria, clean-up funding, liability) for Colombia that could support further development and implementation of a more effective contaminated land management framework.