METALert: an emergency response system for heavy metals in the environment


The rapid industrialisation and economic growth of China has resulted in a mirrored increase of environmental issues and threats and heavy metal pollution accidents with high environmental risks are happening frequently. Despite efforts made by the authorites in respect to the formulation of sound policy, efficient technical methods and regulations for dealing with appropriate responses to emergency environmental incidents related to heavy metal pollution are still lacking.

The METALert tool is a generic Emergency Response System for accidental pollution incidents from heavy metal related industries. The key features of the tool are the ability to simulate the impact of possible accidents, to forecast the impact of an emergency and to evaluate the effect of remedial measures. It offers an integrated system to evaluate the environmental impact of an incident at the catchment scale using fast, robust calculations to visualise the dispersion of metals in the environment.

The METALert tool can simulate the effect of an accidental release of heavy metals starting from accident scenarios and environmental data. The tool is tested and demonstrated in Chenzhou (Hunan province), an important mining area in China, but is flexible to be set-up for any mining area and can be used to prioritize actions in a region, guide monitoring strategies and perform environmental impact assessments

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