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The spatial footprint of the non-ferrous metal industry in Lubumbashi

Publication Date
  • Copper Belt
  • Lubumbashi
  • Atmospheric Deposits
  • Landscape Metrics
  • Perception
  • Kevin Lynch
  • Life Sciences :: Environmental Sciences & Ecology [F08]
  • Sciences Du Vivant :: Sciences De L'Environnement & écologie [F08]
  • Social & Behavioral Sciences
  • Psychology :: Social
  • Industrial & Organizational Psychology [H11]
  • Sciences Sociales & Comportementales
  • Psychologie :: Psychologie Sociale
  • Industrielle & Organisationnelle [H11]


In the south-eastern part of the Katanga Province (Democratic Republic of the Congo), high concentrations of copper and cobalt are found in the soils of the well-known “Copper Belt”. Due to the dominant south-eastern winds, the metallurgic industry in Lubumbashi has been the source of spatially concentrated atmospheric deposits of non-ferrous metal particles and associated substances in a cone-shaped zone, situated north-west of the metal processing site. The existence of this zone has been evidenced using two different techniques: firstly, by means of landscape metric comparisons of the vegetation and bare soil patterns in two study areas, one inside the pollution cone and one outside; secondly, by means of the theory on city perception developed by Kevin Lynch. Higher fragmentation and lower vegetation presence were observed inside the pollution cone, reflecting the negative impact of atmospheric deposits. Those differences were higher for sites closer to the emission source. Lynch’s approach outlined the negative impact of diverse industrial plants on the perception by the local population. Six pollution districts and several contaminated paths, limits, nodes and polluting landmarks were identified. Citizens even recognize them as part of the collective image of the city.

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