Integrated Risk Assessment and Monitoring of micropollutants in the Belgian coastal zone

INRAM started in December 2006 in the framework of the SSD Science for Sustainable Development research action of the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office and is a continuation of the research project ENDIS-RISKS. The present INRAM project is carried out by five Belgian partners (and two subcontractors).

The INRAM project aims to assess in an integrated approach the risks of micropollutants to Belgian coastal zone ecosystems and man. The study area includes the three Belgian coastal harbours, the Scheldt estuary and coastal waters. The selected test/monitoring organisms are representative for the different trophic levels in coastal zone ecosystems and include commercial fish, crustacean and mollusc species. For the first time, this project will establish a relationship between local contaminant occurrence, ecosystem health and potential human health effects through an integrated risk assessment.

The overall aims of the present project are to:

  • study the transfer and environmental concentrations of established priority compounds (cf. OSPAR, WFD and the UNECE lists) and emerging pollutants (e.g. pharmaceuticals) transfer via the three Belgian coastal harbours and the Scheldt, to coastal waters
  • apply an unique combination of novel field and laboratory ecotoxicological and chemical techniques to establish both effects and food chain transfer of these chemicals
  • for the first time, establish the relationship between local occurrence of hazardous compounds, ecosystem health and potential human health effects, through the use of consumer organisms as test/monitoring species (e.g. commercial fish, crustacean and mollusc species), and
  • develop and evaluate a framework and toolbox for monitoring the chemical anthropogenic pressures on coastal ecosystems and commercial marine products.

INRAM is a project Supported by the Belgian Science Policy (BELSPO): SSD Science for sustainable Development
General coordination: Colin Janssen
Hosted by the Flanders Marine Institute VLIZ