Theme 4

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General description of the issue

Thick oil on a rocky beach

A bad water quality endangers some human activities and environment. Diverse sources of pollution threaten the water quality in the coastal zone:

  • oils and paintings from the ships;
  • harbour runoff containing a mixture of contaminants including oils, oil emulsifiers, paints, solvents, detergents, bleach, antifouling paint scrapings;
  • ships’ passages and dredging operations that increase the suspended solids contents in the water. These sediments are likely to be polluted by heavy metals and organic micro-pollutants;
  • diffuse and point source land-based pollution resulting from agriculture, industry, and urban settlement;
  • ship accidents or industrial accidents with their environmental impact due to oil spill or chemical pollution;
  • storage of wastes including polluted dredged materials;
  • regular discharge of wastewaters from coastal outfalls;
  • resulting problems with eutrophication, nutrients, sewage and storm water treatment.

Seas and coastal zones are fragile areas. A bad water quality damages their natural resources, their environment and their attractiveness. A bad water quality threatens human activities like fishery or tourism. Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) through new regulations, organizations and techniques can improve prevention, detection and mitigation of pollution.

Major existing policy and implementation actions at EU level

This section shall include monitoring and research programs.

New regulations, organizations and techniques can improve prevention, detection and mitigation of pollution.

Implications of the EU Water Framework Directive for water quality in rivers and watersheds entering the coastal zone, including levels of allowable pollutions and risk-based approaches for releases of pollutants.

Theme perimeter

Major unresolved issues

Some work has to be done on the following issues. This is a part of the aim of the Encora project.

  • Diagnosis of pollution state
    • Risk analysis of ecosystems through indicators of sensitivity to nuisances
    • Observation system of pollutants
    • Information on origin, nature and impact of nuisances on environment
    • Objectives of water quality wished in the coastal zones
    • Presence of zones of eutrophication in coastal waters due to nutrients
    • Impacts of releases of pollutants on national coasts and coasts of adjacent countries
  • Prevention and mitigation of chronic pollutions
    • Collecting solid or liquid waste and treating all kinds of effluents
    • Protection and rehabilitation of sensitive ecosystems
    • Design of infrastructure for, and related treatment of sewage and storm waters
    • Impact of flood control and extreme weather events on the design of sewage and storm water infrastructure
  • Detection, prevention and mitigation of accidental pollutions
    • Crisis management for accidental pollutions
    • Techniques for collecting and treating pollutants
    • Techniques for protecting sensitive areas (floating barrier)
    • Tracking and meteorological information system for accidental pollutions, dredging operations,...
    • Development of real-time monitoring systems for early warning
  • Information of public, users and practitioners on pollution issues
    • Regulations and resolutions of conflicts between coastal activities
    • Adaptation of information to the public profile
    • Training of practitioners

Which unresolved issues are addressed by the theme (major theme focus)

  • Observation and monitoring of pollution
    • Observation system of priority substances settled by EU and OSPAR
    • Characterisation of pollutants and contaminants
    • Determination of chronic pollution sources
    • Technology for tracking and monitoring of pollutants
  • Management of risk with respect to the ecosystem
    • Decision making process to assess sanitary impact
    • Vulnerability indices and sensitivity maps
    • Prediction and evaluation of impacts (especially on the food chain)

Expectation of progress through Encora

The aim of the project is to develop networking and exchanges between stakeholders, engineers, scientists and legislators working in the field of coastal pollution.

The sharing of knowledge and work practices between this network should help to :

  • develop guidance on analytical methods to measure pollutants (strategy, cost, uncertainty…);
  • develop guidance on behaviour of pollutants and contaminants;
  • develop a decision making process to identify pollution sources and polluters;
  • improve ways to apply initial polluter pays principle.

Catalog of theme

A three-way access to theme 4 section articles is proposed :

For each issue related to pollution which has been identified, a causal framework which has been developed by the European Environment Agency, is adopted to describe the interactions between society and environment. The DPSIR approach is chosen because it fits the requirements of the Wiki by adressing a whole set of issues, from scientists to practitionners.

Alternately, during the initial phase of construction of the Coastal Wiki, you can directly access to articles written by participants :

See also

External links