Adriatic enclosed parts of sea (EPSs), such as bays, channels and lagoons, are often places of frequent sea traffic with consequent high risk of sea pollution by oils and hazardous substances, but there are no specific response protocols for EPSs which, due to different morphological and dynamic water characteristics, require an appropriate approach. There are several officially recognized response centres for the management of these pollution cases but, currently, none of the response strategies are valid both for Italy and Croatia.
The main goal of the Interreg PEPSEA project (Protecting the Enclosed Parts of the Sea in Adriatic from pollution) is to develop solutions for pollution events in this EPSs area through emergency interventions and recovery measures to prevent natural and man-made disasters and to reduce the impact when the ones occur.
The project is funded by the Interreg Italy-Croatia CBC Programme 2014-2020 and sees the collaboration of eight Italian and Croatian partners led by the Development Agency of Zadar County - Zadra Nova (Project Lead Partner).
The main goal of the Interreg PEPSEA project is to develop solutions for pollution events in this EPSs area through emergency interventions and recovery measures to prevent natural and man-made disasters and to reduce the impact when the ones occur.
The partnership is made by Future in Research Consortium (Ferrara); The Regional Agency for Environmental Protection of Friuli Venezia Giulia - ARPA FVG (Palmanova); Po Delta Veneto Regional Park (Ariano nel Polesine) and the Chamber of Commerce of Bari (Bari) for the Italian side; the Adriatic Training and Research Center for Prevention and Response to Accidental Marine Pollution - ATRAC, Split-Dalmatia County and Šibenik-Knin County for the Croatian side.
In these three years the PEPSEA project carried out several activities: specific studies conducted on pilot areas, awareness actions for wider stakeholders and a training program dedicated to the technical staff of the response centers, in order to protect the Adriatic area, with consequent benefits for the fishing, tourism and lifestyle sectors of the areas involved by the project.
Within PEPSEA Project 5 pilot areas have been identified: the Sali Bay, the port of Sibenik and the port of Split for the Croatian Side and the Caleri Lagoon and the Canarin Lagoon of the Po Delta for the Italian one. These areas have been subjected to several investigations such as: collection of historical data necessary to evaluate the existing contingency plans (regional and local) and their effectiveness assessment; authorities involved; risks’ list and maps, high vulnerability areas; definition of predictive models of vulnerability; analysis of contaminants in sediments and in the water column and currentometric investigations to validate risk predictive models developed with mathematical models.
These studies highlighted both common environmental risks (such as the risk of accidental hydrocarbon spills from open tanks and sewers) and site-specific ones (such as the risk of ammonia spillage from the Mardešić factory for the Sali Bay or the potential risk of transboundary pollution transport due to prevailing winds and surface sea currents for the Po Delta). In defining Guidelines for Contingency Plan, Project Partners intend to develop a common intervention strategy that will also clarify competences and responsibilities not only at regional and national level but also across borders.
The activities on the pilot sites resulted in the installation of specific technologies (such as sensors, cameras, drones and GIS geo-information systems) aimed at pollution detection and early warning system, closure, cleaning and safe disposal of pollutants and contextual remediation and sea quality monitoring.
The main results of the project were then collected in a project publication, addressed to professionals and technicians, in order to convey all the results of the project and establish a reference model applicable to non-Adriatic coastal belts and other seas.
This article reflects the views of the author and not the views of The Parliament Magazine or of the Dods Group