Helping to minimize impact of any disposed material containing heavy metals and other hazardous substances is the ultimate goal of the dredged material Baltic expert meeting continuing today. HELCOM Guidelines which concern dredged material needs revising, the last being adopted in 2007, to better follow processes at the global level () and in the neighbouring marine regions such as North-East Atlantic (). The 2-day expert group meeting looks closely into recent legislative and technological developments and project outcomes related to dredging, in order to optimally update the guidelines for the Baltic Sea area. Dredging is essential to maintain navigation in ports and harbours as well as for developing port facilities. However, dredging represents one of the human pressures onto marine environment hence it impacts sea floor integrity; releases and relocates contamination; and disturbs sea life by noise, turbidity and siltation. Bottom sediments being dredged, especially within port areas, often contain a cocktail of hazardous substances accumulated there as a result of human activities upstream. Only material which is considered “clean” can be disposed at sea. Some of the dredged material from within the Baltic Sea area is, by its nature, either uncontaminated or only slightly contaminated by human activity – i.e. at, or close to, natural background levels. Such material can be utilised for various beneficial purposes such as land reclamation, beach nourishing and dykes. The revised HELCOM Guidelines for the disposal of dredged material at sea should address options for sustainable handling of both contaminated and “clean” material, avoiding loss of resources and at the same time not compromising good environmental status. * * *Note for editors:The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as , is an intergovernmental organisation of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union working to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region. Since 1974, HELCOM has governed the ‘Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area’, more commonly known as the Helsinki Convention. * * *For further information, please contact:Mikhail Durkin Professional Secretary – LAND Group, AGRI/ENV FORUM, FISH/ENV FORUM E-mail: email@example.comTel. +358 46 850 9195 Skype: helcom04 Johanna Laurila Information Secretary Tel: +358 40 523 8988 Skype: helcom70 E-mail:
Helping to minimize impact of any disposed material containing heavy metals and other hazardous substances is the ultimate goal of the dredged material Baltic expert meeting.