Work to assess what potentially hazardous waste and wrecks lay beneath the surface of the Baltic Sea kick-starts today in a HELCOM expert in Szczecin, Poland. More precisely, the product will be a one off HELCOM thematic assessment on environmental risks of hazardous submerged objects covering contaminated wrecks, lost or dumped dangerous goods – e.g. containers – and other objects. The work builds on and expands the outcome of the completed HELCOM work on dumped chemical munitions, summarized in a published in 2013. ‘Chemical Munitions Dumped in the Baltic Sea’ compiles the latest available knowledge on dumping chemical munitions in the past, the state of these materials, and the potential threat to the marine environment and humans. In the view of the increasing utilization of the seafloor for economic purposes – e.g., offshore wind farms, sea cables, pipelines – the risk of encountering hazardous submerged objects is growing. The new expert group on environmental risks of hazardous submerged objects () will work mainly via correspondence but will also meet in person annually. Documents will be public after the meeting. * * * Note for editors:The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as , is an intergovernmental organization 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 been the governing body of 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:Hermanni Backer Professional Secretary for Maritime, Response and Maritime Spatial Planning HELCOM Tel: +358 46 8509199 Skype: helcom02 E-mail: hermanni.backer(at)helcom.fiJohanna Laurila Information Secretary HELCOM Tel: +358 40 523 8988 Skype: helcom70 E-mail: johanna.laurila(at)helcom.fi
Work starts today for a HELCOM thematic assessment on environmental risks of hazardous submerged objects, such as contaminated wrecks, lost or dumped dangerous goods (e.g. containers) and other objects.