Analysing and evaluating chemical pollution – that is the goal of the new European large-scale project MODELKEY, starting in February. Under the management of the Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle, Germany (UFZ) researchers in 13 countries will be developing methods to identify so-called key chemicals and their effect on the water ecosystem until the year 2010. Three model rivers will be researched from their source to the mouth: River Elbe (Czech Republic/ Germany), River Schelde (Belgium/ The Netherlands), and River Llobregat (Spain). These three rivers are situated in different climate regions and all suffer from industrial pollution. The findings will later be passed on to all EU member states. The project, involving a total of 25 different research institutions, is subsidised with 8.4 million Euro by the EU. The name of the project, MODELKEY, stands for Models for Assessing and Forecasting the Impact of Environmental Key Pollutants on Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems and Biodiversity. The kick-off for MODELKEY will take place from 28th February to 5th March in Spain.
The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) has committed all states to see that their surface waters are in good chemical and ecological condition by the year 2015. The goal of the guidelines is to create common standards for surface and groundwater. In this way pollution should be stemmed and the condition of the ecosystem improved in order to protect the water resources in the long-term. The Water Framework Directive has divided the ecological water quality into five grades from bad to very good. By 2015 all surface waters should be of at least grade II (good status). In particular many ecosystems in industrialised regions of Europe have not reached the “good” status. Although the chemical parameters in Germany more or less fulfil the requirements, the Ministry of the Environment sees large deficits in the biological parameters. The job of the MODELKEY project is to find the causes of these problems and develop solutions for them.
Doris Boehme | alfa
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