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MSFD Descriptor 8 - Contaminants

MSFD Descriptor 8 - Contaminants. Michael O. Angelidis, UNEP/MAP on behalf of the Task Group 8 on MSFD Descriptor 8 (Chair R. Law, CEFAS, UK and co-Chair G. Hanke, JRC) Marine Strategy 2012 Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark, 14-16 May 2012. Contaminants - levels.

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MSFD Descriptor 8 - Contaminants

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  1. MSFD Descriptor 8 - Contaminants Michael O. Angelidis, UNEP/MAP on behalf of the Task Group 8 on MSFD Descriptor 8 (Chair R. Law, CEFAS, UK and co-Chair G. Hanke, JRC) Marine Strategy 2012 Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark, 14-16 May 2012

  2. Contaminants - levels “Concentrations of contaminants are at levels not giving rise to pollution effects” Contaminants are defined as substances (i.e. chemical elements and compounds) or groups of substances that are toxic, persistent and liable to bioaccumulate, and other substances or groups of substances which give rise to an equivalent level of concern. This definition is in line with the definition of hazardous substances used in the Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC (WFD), and by OSPAR, HELCOM and the Barcelona Convention.

  3. Contaminants - Effects Pollution effects : Direct and/or indirect adverse impacts of contaminants on the marine environment, such as: • harm to living resources and marine ecosystems, including loss of biodiversity • hazards to human health • hindering of marine activities, including fishing, tourism and recreation and other legitimate uses of the sea • impairment of the quality for use of sea water • reduction of amenities or, in general, impairment of the sustainable use of marine goods and services.

  4. Coverage of the Descriptor The descriptor is concerned with the pressures exerted by chemical pollution onto marine ecosystems (including oil slicks). All contaminant types and pollution effects other than those covered by other descriptors will be considered Not covered: • Nutrients (D5) • Introduction of energy (D11) • Health issues related to contaminants in fish and seafood (D9) • Tar balls (primarily aesthetic D10 – Marine litter) • Marine algal toxins (they are natural products rather than contaminants)

  5. Relation of MSFD D8 with WFD WFD • Establishes requirements for good surface water chemical status, including transitional, coastal and territorial waters. • Chemical status is defined in terms of compliance with environmental quality standards (EQSs) established for chemical substances at European level. Directive 2008/105/EC sets EQSs for the priority substances and certain other pollutants in accordance with WFD requirements. MS are required to take actions to meet those quality standards by 2015. • Directive 2009/90/EC lays down, pursuant to Directive 2000/60/EC, technical specifications for chemical analysis and monitoring

  6. Relations MSFD - WFD:Substances and group of substances to be considered in the MSFD(COM DEC 2010/477/EU) MSFD: “Relevant provisions of the WFD in territorial and/or coastal waters have to be taken into consideration to ensure proper coordination of the implementation of the two legal frameworks…” MS have to consider substances that: • exceed the relevant Environmental Quality Standards (WFD 2000/60/EC) in coastal or territorial waters adjacent to the marine region or sub-region, be it in water, sediment and biota, • are listed as priority substances in Annex X to Directive 2000/60/EC and further regulated in Directive 2008/105/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, which are discharged into the concerned marine region, sub-region or subdivision, • are contaminants and their total releases (including losses, discharges or emissions) may entail significant risks to the marine environment from past and present pollution in the marine region, subregion or subdivision concerned, including as a consequence of acute pollution events following incidents involving for instance hazardous and noxious substances.

  7. Conceptual approach The assessment of achievement of GES should be based upon monitoring programmes covering: • concentrations of chemical contaminants • biological measurements relating to the effects of pollutants on marine organisms To avoid occurrence of adverse effects at various levels of organisation (organism, population, community, and ecosystem), monitoring schemes should also indicate the approaching of critical values as an early warning of the potential for effects. Where possible, this should also include effects which may be caused by synergistic or cumulative interactions between different contaminants.

  8. Regional Seas Conventions activities With regards to hazardous substances: OSPAR and HELCOM aim to continuously reduce discharges, emissions and losses of hazardous substances, with complete cessation by 2020, the ultimate aim being the achievement of concentrations in the marine environment near background values for naturally occurring elements and substances and close to zero for man-made synthetic substances. The Barcelona Convention (UNEP/MAP) aims to prevent, abate, combat and to fullest possible extent eliminate pollution of the Mediterranean Sea. Also (LBS Protocol) to phase out inputs of substances that are toxic, persistent and liable to bioaccumulation. The Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution (Bucharest Convention) implements an integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme.

  9. Criteria Level • Concentrations of contaminants in water, sediment and biota are below assessment thresholds identified on the basis of toxicological data • Levels of pollution effects are below assessment thresholds representing harm at organism, population, community and ecosystem levels Trend • Concentrations of contaminants in water, sediment and biota, and the occurrence and severity of pollution effects, should not be increasing BOTH attributes needed for GES

  10. Criteria - Concentrations GES description on concentrations of contaminants (PRESURES): • Environmental concentrations of contaminants are below Environmental Quality Standards (EQSs) derived under the Water Framework Directive . Environmental targets: • Concentrations of naturally occurring pollutants (as heavy metals) should be close to background reference levels. • Concentrations of synthetic pollutants should be close to zero.

  11. Criteria - Effects GES description on biological effects of contaminants (IMPACTS): • The effects of contaminants on selected biological processes and taxonomic groups, where a cause/effect relationship has been established, are kept within agreed levels Environmental targets: • The intensity of biological or ecological effects due to contaminants is below the toxicologically-based standards

  12. Data availability - monitoring • Contaminants concentrations in sediment and biota but scope and scale varies • Biological effects monitoring less developed Therefore • GES will be based on relatively small number of contaminants and biological effects • Harmonization is needed for contaminants and matrices but where needed develop targeted monitoring programmes • Harmonize Regional Seas Conventions monitoring approach • Assessment criteria have to be developed and agreed upon

  13. Methodological standards availability • Methodological standards available at Regional Seas Conventions • Chemical analytical methods are standardized and subject to quality control procedures • Biological effects methods: small number validated and quality controlled, but increasing

  14. Possible improvements • Spatial coverage of European Seas • Open sea and off-shore environment • Screening for emerging pollutants • Passive sampling • Multi-sensor buoys and marine stations • Biogeochemical Modelling (coupling biogeochemical, ecological, sedimentary, hydrodynamic and atmospheric models), • Bioaccumulation and bioamplification Models (How and why chemical contaminants bioaccumulation differs among contaminants, species, food chains and environments using kinetic parameters of uptake, transfer and excretion)

  15. Research needs • Understanding ecosystem responses to pollution Causal relationships and mechanistic processes between contaminants and their effects on biota. Especially mixture effects and interactions between contaminants and other environmental stressors • Knowledge of the marine foodwebs with regard to contaminants Transfer of contaminants through thefod chain: Bioaccumulation, biomagnification, additive, synergistic and antagonistic effects • Contaminant uptake and effects to top predators • Sources identification and quantitative apportionment Fluxes and interfaces exchanges (sea/air, water/sediment) • Monitoring methods improvement Cost effective methods for greater amount of contaminants • Deep sea research Cost effective sampling; sensors on board of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles • Passive sampling techniques (temporally integrated technique for priority and emerging pollutants • Biological effects techniques

  16. Summary • The approach is to rely on the levels established by the WFD (EQSs). • The target is based on a quantitative description. • There is a gap in the biological effects of contaminants (insufficient knowledge to define targets). Further needs • Agreement at (sub-) regional level on the development of supplementary EQSs and relevant matrix (e.g. for sediment, biota) and Environmental Assessment Criteria (EACs) • Agreement at (sub-) regional level on biological effects of contaminants • Development of associated indicators (at the appropriate level)

  17. Thank you

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