MERCW - Modelling of Environmental Risks related to sea-dumped Chemical Weapons

The research proposed in the MERCW project carries out focused research and technology developments on the Bornholm dumpsite in the Baltic Sea. The aim is to model the transport pathways and migration spreading of toxic agents in marine sediments and the marine environment. The final goal is to assess the ecological safety for the ecosystem and people of the coastal states near the dumpsite.

The Bornholm dumpsite is located in the western Baltic, east of the island of Bornholm. Over 35.000 tons were dumped in water depths ranging between 70 and 120 m. The CW contained an estimated 13.000 tons of toxic agents. Most CW was thrown over board packed in crates or containers, but possibly some ships were also sunk (Helcom 1994, Duursma, E.K. (ed.) 1999).
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The main objectives of the project involve:

  • To develop and apply innovative, integrated geophysical, geo- and hydrochemical, hydrographical, and hydrobiological site investigations;
  • To evaluate and model the release, migration and degradation of toxic compounds as well as their degradation products in the environment;
  • To develop a regional ecological risk assessment model;
  • To illustrate the results from the risk assessment using innovative visualisation;
  • To develop an indicator concept for use in decision-making based on the DPSIR-concept (framework that distinguishes driving Forces, Pressures, States, Impacts and Responses).

The MERCW project is funded by the European Commission (Sixth EU Framework programme, Contract no INCO-CT-2005- 013408) for three years (2005–2008).


Photos: Shirshov Institute of Oceanology (2006)

 
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In Bornholm over
35.000 tons were
dumped in water
depths ranging
between 70 and 120 m.