Sitemap Contact Events New Home

Database of research projects FEDRA


Research actions



Research and applications > Projectendatabanken > Database of research projects FEDRA

Quality status and terrestrial inputs for the North Sea

Research project MN/DD2/001 (Research action MN)

Persons :

Description :

This project covers two specific tasks in relation to a sustainable development of the North Sea: (1) drafting chapter IV of the Quality Status Report of the Greater North Sea and (2) establishing the most recent contamination fluxes from the Belgian territory to the North Sea.

Task (1):
The assessment process is based upon the most recent information available from national and international sources, including OSPAR committees and specialist working groups, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), published reports and the scientific literature. Although most of the information relates to the 1990s, some topics assessed required the use of earlier data, either because the recent record is sparse or because trend analysis involves consideration of historical data. While every effort has been made to ensure the comparability of data from different times and locations, methodologies may differ considerably and some comparisons will, inevitably, be tenuous. Chapter four contains the latest available information on developments in riverine, sea- based and atmospheric inputs of contaminants, such as heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants, oil, radionuclides and nutrients. For the various groups of substances, geographic and temporal comparisons are made of concentrations in water, sediment and biota. Whenever possible, environmental risks are assessed.

Task (2):
Although this task is inherently linked to the former one, it only deals with the Belgian situation and the acquisition of new, unreported data. For each of the 3 Regions a state of the art on atmospheric and riverine inputs of contaminants is provided. These data will allow to establish temporal trends and to ensure that Belgium complies with the North Sea Conferences’ agreements on input reductions of hazardous substances to the North Sea.

The repartition of the workload between the members of the troïka was mainly based on a selection of contaminants: ANCH, VUB (nutrients, Hg and tributyltin); MiTAC, UIA (organic pollutants, radionuclides); Chemical Oceanography, ULB (trace metals, oils).


- The drafting of chapter IV (Chemistry) of QSR 2000. The report has been recently published.
- The drafting of the individual contaminant flux charts from land (Belgian territory) to sea and the comparison with previously established fluxes.


The co-ordinator, the Department of Analytical and Environmental Chemistry (ANCH, VUB) of the free university of Brussels (Dr. W. Baeyens), Member of BRUEGEL (Brussels Research Unit of Environmental, Geochemical and Life Sciences Studies) has over 30 years experience in Marine Research. The main research topics actually include pollution (trace metals, organo-metals, PCBs and dioxins) and productivity (N-cycling, Ba export).

The UIA tasks of the project are carried out in the Micro- and Trace Analysis Center (MiTAC) of Antwerp University (Dr. R. Van Grieken). The laboratory has a long experience in developing and applying various micro- and trace analytical techniques suitable for environmental research. Atmospheric pollution is a major environmental research topic.

The laboratory of Chemical Oceanography (Dr. R. Wollast) of the Free University of Brussels (ULB) is specialised in estuarine and marine research of biogeochemical processes and cycles. The laboratory was coordinator of the large-scale Ocean Margin Export project (OMEX) of the EU.

Documentation :

For further information:
Vrije Universiteit Brussel - Laboratorium voor Analytische Scheikunde
Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussel
Tel: (02) 629 32 63 Fax: (02) 629 32 74 E-mail:

Evaluatie van de chemische contaminatie van de Noordzee en schatting van de verontreiniging van land: samenvatting    Brussel: DWTC, 2002 (SP1040)
[To download

Evaluation de la contamination chimique de la mer du Nord et estimation de la pollution terrigène: résumé    Bruxelles: SSTC, 2002 (SP1041)
[To download

Quality status and terrestrial inputs for the North Sea: summary    Brussels: OSTC, 2002 (SP1042)
[To download

Evaluatie van de chemische contaminatie van de Noordzee en schatting van de verontreiniging van land : eindrapport = Evaluation de la contamination chimique de la mer du Nord et estimation de la pollution terrigène : rapport final  Baeyens, W. - Van Grieken, R. - Wollast, R.  Brussel : DWTC, 2002 (SP1101)

About this website

Cookies policy

Personal data

© 2020 Science Policy PPS