A government bill to help remove hazardous materials from the bottom of the Baltic Sea has been published

On Friday, a draft amendment to the Act on the Republic of Poland and Maritime Administration was published on the website of the Government Legislation Centre, which aims to facilitate the functioning of the maritime administration and other entities related to the management and handling of hazardous materials lying in the maritime areas of the Republic of Poland. These include, as written in the explanatory memorandum, wreckage, conventional weapons and toxic warfare agents, among others.

The explanatory memorandum notes that only just over 30 per cent of Poland’s maritime areas have been bathymetrically identified in detail, making it impossible to assess the true scale of the threats and challenges involved.

The Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) of the project indicated that studies to date have collected data on 639 point objects and 44 areas in the Baltic. As explained, point objects are specific objects lying on the seabed, meaning that their location has been determined using geographical coordinates. Areas, on the other hand, are places where objects of a given type are likely to occur, but without indicating specific locations.

Point objects were categorised into: wreck-hazardous (40 objects), wreck-undetermined (309 objects), wreck-safe (157 objects), conventional weapons (124 objects), poisonous warfare agents (9 objects). Areas, in turn, were divided into: conventional weapons areas (41) and CW agent areas (3 areas).

It was recalled that, with regard to dumped hazardous materials, work has been ongoing for several years to develop a comprehensive systemic management of this issue. As a result of the inter-ministerial work carried out so far, it was pointed out that a clear division of tasks carried out or supervised by individual ministries strictly according to their areas of competence is evident in the public administration.

“These tasks, scattered in legal acts of various ranks, developed by the ministries competent for a given activity, do not form a coherent system, and their location in many documents makes it definitely difficult to find and implement them”. – it added.

It was emphasised that in view of the results of the inter-ministerial teams, action should be taken to put the regulations in order by creating a chapter in the Act on Maritime Areas of the Republic of Poland and Maritime Administration dedicated to dumped hazardous materials, which includes indications of already existing regulations with information on their application in the case of undertaking activities related to the management of dumped hazardous materials, and appropriate additions to the missing regulations.

“Such a solution will enable a more efficient coordination of the tasks carried out by the various ministries, as well as by scientific and private entities whose scope of activities includes the identification, investigation, monitoring and neutralisation of dumped hazardous materials,” – it pointed out.

It was added that the draft amendment is linked to reform B3.2 ‘Support for environmental remediation and protection against hazardous substances’ enshrined in the National Recovery Plan.

In addition, the proposed amendments are intended to make it practically possible to implement another project identified in the NIP related to the neutralisation of hazards and the restoration of large-scale degraded areas and the Baltic Sea.

Source: PortalMorski.pl

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