Ocean, water and soil
We are convinced that it is more than possible to stop polluting the ocean, the water and the soil. And there are plans to make this happen.
Cooperation between the different departments in the City Council is absolutely crucial in order to meet the demands from the Water Framework Directive for a Cleaner Ocean.
A greener fjord
In the port area there have been a range of different industries, businesses and activities for centuries, and pollution has sadly been a natural consequence of a busy life at the port. There is still old pollution both in the soil and in the ocean sediments in and around the port.
A project was started in 2006 to do something about the pollution in the fjord. The Clean Oslofjord Project removed 450.000 m3 of contaminated material from the harbour basin, thereby preventing any further resuspension and dispersal of these environmental toxins.
The contaminated materials were placed deep under the sea, 60 metres below the surface, in an area outside Malmøykalven that was already contaminated by a centry-old ship graveyard. The masses and some other areas were then covered with 40 centimetres or more of clean sand. Just as we had hoped, this particular part of the fjord is now much cleaner than the surrounding areas.
The Clean Oslofjord Project also had an ecological side. More than 100 artificial reefs were placed underneath the urban development area called Tjuvholmen. Later more reefs were deployed in Bjørvika outside the Opera House. The lobster took these ecological improvements as an invitation for it to return to the fjord, and is now back in our harbor for the first time in decades.
The Clean Oslofjord Project was a great success, and the areas went from being classidfied as moderately or extremely polluted (classification III-V), to being classified as clean or only lightly polluted (classification I-II). All reports from the project can be found at the website www.renoslofjord.no, but unfortunately the information is currently only available in Norwegian.
The city is still polluting our ocean
The focus has shifted from removing old pollution to preventing new pollution. Projects like Clean Oslofjord, are costly and of little use if new contaminants repollute the clean but sensitive areas.
The Water Framework Directive states that all water need to achieve good ecological and chemical status. The Port of Oslo participates in a research group that looks at measures to achieve this long-term goal in the Oslo Watershed area.
The Port of Oslo has a Bluegreen strategy iand this is a clear indicator of our contribution to this work. The strategy shows the connection between grey, blue and green surfaces, and how a holistic approach is necessary to reduce the risk of land activities polluting the ocean.
An array of measures are suggested to make this happen, such as using ropes with blue mussels for water filtration and infiltrating surface water in rain beds. But it is no doubt that the most important measure is monitoring. We need to monitor the progress of the work and try to locate sources of pollution in order to improve the water quality over time.