Moving towards a comprehensive vision of marine pollution emergencies

On May 5, we attended the simulacrum of implementation of the Inland Maritime Plan of the Port of Avilés, in which Inteco Astur proceeded to deploy the necessary means to limit, contain and eliminate a spill of sulfuric acid from a source of discharge which, In the first phase of the exercise, the elimination of the contaminating source was simulated by means of an adequate obturation.

After the work of containment on land, a marine containment barrier was demarcated, limiting the area potentially at risk that could be contaminated, in order to prevent possible damage to the port water sheet. All this with the proper control of the area to avoid damages to the people who, there, could transit.

Simulacro Inteco Astur - Puerto de AvilésFrom the previous narrative we could interpret that the response to an incident of this nature begins and ends with the intervention of a single intervention group before the incident. Nothing is further from reality. The current complexity of technological processes with the capacity to generate emergencies involves the participation of numerous specialists, among which we can highlight the operators of dangerous goods pier and the safety advisers of the merchandise freight to give an example.

Likewise, the National Response System for Marine Pollution (SNRCM) implies

The activation of a series of essential management bodies in order to adequately channel the information of the event, as well as guaranteeing, where appropriate, the increase “ad infinitum” of the means and resources necessary to combat risk by integrating into the plans Of superior scope.

Within this scenario, we must also have a key factor: environmental emergencies – as was the case with this spill – may well trigger the activation of the public civil protection system as long as the possibility of emission of gases The contact with the water sheet of the product – or a simple error in the management and manipulation of the source of the discharge – the simple damage of the transport, for example – are scenarios that would activate the same one. It is not in vain that the SNRCM implies alerting the coastal response subsystem – within the scope of civil protection managed by the SEPA – to emergencies involving the activation of the Inland Maritime Plans.

And the city councils? It is very clear that they can not be inhibited in the events contemplated in the Inland Maritime Plans, and must have adequate coordination with the Port Authority through the mechanisms established by the legislation for these cases: by drafting, implementing and maintaining their corresponding Plan Territorial Emergencies, subsequently developing the obligatory Local Plan to Combat Pollution, also achieving a greater framework of protection of coastal pollution thanks to technical mechanisms that allow the prevention of landfills with potential capacity of Affect the port or the coast.

Everything seems to indicate that we have to move towards a comprehensive and integrative management of emergencies, whether they affect the environment or the goods, because, finally, who really harm is to society itself and, therefore, to people.