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MDG requests funds for sustainable dredging at Borg Havn – Dagsavisen

Une Bastholm is a parliamentary representative for MDG. (Mimsy Møller)

On the Storting’s website you can read that Une Bastholm has today sent a written question to Climate and Environment Minister Espen Barth Eide (AP).

Here, she expresses concern that buried environmental toxins can be further spread when the dredging work starts, and the masses are to be placed in a marine landfill.

Bastholm asks:

“The fairway to Borg harbor will be dredged and improved. The area is characterized by large amounts of environmental toxins in the sediments. Nevertheless, it is now planned to use a marine landfill for the masses to be dredged, so that what are potentially toxic masses marked by years of pollution are moved to another place in the sea where the toxins can spread. Will the minister arrange for sufficient funds to be set aside so that the work as a whole can be made more sustainable through the use of suction dredging and landfill?”

Therefore, it must be dredged

  • Every day, more than 40 lorry loads of loose materials flow from Glomma into the harbor area and the entrance to Borg harbour. In some places it is now two to three meters shallower than in the mid-1990s.
  • The constantly reduced depth has made it necessary to set restrictions on the approach, in order to safeguard maritime safety and reduce the risk of accidents that could harm both human life and the environment.
  • The purpose of the dredging project, i.e. to move sand and mud from the seabed to another location, is among other things to reduce the likelihood of grounding and collisions between ships in the approach to Borg harbour.
  • Trial dredging will start on 24 October, and is scheduled to last for two to three weeks. The main project is estimated to last over 16 months (two seasons), with a planned start in autumn 2023.

Source: Kystverket

Creates great debate

The debate about the dredging at the fairway to Borg Havn has been going on in Fredrikstad for a long time.

AP mayors Siri Martinsen, Sindre Martinsen-Evje and Mona Hauger have written about why it is important to dredge the entrance to Borg Havn.

The action group Redd Hvalerskjærgården has stated that they do not want the excavated masses to be buried elsewhere in the sea.

Now the questions about both the dredging method and whether the masses should be placed on land or in the sea are raised to national level.

It should just be missing, says Erik Skauen, group leader in Fredrikstad MDG.

– The Oslofjord is the area where the most people live, it is the fjord with the most biological diversity, and it is the fjord that struggles the most. When we are going to have our biggest dredging operation of our time, in an important commercial area, national authorities must understand that we must do maintenance dredging in the best possible way, he says.

He is clear that the MDG understands the importance of making the approach to Borg Havn as safe as possible, but thinks it is backward that in 2022 you can even consider putting the landfill at sea.

Skauen believes it is about short-term economic thinking.

Debatt: Dropp bøtte og spade i mudringen av Hvalerskjærgården ]

– Cannot be done in 2022

– Sea dumping is the cheapest, but we cannot do that in 2022. We will dredge one of the most stressed waterways, environmentally, in Norway. We cannot be stingy when it comes to doing it here. We are talking about cleaning up ten, fifty and hundred year old sins. We’ll do that sometime. So we have to remove that toxic mass, put it on land, and have control over them in the future, he says.

Erik Skauen, group leader for Fredrikstad MDG. (Erik Wiggo Larsen)

The sins he refers to are the emissions and dumping in the sea that took place before regulations and regulations on this came into place.

– And if we are to dredge again in 25 years’ time, these will be cleaner masses. There are completely different emission rules now than in 1950. It is crucial that we do the right thing with the promise we are making now. We must remove the poison problem that has been allowed to exist for a lifetime or two.

But why is it so dangerous to have a marine landfill?

– We have an Oslofjord that is already struggling. There has been a deterioration of the Oslo Fjord for several generations. Dredging is basically demanding for nature itself, and in that case landfill must be the last resort. By using a marine landfill, in the worst case, highly polluting masses can be deposited on the seabed further out into the Archipelago.

As of now, the plan is to lay a membrane, or masses of sand, over the mud masses to keep the fine particles in place.

Debatt: Mudring ved Borg havn: – Rødt er urolige ]

Fears the spread of poison

– Then we have to accept that current conditions, large floods and more weather can affect these mud masses, and can move in one year and in fifteen years. We have no guarantee that they will lie down. Mud dumps on the seabed expose wildlife to toxins later. Eelgrass is struggling, lobster, cod, trout and crayfish are struggling. Everything struggles with siltation.

He believes that it is important to create landfill space on land now, because the problem is the biggest right now. Then you’d better find a place for the less polluted masses in the future, he believes.

– We cannot continue to use the sea as a dumping ground. Even if it disappears out of our field of vision, it is not the same as disappearing.

He encourages people to think about how this could affect Fredrikstad and Hvaler in the future.

– If this has enormous consequences, how will it affect tourism? Fishing, the marine business community, boaters? Are we willing to take the risk now, which means that we have too much heavy metals and toxins in shrimp and fish? Are we interested in gambling on it, he asks, and continues:

– Or should we tell the state that the dredging is necessary, but then we have to allocate the money it costs to do it properly?

Oslofjorden utsatt for fremmede marine arter: Fredrikstad kategoriseres med svært høy risiko ]

The article is in Norwegian

Tags: MDG requests funds sustainable dredging Borg Havn Dagsavisen

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