The project will establish an innovative approach to assess the risks posed by mixtures of micropollutants in the Belgian coastal zone.

The overall aims of the project are to:

  1. develop an innovative and comprehensive multi-method approach to monitor (targeted analysis) and screen (untargeted analysis) for a broad range of waterborne pollutants (organic compounds and metals) in Belgian coastal waters.
  2. apply a unique combination of field and laboratory ecotoxicological and chemical techniques to establish the environmental risk of realistic mixtures of contaminants.
  3. develop and evaluate a framework and toolbox for monitoring the chemical anthropogenic pressures on coastal ecosystems.

This research project will:

  1. develop and validate, possibly for the first time, the combined and integrated use of passive samplers, innovative mass spectrometric based instrumental analysis and ecotoxicological studies to assess the environmental status of the marine environment. This integrated approach will lead to the development of novel procedures for comprehensive environmental monitoring and risk assessment of a broad set of priority and emerging marine contaminants;
  2. generate unique knowledge and data - including the development and validation of extended integrated risk assessment and monitoring procedures - required to fulfil international regulatory requirements (WFD, MSFD) and/or commitments (e.g. OSPAR) and;
  3. develop and validate an integrated model to quantify the environmental status of the Belgian coastal zone by predicting accumulation, trophic transfer and effects of chemicals in its local ecosystem;
  4. be of utmost importance to demonstrate the use of the developed tools and procedures for the further development of a sustainable integrated coastal management system for the Belgian coast and its marine resources.