Case Study: WAIT
Location: Puck Bay, Poland
Lead: The Institute of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, PL
WAIT activities are focusing on the quantitative assessment of pollutant flux to the coastal zone originating from decaying algae and seagrass on the beaches, and the profit from removal of wrack material for uptake of pollutants and nutrients from the Baltic Sea. Nutrients, mercury, cadmium and other metals, as well as organic pollutants are accumulated by the algae and plants while they are at sea. Upon beach casting they decay and release all accumulated chemicals to the coastal zone. Removal of decaying plants and algae will clean up the ecosystem – WAIT is quantifying this process to estimate the added value for the sea.
An intrinsic part of case studies of the CONTRA is assessment of pollutant flux linked to the beach wrack. This topic is a core of case study 6a WAIT which is fulfilled by Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Sciences. The study is conducted in two places along the Puck Bay (Poland): unmanaged beach at Rzucewo and managed city beach in Puck. The unmanaged site profile is very protean and abundant with decaying seagrass and algae, manmade litter are present on both sites. Until now, samples were collected monthly since April 2019. Results show that beach cleaning does not damage beach biodiversity, and analyzed chemicals indicate that both in case of nutrients and contaminants, beach cast can be identified as a vector transporting those substances from the sea into beach and coastal water. Contaminants become increasingly bioavailable during the algae decay. Therefore, it seems that beach management could be used as a semi natural method to clean the Baltic Sea.
Monthly collection of samples (photo copyrights: Kajetan Deja)
The CONTRA partners are from Germany, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Russia and Estonia. The project runs from 2019 to 2021 and is supported financially by the European Regional Development Fund, ERDF.