MESP Project: Managing the Environmental Sustainability of Ports for a durable development

The intensification of maritime traffic, both in terms of goods and passengers, needs to be accompanied by an environmentally sustainable management of port areas so to reduce harmful consequences for local populations. MESP addresses the reduction of water, air and noise pollution deriving from port activities through the implementation of a multidisciplinary approach, which encompasses technological, regulatory and administrative solutions.

The reinforcement of cooperation between port authorities, scientific organisations and public administrations will foster the diffusion and transfer in the Mediterranean area of sustainable management model of port areas developed by MESP project.

The general objective of MESP project is to guarantee the sustainability of port activities and an high level of life quality in the nearby areas.

The environment will be taken into consideration under three main sectors strongly characterizing ports areas: water, noise and air. The project is in the light of the growing needs to protect the population and the natural environment from the exposure to such kind of pollution sources. Ports represent today the main door of access to enter Europe and/or Middle-East territories and the strengthening of the motorway of the sea strategy by the EU brings to consider them not only as the main commercial platform, but also the main communication hub of the near future.

In this sense, ports areas and authorities have to manage a situation more and more critical from the point of view of traffic fluxes both in the sea and on the land. Besides, the increasing of commercial traffics induce to a consequent implementation of land processing on goods while the increase of people traffics brings to several problems concerning with the “parking” of big cruise boats. In particular, thanks to the analysis of the “status quo” of today ports condition, both in the Northern and Southern part of the Mediterranean basin, and thanks to an important research activity that will be carried out, MESP aims to reach the identification of best practice and procedures which can help the management authorities and the users of the port areas and infrastructures to reach an higher level of sustainability and to decrease the pollution level for what concern water, air and noise.

The project aims also to create the reproducibility of best practices and procedures easily applicable in both part of the Mediterranean Sea.
In details, the project proposes, on the short term, to:

1. Reduce pollution sources in ports and nearby urban areas;
2. Define methodologies, technologies and procedures adaptable to different port contexts and transferable in Mediterranean context;
3. Reinforce competences of public-decision makers and local administrators, particularly regarding the communication between people in charge of management and planning of port and nearby urban areas;
4. Guarantee environmental, economical and social sustainability in every expected actions, outputs and results. That permits to reach the port sustainability target;
5. To retrain degraded and unhealthy port areas and to give back to citizens, tourists and workers an healthier and usable environmentand, on the long term;
6. Create a long lasting cooperation network, that in a first time involves partners and then other Mediterranean ports interesting in sustainable development of their areas, infrastructures and procedures;
7. Formulate legislative tools giving the starting point for the creation of a common law for Mediterranean ports. In this way best-practice exchange and collaboration between research institutions around the development of sustainable approach and technologies in port ambit will be favourite.

8. Create certification processes for procedures and tools that allow objectively to value the sustainability of ports and the authority of persons in charge of their installation, management and maintenance.