The closing workshop for the project “Monitoring Organic and Inorganic Pollutants in Sediments and Mussels on the Egyptian Coasts of the Red Sea, Gulf of Suez and Gulf of Aqaba” was conducted at Biet el Qahera in Cairo, Egypt on Monday December 15th 2014. It took place under the patronage of HE Eng. Ahmad Abu el Soud, CEO of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Authority.Dr. Kawthar Hefny, Head of the Central Administration of Disasters Management, presented the opening remarks and participated in the workshop on behalf of the CEO.The workshop was attended by Dr. Mohammad Badran, Director of Project Management at PERSGA; representatives from the Institute of Marine Sciences and Fisheries (NIOF) Dr. Ahmad el Nemr and Dr. Mamdouh Fahmy; the project’s National Coordinator, Ms. Amany Selim and about 30 participants from the central and branch offices of EEAA.
In her opening address on behalf of the EEAA, Dr. Kawthar commented on the fruitful collaboration between EEAA and PERSGA. She emphasized the importance of the project through which the workshop was being organized, noting that monitoring organic and inorganic pollutants has become an essential indicator for national environmental health and a strong driver of international cooperation. She expressed thanks to PERSGA for supporting the project and to the PERSGA representative for being personally available to participate in the workshop. She appreciated the serious efforts of the National Coordinator and the Regional Coordinator of the project and thanked all EEAA staff who had participated. She also acknowledged the fruitful collaboration with NIOF and expressed her appreciation to them for their role as a technical consultant. The PERSGA representative, in turn, expressed his gratitude to EEAA for executing the project, noting its importance and pointing out that PERSGA is interested in expanding the project model to other countries across the region depending on their interests and capabilities. He pointed out that the project could never have come so far towards achieving its objectives without the continuous support of the two administrations, EEAA and PERSGA.
Technical presentations focused on the importance of monitoring pollutants in the coastal and marine environment. Monitoring levels of organic and inorganic pollutants in mussels is an effective indicator of their bioavailabilityand their propensity to accumulate in living organisms. Monitoring the accumulation of pollutants in sediments can provide a historical record of chemical discharge to the environment over time. Monitoring pollutants in the Red Sea takes on additional importance as it represents a strategic water body and is a rich source of income for the communities living around it. The methodology of the project was focused onlearning by practical experience.The samples collected and analyzed indicated that the concentrations of inorganic and organic pollutants vary between the different sampling sites according to the human activities taking place. However, all measured concentrations were within safe, acceptable ranges according to the international literature.
The Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden