Assessing the impact of the Gothenburg protocol in the Czech Republic
At the Czech Geological Survey in Prague, Dr Jakub Hruška is leading a €1.1 million research project to measure changes in sulphur and nitrogen pollution in the Czech Republic.
The former Republic of Czechoslovakia used to be responsible for some of the most significant sulphur and nitrogen emissions in the world, leading to large-scale pollution of waters and destruction of mountain forests. Efforts to reduce emissions were first put in place in 1989, more than a decade later than in Western European countries.
Working closely with the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), a leading research institution within the field of acidification, Dr Hruška and his research team are now monitoring and measuring the level of improvement in ecosystem conditions since the signing of the Gothenburg Protocol. Through this 1995 agreement, the Czech Republic has committed to reducing sulphur, nitrogen oxides and ammonia emissions by 2010. The Czech research team is re-sampling sites that were surveyed before the implementation of the Protocol, to determine changes in pollution levels in waters, soils and forests. Two thirds of the costs are covered by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
"It is very important to be aware of the level of acidification in order to be able to reduce emissions in the whole country effectively, as well as to contribute to negotiations post-Gothenburg", Dr Hruška said. "New negotiations have just begun, and an accurate comparison will help us determine what areas have now recovered completely, and which ones will need further reductions. Hence, we could achieve a better targeted plan to deal with sulphur and nitrogen emissions", he continued.
Two years into project implementation, the Czech Geological Survey is well on track to map the pollution levels in the Czech Republic. "We are hoping our project results will lead to effective and accurate negotiation of a new protocol for the Czech Republic once the Gothenburg protocol expires," Dr Hruška concluded.
The Assessment of Impact of the Gothenburg Protocol on Acidified and Eutrophied Soils and Waters
Type & project assistance:
Czech Geological Survey, CGS (Ceská geologická sluba, CGS)
Type of institution:
EEA Grants and Norway Grants
Grant agreement date:
08 June 2007
The purpose of the Project is to propose targeted atmospheric load reductions in percentage for affected areas in the Czech Republic to support negotiating European emission ceilings after 2010, with the overall objective of extending the area of ecosystems in the Czech Republic protected from the effects of acidification, eutrophication and heavy metal contamination. Reference is made to the application, dated 30 May 2006, and correspondence from the Focal Point dated 7 December 2006 and 20 December 2006.
The completed Project shall include the following activities and results:
1. Sampling of surface waters providing a basis for mapping stream water chemistry and calculation of critical loads for soils and waters in the Czech Republic.
2. Evaluation of long-term chemical trends in intensively monitored catchments, forest experimental areas, and lakes and prediction of their future development, considering anticipated future scenarios of European emission of sulphur and nitrogen substances and their deposition in the Czech Republic.
3. Evaluation of processes governing the nitrogen dynamics in two strongly acidified and nitrogen saturated catchment-lake ecosystems in the Bohemian Forest.
The three project levels will be used to determine the desired level of sulphur and nitrogen emissions in the Czech Republic after 2010 and to develop a new national emission control strategy.
The Project Promoter is the Czech Geological Survey, CGS (Ceská geologická služba, CGS). The Project has two partners, the Hydrobiological Institute (HBÚ) of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA).
The Project Promoter shall provide at least 32.31 percent of the estimated eligible Project cost.