International Workshop Addresses Soil Contamination and Monitoring Strategies

Oct 17, 2023

Copyright: Irida Haxhi

Dedicated to addressing soil contamination and monitoring strategies, an international workshop held in Tirana, Albania, convened experts and stakeholders from across Europe and the Western Balkans. Chaired by Martha Wepner-Banko from Umweltbundesamt (Environment Agency Austria) and Sigbert Huber from the same organization, the workshop was organized into two parts over two days.

Part 1: System for Identification of Contaminated Sites and Key Polluting Activities

The first part of the workshop commenced with a welcoming coffee session followed by opening remarks by Sigbert Huber and Abdulla Diku, laying out the agenda and providing guidance for the meeting. Participants engaged in a brief round of introductions before diving into discussions.

Key presentations included an overview of planned activities and deliverables for Depollution Soil by Martha Wepner-Banko, a survey on contaminated soil management in Europe and the USA by Iraklis Panagiotakis from Greece, and insights into the system for contaminated soil management in Austria.

Representatives from Serbia, Greece, and North Macedonia provided updates on the status of identifying contaminated sites and ongoing projects aimed at soil decontamination. The day concluded with a discussion on methods for identifying sites with potential contamination history and key polluting activities, with participants exchanging insights and ideas for application in the WB6 economies.

Part 2: Status of Monitoring Soil Pollution in WB6

The second day of the workshop, chaired by Sigbert Huber, focused on monitoring soil pollution in the Western Balkans. Presentations highlighted national and regional regulations, monitoring design and frequency, parameters measured, analytical methods used, and future plans for soil monitoring.

Experts from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia shared insights into their respective soil monitoring initiatives, facilitating discussions on similarities, differences, and future directions. The day concluded with an outlook on next steps and closing remarks by Sigbert Huber.

Throughout the workshop, participants engaged in fruitful exchanges, laying the groundwork for ongoing collaboration and the development of effective strategies to address soil contamination and monitoring challenges in the region.

The workshop concluded with a common dinner on October 16 and a common lunch on October 17, providing opportunities for informal networking and further discussions among participants.