Assessment of the selected POPs (PCBs, PCDDs/Fs, OCPs) in the atmosphere and water ecosystems from the waste materials generated by warfare in former Yugoslavia

About Project



General objectives of the research
In the last decades, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and especially polyhalogenated aromatics have become a major issue of research in order to investigate their ubiquitous environmental occurrence, biochemical and toxic effects, human exposure and health risk assessment. Some of these have been produced intentionally in a wide variety of commercial applications because of their excellent technological or pesticide properties. Other persistent and very toxic pollutants such as polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans have been formed as undesirable by-products.

Specific scientific and technological objectives
In general, is a little data on POPs compounds levels in many Central and Eastern European countries. But we have not to forget to the fact that this region has very specific problems of environmental pollution, which are the results of the recent wars. Destruction of industrial facilities and spilling of chemicals have the worst effect for the environment (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Yugoslavia). But the bizarre situations like usage of transformer oil as a diesel fuel and antilock shampoo containing lindane against pests in the gardens could not be bypassed. One potential result of the pollution of the food, water and whole environment is dramatic increasing in the digestive system carcinoma, particularly large intestine carcinoma, which has been observed last two years in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
During Balkan wars (Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina) and operation "Allied Force" in the spring of 1999, the burning or damaging of industrial and military targets in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia, resulted in the release of a large number of chemicals into the environment. There are great fears and concrete evidence these significant quantities of polychlorinated bifenyls (PCB); various flame-retardants, explosives, and their by-products were released in the environment during warfare. During uncontrolled combustion of PCB and other organhalogens, even more dangerous polyhalogenated dibenzofurans and dibenzodioxins are formed, so the area under warfare operations was under even greater jeopardy. Materials used in home appliances and apparatus contain additives such as flame-retardants, to decrease combustion and velocity of flame expansion. These compounds are toxic, stable, and tend to bioaccumulate. In case of intentional or unintentional fire or incineration of communal waste, they degrade and may form various brominated compounds such as very stable and even more toxic polybrominated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PBDD) and polybrominated dibenzofurans (PBDF).
Even though there are no large urban centers in the karst area in former Yugoslavia suffered from the war, it deserves special attention because of its high ecological sensitivity. The atmospheric releases contained also persistent organic pollutants, which are known to be hazardous to health. Under suitable meteorological conditions, these chemicals can be transported across borders over large distances. The results of these conflicts (from the burning or damaging of industrial and military targets in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia) can led to the long-range transport of these pollutants round the world and can be long-term source of problems. This hypothesis was preliminary confirmed by some measurement in the neighbour countries. APOPSBAL ICA2-2001-20003p. 2
Even before war conflict some parts of former Yugoslavia were seriously contaminated with PCBs. For instance in 1983 high concentrations of PCBs were found in the water and sediments of the Krupa River in the area Bela Krajina. The experiences and accession during the process of remediation, which will be acquired with collaboration in the Project, will be further applied in Slovenia as well.

Work plan

Recent investigation about military installation influence on the environment shows very serious consequences on the environment. These consequences are sometimes dramatically more serious during warfare. In such circumstances, it has been expected that many areas in countries of former Yugoslavia, pollution the environment with serious danger substance have been expected. Relatively intensive research activities about the level of polychlorinated biphenyls after warfare actions in some karstic area of Croatia, indicate there is no ecologically significant PCB contamination of soil near Transformer Stations in Delnice and Kaštela, while in the area of TS "Komolac" near Dubrovnik, significant levels of PCB are observed. Comparing the levels of PCB in the soil near TS "Zadar" and TS "Bilice" (near Šibenik) by the criteria of tolerance accepted in the Netherlands, the levels of soil contamination with PCBs at these locations, far exceeds tolerable levels that do not require remediation.
Because of the water permeable geological structure of the karstic region of coastal Dalmatia, the penetration of the above-mentioned contaminants to ground water and sea is possible. In Mikulandra bay near Šibenik, Rijeka Dubrovačka, Brodanova location, Marina near Vruljica creek in Zadar, significantly higher level of PCBs were observed and additional monitoring of these toxicants will be performed during the Project. In previous investigation about the human intake of PCB has been calculated for the so-called "critical group" of Zadar population. The levels of PCB intake found are not alarming, but they should not be underestimated and it will be more consistently investigated.
Besides proven source of PCB contamination in Zadar town, E.T.S. Zadar, there are also speculation about additional sources of PCBs in this area from various, during the war-destructed military and industrially installation. For estimation possibilities of inflow chlorinated hydrocarbons into the coastal zone of Zadar town, hydrogeological recognition in the fieldwork will be performed on the topographic basis scale 1:5000.
The overall objective of relatively great and scientifically very powerful group of scientists is to propose the method for restoration of soils contaminated by PCBs in the vicinity of Transformer Station TS 110/35 kV (Zadar, Croatia).
Data about pollution the environment of Bosnia & Herzegovina and especially Kosovo even with ordinary chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides practically do not exists, either before and neither after the war. Until know, it is known that (although collection of data is performed only on about 10 % of Bosnian and Herzegovina territory) during the last war were completely or more than 50 % destroyed, more than 100 Electro Transformer Stations. In the Kosovo district situation is even worse, because there do not exist any data about suspect areas of PCB contamination. APOPSBAL ICA2-2001-20003p. 3
During Nato operation "Allied Force" in the spring of 1999. number of industrial and military targets were burnt and/or destroyed in FR Yugoslavia. The burning or damaging of industrial and military targets resulted in the release of a large number of chemicals into the atmosphere.
It is well known that measuring traces of organic pollutants in the environmental samples is very skilful and very often connected with many serious fault results. Though some institutions from this region possess good experiences and performances in consecutive international intercalibration exercises, some institutions possess very restricted experiences. Some of them didn't enable laboratories for this very complex and sensitive analysis, so that is very important task of this project training the young people in the more experienced laboratories. Together, engaged scientists and experts from these areas will help in the qualifying people in these laboratories. The check their knowledge will be carried out on the second stage of intercalibration, so that in case of the success they can in one's own areas continue with very important monitoring of this chemical compounds in the life neighbourhoods. Unless are succeeding, continue in the further refinement one's own knowledge to the successful mastering this technique.

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