One of the factors of threat, that birds are nowadays facing, is also sea pollution. Due to leakage of oil and its derivatives, inappropriate handling of fuel as well as in cases of accidents at sea comes to the formation of oil slicks. Bird feathers can become oiled and thus reduces bird’s ability to fly away while birds can also be poisoned as they try to clean the oil from their feathers. Thankfully, to this problem is now devoting a lot of attention and experiences, how to act and help oiled birds are already known. One such organization that has as its mission solving such problems is, beside REMPEC, Sea Alarm Foundation and ISPRA, also the French organization CEDRE. From 21st to 23rd of May 2013 I had an opportunity to attend an international workshop in the frame of POSOW project focused on oiled wildlife response, shoreline cleanup and volunteer training.
The workshop was attended by 16 representatives from Italy, Croatia, Greece, Cyprus and Slovenia (DOPPS representative and a representative of the Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, Office Koper). The workshop was held at the headquarters of CEDRE in Brest. The first day was dedicated to oil-polluted shoreline cleaning techniques and training of volunteers. The next day we got acquainted with oiled wildlife response and the third day was dedicated to practical exercise, where an accident with an oil spill was simulated in different shoreline cleaning techniques were tested (with complete personal protective equipment).
The meeting was very educational and it gave me an opportunity to meet many experts from different countries, with whom I established good contacts. Cooperation in case of accidental oil pollution is extremely important, therefore, the experiences of experts from CEDRE, as well as from the other participants, are very valuable. At the meeting was agreed that each of the countries from which they came participants, will prepare a similar workshop in his country with the help of experts of international organizations ISPRA, Sea Alarm Foundation and REMPEC center in Malta.
In Slovenia, till now we haven’t faced with the problems of oiled birds and wildlife response yet and we hope this would remain so in the future. But a disaster never sleeps, so it is necessary to be properly and adequately prepared for oiled wildlife response.
More about the project: www.posow.org
Author: Bojana Lipej