Project partner and the associated collaboration partners have seen a significant change in the presence of the environmental issue targeted by the project. Not only has the number of activities to investigate the spread and seriousness of the problem with hypoxia increased but also the general awareness. The need and possibility to take actions to prevent further negative impacts has been realized and publicly discussed. Many authorities are actively supporting projects in order to get more information about future strategies.
Other teams started to work with similar approaches. This implies that various technologies are tested all with the aim of reducing the negative impact of oxygen depletion in deep-water layers. Various collaborations with companies, authorities and research groups have been initiated since the start of the project. Students from different parts of the world ask to contribute to the project or to use the project results for own and further studies.
To impacts that are more indirect the growing interest from construction companies seeking various ways to optimize a possible future manufacturing and combinations with other offshore installation may be named. Many actions outside the framework of the WEBAP project show the impact of the project even so it may be difficult to lead back single activities to the current project.
Further development of the initial WEBAP-design will bring up new ideas, reduce costs and increase overall awareness.
Environmental benefits of the demonstrated approach are described as a significantly improvement of the situation in marine environments suffering from hypoxic conditions. This can be measured in different terms as for example the increase of oxygen concentrations in deep water layers, the decrease of mobile phosphorous in deep waters. This will, on a long-term, decrease algae bloom during summer months, recover benthic animals and deep-water living fish, improve water quality and increased catches of high quality fish, restore natural marine ecosystems, including natural habitats and halt the loss of biodiversity. Those are important benefits compared to the current state of the large areas in the Baltic Sea and more than 400 known marine environments around the world.
An improved oxygen situation in the Baltic Sea, or any other of suffering marine environments, would not only imply favourable effects on the ecosystem but would also have positive effects on tourism and the fishery. The reproduction of fish is disturbed by low oxygen concentrations, and the mitigation of hypoxia has thus a significant impact on how fishery is developing in the future. In addition, tourism is depending on balanced marine environments, as tourists will choose destinations with good water quality. Many communities along the Baltic Sea coast are however, depending on tourism for economic survival.
From a technical perspective, the presented approach may be the most resource efficient measure to mitigate hypoxia and thus it helps to reduce emissions, energy use and use of other resources.
The successful implementation would also help to adapt of the EU economy and society, nature and biodiversity, water resources and human health to the adverse impacts of climate change. While the main objective of the project is on mitigation measures of hypoxia in marine environments the project also falls within the scope of the European Environment & Health Action Plan 2004-2010 (COM(2004) 416) as the proposed technique will help to protect and control areas intended for recreational uses, particularly bathing.
The demonstrated technology may be implemented in many of the more than 400 hypoxic marine environments worldwide. Such an implementation of the WEBAP-system and the transfer to other areas worldwide could lead to economic growth and increase Europe's competitiveness in this field on the world market.
With the contribution of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Community