Sustainability means acting in a way that is not harmful to the planet, preserves natural resources, and thus supports long-term ecological balance.
Renewables and non-renewables
One guideline to sustainability defines three aspects of resources: non-renewable, renewable and waste disposal. This can be summarised as:
- the depletion of a non-renewable resource should require the development of a renewable substitute for that resource.
- the rate of harvesting renewable resources should not be greater than the rate at which new resources are regenerated;
- the amount of waste generated from a project should not be greater than the ability of the environment to assimilate the waste.
In short sustainability is the ability to use natural resources without completely using them up or destroying them, employing methods which are compatible with preserving them, and ensuring that what is built will last for a long time.
Dredging & sustainability
The World Organization of Dredging Association (WODA) has adopted a series of principles that define the meaning of sustainable dredging. The principles emphasise that dredging helps to improve people’s quality of life and economic well-being by creating and maintaining essential water-based infrastructure. This includes:
- navigation dredging and land reclamation;
- enhancing environmental quality by beach nourishment;
- environmental (remediation) dredging to remove contaminated sediments;
- providing flood control;
- producing minerals and construction materials (sand); and
- supporting offshore energy production, including renewable energy.
By adhering to principles of sustainability for dredging and dredged material management using natural systems to integrate these actions, the dredging industry believes that the goals of environmental quality and economic prosperity can both be achieved.
WODA’s objective is to achieve sustainable dredging through implementation of the following:
- From the start and throughout all stages of a dredging project, social, environmental and economic objectives should be considered and integrated.
- When developing a project design, parties should identify how to work with natural processes and recognize the site-specific characteristics of ecosystems as well as understand the carbon footprint of the dredging project.
- Project proponents, regulatory authorities and all stakeholders should be engaged at the earliest conceptual stage in the project’s development. Active collaboration is the key to achieving maximum social, environmental and economic benefits.
- Scientifically based criteria, performance guidelines and environmental safeguards for dredging and dredged material management should provide clear directions to project owners, planners and executing companies.
- Dredged material management should be based upon a holistic, systematic understanding of the ecosystem and natural processes at the project. Beneficial use of dredged materials should be given priority.
- Dredging can be a key solution for remediation and restoration at historically contaminated aquatic sites.
- Analysis of monitoring and assessment information before, during and after project implementation provides a basis for effective and sustainable project management.
The application of these principles will continue to help the dredging industry find sustainable solutions in the marine environment.
- Building with Nature
- Climate Change
- CO2 & Other Emissions / Greenhouse Gases
- Coastal Protection
- Confined Disposal Facilities
- Coral Reefs
- Ecosystem Services
- Environmental Impact Assessment
- Environmental Monitoring
- Environmental Monitoring and Management Plans
- Flood Defence
- Management Practices for the Environment
- Remediation dredging (Contaminated sediments)
- Underwater Sound
Over the past decades, there has been a growing interest in exploring innovative ways to minimise the environmental footprint of coastal developments and in nature-based approaches for shoreline protection. At Mubarraz Island near Abu Dhabi (UAE), an international oil company beneficially reused ~12 million m³ of dredged material to protect pipelines, construct a causeway and create mangrove habitat to manage coastal erosion. This ‘Working with Nature’ approach has provided a cost-effective nature-based solution for shoreline protection, with added benefits for biodiversity conservation.
In June 2019, the research team of the LIFE MARINAPLAN PLUS project began operating the first-of-a-kind demonstration plant installation at the harbour entrance of Marina di Cervia (Italy). Fulfilling the project’s objective to apply at industrial scale a reliable technology for the sustainable management of sediment in marine infrastructures, this technology prevents harbour silting through the use of submerged devices called ‘ejectors’ installed on the seabed.
Stéphanie Groen works as the Director of Coastal & Climate Change, Asia for Aurecon. Based in Singapore, she was appointed to the position at the beginning of 2020. Previously, Stéphanie was involved in marine and environmental projects for more than 15 years with DHI and her education is in civil engineering and business administration. IADC also knows Stéphanie as the winner of the Young Author Award in 2007. More recently, she was appointed as a committee member to the prestigious FIDIC Sustainable Development Committee. We were interested to hear more from Stéphanie – her views on sustainability, the collaboration with the dredging industry through FIDIC and what her new role can mean for sustainable water infrastructure projects.
At present too little use is made of the opportunities that the design and construction of land reclamation offer for the underground storage and recovery of fresh water. The managed aquifer recharge systems in the coastal dunes of the Netherlands are a good example of successful subsurface water storage. And it is to be expected that the sandy deposits of land reclamations could serve a similar purpose. This in turn will contribute to a sustainable development of land reclamations.
Armed with degrees in both Marine Engineering and Engineering Economics as well as 35 years – and counting – of experience at the Panama Canal Authority, Ilya Espino de Marotta has blasted through the glass ceiling wearing a pink hard hat. Amongst the diverse roles she has under her belt, ranging from Marine Engineer in the shipyard to Vice President for Transit Business, Ilya has notably led the Canal’s expansion as head engineer and now oversees operations from the second highest position at the authority.
A paradigm shift is being increasingly embraced within the dredging industry. The traditional engineering approach is becoming a holistic approach in which the ecosystem is leading and values for people, profit and planet are integrated in an interdisciplinary manner.
Building with Nature is an innovative approach that combines natural processes with innovative engineering methods to realise sustainable projects. Permeable dams are being utilised as part of a Building with Nature solution to help restore the eroding mangrove-mud coast of the Demak district in central Java, Indonesia.
March 10: panel session hosted by IADC, CEDA and PIANC at the UN Science, Policy and Business Forum on the Environment in Nairobi. The UN Science, Policy and Business Forum on the Environment will convene its second global session in Nairobi, Kenya, from March 8-10, 2019 in the lead up to the Fourth Session of the UN Environment Assembly. The forum’s work is aligned with the theme of the assembly: Innovative solutions for environme
A contribution by Polite Laboyrie, President of CEDA, to the Paving the Waves 2020 conference is linked to the IADC-CEDA book Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure. The book and also Mr Laboyrie’s presentation presents guidance to achieve dredging projects that fulﬁl their primary functional requirement, while adding value to the (natural and socio-economic) system.