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Research by the UA will use leftover seagrass to create parkland in closed landfills

The project has been launched through an agreement with the town hall of Santa Pola and Urbaser

 

Santa Pola, 7th May 2013

The town hall of Santa Pola, the University of Alicante and Urbaser has signed today an agreement for the implementation of a research project on the demonstration of new uses of seagrass for the recovery of greenery on closed landfills.

 The signing ceremony was attended by the mayor of Santa Pola, Miguel Zaragoza, the University of Alicante’s Vice President for Research, Development & Innovation, Amparo Navarro, and the Manager of Urbaser (a company devoted to environmental services to town halls), Manuel Andrés. The event was also attended by the Councillor for Beaches, Loreto Serrano, the Municipal Technician for the Environment, Sonia Fluxá, the UA Director for the Knowledge Transfer Office, María Jesús Pastor and Alfonso Ramos, Director of the Marine Research Centre, CIMAR as well as researchers Antonio Pastor, from the Department of Ecology, and Juana Jordá, from the Department of Agricultural Chemistry and Biochemistry. Meanwhile, Urbaser was represented by the R + D + I Director, Eduardo Fernández, and the person responsible for the company in Santa Pola, Alberto Bleda.

 Miguel Zaragoza has highlighted the project as “a good example of commitment and collaboration between business, government and academia, to address an environmental and economic problem by giving a cost effective solution at all levels, through the efforts of enthusiastic people who have believed in this idea and have supported it”.

 Also, Amparo Navarro said that “the three institutions should be very satisfied by the strategy of public-private collaboration in research” and recalled “the intense collaboration that we are conducting between the town hall of Santa Pola and the UA through CIMAR, a good example of a biological station, which encourages us to continue the cooperation”.

 Manuel Andres, from Urbaser, said that "as an environmental services company, we have been spending years researching on how to provide a solution to a problem that is generated by virtue of, in this case, the waters of Santa Pola, and we are convinced that this project will provide an environmental, economic and fully satisfactory solution".

 

 Objectives of the Project

 

The project, led by the Director of CIMAR also intends “on the one part, study and validate new uses and applications of oceanic Posidonia harvested on the coasts of the Mediterranean coastline”. Thus, after the optimization of the cleaning process, the separation of adhering sand and subsequent drying, “it could be used as plant substrate and coverage soil  at inert landfills”.

 On the other hand, the project will identify suitable plant species, their growth rate and adaptability to potentially saline substrates, respecting the native nature of the local vegetation.

 According to Alfonso Ramos, the initiative provides special importance to "environmental impact, as it tries to solve a widespread problem and detected in the tourist towns along the Mediterranean coast on the accumulation of Posidonia oceanic coastal beaches and whose reuse is unused due to the lack of positive results in the lines of business innovation in other areas”.

 Furthermore, according to the draft submitted by the CIMAR, “a potential saving of coating materials at inert landfills, will be achieved by minimizing the use of lands from other sectors, and it will contribute to the maintenance and enhancement of biodiversity in areas where the human activity has generated significant environmental impact, such as non-hazardous waste landfills”.

 With its implementation "it will favour the recovery of green areas, by reforesting those surfaces altered by man with native species of salt marsh and forest species adapted to high levels of salinity”. The project is the result of research developed by scientists at the University of Alicante’s CIMAR Centre, “a clear example of knowledge transfer and research results that go directly into society”, as the University President explained.

 With this, the conservation potential of the Mediterranean coastline will be enhanced, by incorporating the , nutrient-rich separated sand from algae to coastal ecosystems.

In this first phase, the sealing and closure of the landfill in Santa Pola will follow, but in successive stages, the replicability of the validated solutions under the project in other areas of the Mediterranean coastal geography is planned to be studied, creating synergies in research matters with other countries like France, Italy, Tunisia, etc.

 

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