The natural characteristics of the Baltic Sea, such as a long water residency time (around 30 years), a large catchment area which is composed of 14 countries, a population of about 90 million people, and a brackish water environment poor in species, predisposes it to harmful contamination effects.
A well-known environmental problem is caused from shallowed overgrown bays, which occur when dead biota and particles are transported to coastal areas and accumulate at the bottom, adding to the sediments. This negative process has been accelerated by climate change and human activities, such as stormwater runoff from agricultural, industrial and urban areas that brings not only particles to shallow water bodies but also contaminants such as metals and nutrients.
One of the main effects has been the eutrophication and algal blooming which brings several impacts such as economic, social and reasonably environmental/ecological. Therefore the removal of hazardous substances is a priority of the Baltic Sea Strategy. Among different options to remediate coastal areas to overcome contamination and existing impacts, dredging has been widely used. However, traditional dredging methods are well-known to cause considerable disturbances to the aquatic ecosystems and consequently to human health. Sustainable dredging methods are already available but are usually related to high costs if implemented in large scales.
The city of Kalmar in the Southeastern part of Sweden lies in the coast of the Baltic Sea and has experienced this phenomenon of being largely affected by human activities. There is a need to overcome such anthropogenic effects and work to prevent future problems and this is expected to be achieved by LIFE SURE project that has the main focus on the removal of contaminants from a coastal environment, Malmfjärden Bay in a way that causes as minimum as possible negative effects into the surrounding environment through an innovative, low-cost environmentally friendly and mobile dredging method. Furthermore the idea is that dredged sediments will be injected in the market as raw resources for other activities within the circular economy approach.