It is evident that each port needs to tackle different problems, issues and challenges or opportunities for development due to differences in size, location in the border region of Greece and Albania. Environmental impacts from port activities are also in strict relation with location, size, infrastructure needs and management loads. During the project preparation phase, extensive discussions among the partners, revealed the variety of environmental issues and problems, and also the significant impact each port has on the local community and the wider region.

More specifically, the environmental problems/threats that very often arise as a result of maritime activities at the ports of Corfu, Igoumenitsa & Saranda are: noise generated by the operation of machinery and vehicles; dust produced primarily in the areas of handling bulk; gaseous pollutants (from vehicles, machinery, ships);degradation of water quality and marine ecosystems around the port due to reduced renewal of water between the piers; pollution from loading and unloading of bulk cargo; leaching of the platforms with the rain;leakages of oil spills from ships; pollution of soil and underlying groundwater caused by the infiltration of hazardous substances; management of hazardous cargos; hygiene and safety of staff and visitors; overconsumption of energy and natural resources (eg water, oil and others), etc. On the other hand, the increase in tourism and commercial or maritime activity in all ports of the area presents new opportunities and challenges as regards economic development, promotion of local communities and populations. One such example is the rapid increase in cruises planned to double the number of ships and passenger arrivals in the related ports in the next few years. However, the increase in tourism  as well as maritime and commercial activity in each port creates not onlyopportunities but also obligations for the ports. It’s worth mentioning that cruise passengers arriving at Corfu amount to 600.000 per year,visitors from/to Corfu arriving at/from Igoumenitsa amount to 800.000 per year, and visitors to/from Corfu arriving at/from Sarande amount to 50.000 per year.

The number of passengers departing from or arriving at any of the three ports (Corfu,Igoumenitsa,Saranda) to/from other destinations is equally large.This growth, has led to the design and implementation of large-scale projects (completed or still in progress) aimed to improve the infrastructure:extension of the wharf and dredging the bottom at the port of Saranda,and of the renovation of infrastructure facilities and construction of a new port at Igoumenitsa,etc.The cooperation of the three ports highlights the important and unique opportunity to transfer knowledge, experiences and practices in environmental management and thereby improve the living quality in the cross-border area.



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