Opis odabranog projekta i motivacija za odabir

Our team called IT & CRO SEASTEM, founded as part of the ASOC Interreg program 2022/2023, is engaged in the research of the CASCADE project as part of the cross-border cooperation EU Interreg Italy – Croatia. As part of the interregional program, the Construction Technical High School Rijeka and the Italian school Istituto Scolastico Omnicomprensivo di Guglionesi are participating. We decided to choose the research within the CASCADE project because of common interests that include monitoring and management of terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems in Italy and Croatia. Our goal is to raise awareness and educate people about the threat and vulnerability of terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems in Italy and Croatia and to protect and restore coastal and marine biodiversity. We chose the name IT & CRO SEASTEM because it contains the word sea, which connects Croatia and Italy, and the whole name stands for the ecological system of the Adriatic Sea. In accordance with our theme and the name of the team, for our project we chose a logotype created by a student of the Croatian team, Karla Jugovac. The colors on the logo, blue and green, were chosen because these colors are associated with sea and land, the CASCADE project and the Primorje – Gorski Kotar County. There is a turtle inside the logotype because it is one of the endangered marine animals. The documents of partners in the CASCADE project, the Public Institution for the management of protected nature areas of Dubrovnik – Neretva County, provided by Mrs. Iva Slade, and the data of the Public Institution Sea and Karst of the Split-Dalmatia County, provided by Mrs. Jelena Kurtović Mrčelić, served as great help in finding useful information needed for the project.

Our class decided to choose the project “CASCADE” which stands for Coastal and marine waters integrated monitoring system for ecosystem protection and management. A project in collaboration with Croatia that aims to develop a series of actions concerted and coordinated to increase knowledge levels, assess the quality and define the vulnerability of inland, coastal and marine ecosystems in Italy and Croatia with the aim of protecting endangered species and supporting integrated management. The project will: repair ecosystems, assess the impact of extreme events, define tools to avoid conflict and develop synergies, consolidate long-term research capacity through a dialogue with stakeholders and the participation of agencies, research centres and universities. The project is led by the Puglia region with many other partners such as the University of Molise, University of Bologna, Marche region, etc. and it has about 5,817,547 euros as its budget. The class chose this project because they believe it is important to protect marine species especially endangered ones. And it is for that that the class decided to choose the name “Ninja turtles” since turtles are one of the many endangered marine species.

Opis značajnih faza istraživanja

The project “Improving water and communal infrastructure in the area of ​​the Rijeka agglomeration” interested us. On March 19th 2023, we were introduced by manager Eileen Andreis and Dalibor Marčelja to Delta wastewater treatment plant, KD Vodovod i kanalizacija d.o.o.. During the tour, we saw the mechanical pretreatment. We found out that wet wipes are the biggest obstacle in this process and jam the electric motors. We conducted an interview with the manager Eileen Andreis, from whom we learn more useful information. We learned that after coarse filtration, the water reaches the fine grates where it ascends and travels to the garbage bags, which are then closed and taken to disposal. 300 l of fecal water per second reaches the pool, where sand and grease are separated from it, after which the purified water is released on the bottom of the sea at a distance of 500 m from the coast. Wastewater released in this way, or purified wastewater, when released does not affect the coastal zone and has no impact on the beaches for swimming in this area of ​​the city of Rijeka. It’s certainly better for the marine ecosystem to discharge purified wastewater than direct wastewater. We learned that untreated wastewater that is returned to our waterways can cause excessive plant and algae growth, which depletes oxygen and destroys fish and marine life. In addition, it causes a rather unpleasant smell. In addition to the aforementioned research, we also investigated the existing biodiversity of the Kvarner Bay at the locations of Kostrena, Kraljevica – Oštro and Crikvenica and recorded various marine and coastal organisms present in our ecosystem.

The team begins to design a civic monitoring research study, gathers information and data on the chosen project (from the administrative history that led to its implementation to data and contextual information on the issue to which it pertains), delves into the territorial and thematic context in which the chosen project fits (to understand what the reasons are for choosing to fund it, who decided it, and according to what procedures), learns secondary data research techniques (to document properly using official and reliable sources).

UniMol – CASCADE meets the Guglionesi school

On 18/04/2023, within the INTERREG Italy-Croatia CASCADE project and in collaboration with the “A Scuola di Open Coesione” project, UniMol carried out orientation activities for class III D students of the Linguistic specialization (under the supervision of Prof. M. Laura Marra). During the meeting, the representatives of the University of Molise (Dr. Marco Varricchione and Dr. Federica Compagnone, part of the CASCADE team coordinated by Prof. M Laura Carranza), after a premiere exhibition dedicated to the training offer offered by UniMol and the Department of Biosciences and Territory, illustrated some of the main activities carried out in the context of the CASCADE project. Specifically, the results of the pond vegetation monitoring activities were presented behind the dunes at the mouth of the Biferno river and of the awareness raising campaigns by Citizen Science e data collection through the iNaturalist platform (Wild Coast CASCADE). The meeting had a positive response from the students and teachers of the Linguistic High School and has made it possible to improve relationships and synergies between the young people of the local community and some of the protagonists of the implementation of pilot actions carried out in the context of EUROPEAN planning in the Abruzzo regions e Molise.

Prijedlozi i follow-up

We are going to continue to follow the project and continue to monitor it in many different ways. We will tell our family and friends about the threat and vulnerability of terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems. It’s astonishing how many people don’t know or even care about the importance of having a healthy ecosystem. We will continue to raise awareness and educate our loved ones about coastal and marine biodiversity and teach them how to respect it. We will follow and visit countless web-sites about the coastal and marine ecosystems. We will repost Instagram accounts and posts that encourage the protection of marine wildlife. Reposting positive posts like that is a very effective and easy way to spread awareness to people of all ages. We will donate to many different sea and ocean charities. We will warn and educate strangers if we see them harming the ecosystem. We will still continue to research about Italy and Croatia’s ecological system. We will try our hardest to apply our knowledge about biodiversity wherever we go.

We will continue to follow the CASCADE project which addresses issues such as the protection of marine biodiversity, the conservation of coastal landscapes, the containment of erosion because it is important to set ourselves the goal of strengthening the knowledge and awareness of every citizen. Attention to the sea and its economy, which is growing in this period, must lead us to strategic planning in which to frame the initiatives that develop in the so-called blue economy, starting with investments in renewables at sea. The national government must adopt a maritime spatial management plan in dialogue with local authorities. Deepen the knowledge of our sea, evaluate its specific characteristics and predict, starting from public planning, which activities can take place and where and which it is advisable not to encourage. Until we equip ourselves with a strategic planning tool, we risk inflicting damage on our coastal landscape.

In the next decade we will be called upon to face a challenge, that of fully implementing the ambitious objectives set in the United Nations 2030 Agenda and in the European Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, which includes in Goal 14 the conservation and sustainable development of the oceans , seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Therefore, it will be essential to implement actions at local level that are integrated into the context of European choices and context. Common problems, including the protection of biodiversity, the restoration of natural habitats, the conservation of endangered animal and plant species and the awareness of local communities of the importance of all this. It is important to support these projects and continue to work together to ensure a sustainable future for all.