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Automatic Tool for Environmental Diagnosis

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Infrastructure Node
Project Acronym
HADA LIFE02 ENV/E/000274
STRIA Roadmaps
Transport mode
Waterborne icon
Transport policies
Environmental/Emissions aspects
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

The problem of hazardous emissions has been steadily worsening in Mediterranean ports. Environmental problems caused by port activities have been attributed to dredging operations. Nevertheless, in recent years environmental degradation has been linked to controlled or uncontrolled emissions into the atmosphere originating from other port activities, such as the movement of solid bulk cargo, the storage of dust bearing substances and other engineering works carried out in port areas. Dust particles, along with gas emissions (SO2 and NOx) and noise, are now considered to be the most important problem in view of the serious implications inside and outside port areas. Moreover, the enforcement of the European Community (EC) Directive 1990/30/EC on July 19th 2001 requires the port authorities to control certain particle concentrations of various other gases. In addition, the Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (known as the MARPOL Convention) underlines the need to monitor the limits of NOx, SO2 and BTX gases emitted in port areas.


The main objectives of the project were to:

  • Design a system for air quality control in port areas; 
  • Create a system for monitoring and reducing noise levels; 
  • Develop a particle emission model; 
  • Create a real-time decision-making and response system for taking action in the event of irregular situations.

The project also planned a cost-benefit analysis of the particle contamination reduction systems. It aimed to verify the compliance of the Spanish port authorities with European Directives and international agreements regarding port zones. The project, which was modelled on a pilot project in the Port of Valencia, Spain, would be carried out in several Spanish ports.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Union
Type of funding
Public (EU)


The main objectives of the project were met by the implementation of the tasks. The HADA project created and made available a valuable methodology for improving the environmental management of the commercial ports. It consists of a series of specific practical tools and the availability of information directly from the port management team.

As a first step, air quality monitoring equipment was installed in the eight ports taking part in the project. Each station was equipped with the rights tools for analysing sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and PM10. A computer system to monitor and evaluate air quality conditions in specific areas of each port was adapted and implemented in all the ports. Furthermore, in one of the ports, a noise monitoring system was installed, and a system of noise control was also established. Following this action, the project designed a prediction and control tool for air contamination and installed it in the ports. The tool is based on a computer model able that combines meteorological data, measurements of dispersion and sedimentation of particles in order to give a warning of a possible contamination incident. This model, known as PORTPUFF, contains the SEDPORT model, which simulates the depositing of sediment particles. A model for PM10 particle dispersion was also developed to study the emission characteristics of PM10 for the operations carried out at the ports with bulk solids (it covers material handled, technology used during handling, reduction measures and weather conditions).

Through the different campaigns in the port of Tarragona, a port emissions model was developed known as EMIPORT, which gives the emission rates of PM10 particles and sediment particles depending on the material handled, technology, reduction methods and meteorological conditions. An additional management tool was also developed: an objective support method for decision making which provides suggestions for the most suitable response based on the available information concerning a possible event (activity being carried out in ports with bulk solids) causing air contamination. To develop this method, three possible decisions or action alternatives were established: not making any changes in the operations, authorising the operations but with restrictions (eco-equipment, or good practice), or delaying all or some of the operations.

Another key aspect of the project was a study of good practices and legal recommendations on air contamination caused through port operations. This research was carried out together with the analysis of their environmental, technical and economic viability. Good practices have been included in a manual listing recommendations adapted to each port operation and environmental situation.

Finally, a series of dissemination activities were carried out throughout the project. These included the first international conference on ports and air quality was held at Geneva in June 2005, a technical workshop on air quality and noise levels at the port of Castellon in April 2005, and the HADA Project stand at the ESPO Conference in Rotterdam in June 2004. In addition, the four universities involved in the project, as well as the Spanish Council of Scientific Research (CSIC) and the Research Centre for Centre Energy, Environment and Technology (CIEMAT), have published papers and given conferences about the project’s results.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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