Science at the service of the people of Debrecen! Professors from the University of Debrecen and experts from the city of Debrecen have prepared the scientific basis for the Environmental Monitoring System.
The basis of the Environmental Monitoring System is developed around four main environmental factors (air, water, soil and biodiversity). The Environmental Monitoring System will consist of 16 complex monitoring stations, forming a coherent, city-wide, interconnected system that will provide data on our environment 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Environmental Monitoring System guarantees the safety of the people of Debrecen.
The details were first presented by Mayor of Debrecen László Papp, who emphasised that the Oratory of the Reformed College of Debrecen is a historic site, and today is also a historic moment, as he promised the people of Debrecen at the public hearing in January that an independent and scientifically based environmental monitoring system would be established to monitor industrial and economic processes. He stressed that concerns about industrialisation in the city were unfounded but that people were looking for guarantees.
The mayor added that this system guarantees not only for the city but also for the agglomeration and the whole eastern region that economic development will not negatively impact the environment and the daily lives of citizens.
György Kossa, President of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for the University of Debrecen, which is the seat of the University of Debrecen, said that science has a primary role to play in helping the population, and they are therefore pleased to be involved in the work of the Environmental Monitoring System.
He stressed that science always evaluates on the basis of objective facts, and the University of Debrecen has accumulated centuries of knowledge.
MP Lajos Kósa said that we cannot stand in the way of progress; it is our duty to join it and to do so in the best possible position. He recalled that Nagykálló used to be a major regional centre, but because of the protests of the people living there, the railway was not moved there, but to Nyíregyháza, and now we can see how the fate of the two settlements has changed. He stressed that renewable energy will play an even greater role in Hungary in the future than it does now, but that green energy must be produced and stored, and the battery is the way to do this. He added that this must be produced without polluting the environment.
Deputy Mayor of Debrecen Ákos Balázs recalled that the city had announced a new environmental policy in 2019, which is linked to the preparation of Debrecen’s Environmental Programme. The Debrecen Environmental Monitoring System fits well into this programme. He then thanked all those involved in the scheme’s development for their contribution.
Afterwards, the leaders of the working groups gave a presentation on the points of the strategy plan of the Environmental Audit Scheme.
Key Information on the Environmental Monitoring System:
The right to health and a healthy environment is a right for all citizens, and the principle of sustainable development is to achieve growth that is compatible with the carrying capacity of the environment. In line with this, the vision of Debrecen, as set out in the Sustainable Urban Development Strategy, is that the City is a caring city, flexible and adaptable to changing external conditions, providing an attractive urban environment for its inhabitants in an intelligent and sustainable way. The overarching aim is to create an attractive urban environment with a high quality of life, value and value, to develop and enhance green spaces, to ensure ecological connectivity and to improve air quality, thereby improving the health and well-being of the population.
The strength of Debrecen is that we have always been able to work together for good goals, with large systems working together and complementing each other.
Now the aim is to protect the environment, and to this end the University of Debrecen and the City of Debrecen have entered into a cooperation: based on the knowledge base existing at the University, we are jointly creating the Debrecen Environmental Monitoring System, which will be the only monitoring system of its kind in the country. The system, which is based on objective measurements, information and data collection, analysis and monitoring, will be developed by experts and will monitor changes in air, surface and groundwater, soil and wildlife through instrumental observation and continuous sampling. The system is designed to support decision-making on improving the state of the environment and to assist planning for prevention or mitigation. The system operates in the Debrecen administrative area, with a focus on sites where some significant change is occurring as a result of development (e.g. the first phase of the CIVAQUA programme to increase the water yield of the Tócó stream, or the development of industrial sites), so that changes in the measured parameters can be predicted.
The Objectives of the Debrecen Environmental Monitoring System:
- To measure and monitor changes in the main living and non-living environmental elements that underpin the quality of life and well-being of the citizens of Debrecen, to eliminate potential negative impacts and to enhance positive impacts;
- To monitor the potential environmental impacts of developments (water management, environmental, industrial-energy, etc.) taking place within the administrative boundaries of the city, with scientific requirements, and to exploit possible synergies;
- Providing scientific data for the implementation of the Green Debrecen programme;
- Establishment of a model monitoring system that can serve as a model for other cities.
- The monitoring programme will include a technical working group monitoring the 4 main environmental factors (air, water, soil and biodiversity) separately but with joint coordination, and will be supported by two horizontal working groups (IT and Legal-Economic).
- The draft work programme and proposals of the working groups have been drawn up on the basis of a common 10-point framework of criteria, which are the basis for the future strategy, with a view to coordinating the work processes.
Main elements of the programme:
1. Air quality assessment: the air task force will provide air quality data in the form of online maps, by setting up fixed stations and using specific modelling to produce local, regional and long-term forecasts. New in the field of urban environmental assessment is the monitoring of biological agents (aerobiota) in the air. The Air Task Force has also set up noise monitoring. The aim of environmental noise assessment is to identify, measure and analyse sources of environmental noise in order to make recommendations for compliance with legislation and the comfort of workers and residents. Sound measurement is the process of measuring sound pressure levels using sound measurement instruments.
2. Hydrological systems) provides hydrological, hydraulic, hydrochemical, water biological, evapotranspiration, infiltration and runoff monitoring of urban green areas and urban soils using Best Available Techniques (BAT) based on various indicators. The Debrecen City Integrated Water Monitoring (DVIVM) system aims to operate a unified environmental decision support system. The working group includes the University of Debrecen, TIVIZIG and Debrecen Waterworks Ltd.
3. Soil quality monitoring: The aim of soil monitoring is to systematically record the spatial distribution and temporal changes of soil properties, to monitor the impact of natural changes and human interventions on soil, to record soil degradation processes and soil contamination, to prevent and mitigate them. The substances and elements included in soil analysis may be mainly from the air or surface water courses.
4. Biodiversity surveys: Debrecen urban and peri-urban surveys cover both species and habitats, as well as trends and impacts monitoring. The planning area lies within the administrative boundaries of Debrecen, and surveys include botanical, airborne pollen, arthropod surveys, but we also monitor changes in priority habitat types.
5. IT monitoring: one of the tasks of the system is to record and organise the measurement data and to develop the software environment (database, communication interfaces, data description structures, query systems, secure channels, etc.).
The second is to extend the capabilities of the basic system, further developing the system by developing and launching a decision support system based on master intelligence.
6. Legal-economic working group: The main task of the working groups will be to synthesise the proposals for legal regulation, broken down by sector, and to translate the needs expressed in scientific rigour into legal standardisation. This includes, in addition to a general overview and presentation of the legislative provisions, the preparation of specific legislative tasks, drafting of normative texts, management of the legislative process and the preparation of a business plan for sustainability based on the agreed technical parameters.
The Debrecen Environmental Monitoring System (DKER) has been designed:
– The general principles of environmental protection are applied (precaution, prevention, restoration; responsibility; cooperation; information, information, publicity).
– Account is taken of the documents that can be used: the municipality’s adopted (environmental) vision, environmental policy concept, environmental status assessment, general zoning plan in force; environmental regulations, data, information on environmental status, etc.
– We take into account the documents that can be used: the municipality’s adopted (environmental) vision, environmental policy concept, environmental status assessment, general zoning plan in force; environmental regulations, environmental status data, information, etc.
– The DKER includes an assessment/description of the current environmental status, which includes: the land use structure of the municipality; air, water, soil status; biota and nature conservation; human (environmental health); environmental aspects of infrastructure; noise and vibration; waste management; management of green space in the municipality; measures/activities to improve the environmental status.
The monitoring system provides a complex, comprehensive picture of the current environmental situation in Debrecen, and is sensitive and flexible in signalling (in many cases predicting) changes in its state, thus providing the necessary supporting data for decision-making on preventing potential adverse trends, mitigating the effects of existing situations or improving the overall environmental status.
The Management of the Environmental Monitoring System and the Chairs of the Working Groups:
- Chairmanship of the Environmental Monitoring System:
- President: Balázs Ákos, Deputy Mayor of Debrecen
- Scientific leader: Prof. Dr. Péter Nagy, Director of the Institute for Coordination of Chemistry;
- Deputy Scientific Director: Prof. Dr. László Stündl, Professor, Head of the Institute of Food Technology, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, Food Science and Environmental Management
- Deputy Head of Coordination: Prof. Dr. István Szűcs, Professor, Director of the Institute of Business Administration
Chair of the Biodiversity Working Group:
- Chairman: Dr. Csaba Aradi, ecologist, Honorary Citizen of the City of Debrecen
- Co-chair: Prof. Dr. Tamás Székely, Professor, Director of the Biodiversity, Climate Change and Water Management Coordination Research Centre
- Co-chair: Prof. Dr. Szabolcs Lengyel, PhD, Deputy Director of the Centre for Coordination of Biodiversity, Climate Change and Water Management, scientific advisor
Chair of the Clean Air Action Group:
- Chair: Dr. Zsolt Dombrádi, Director of ATOMKI
- Co-Chair and Deputy Technical Director of the Air Working Group: Prof. Dr. Sándor Kéki, chemist, university professor, PhD, Head of the Department of Applied Chemistry, Deputy Dean for Science and Applications, President of the Doctoral Council of Science and Informatics
Chair of the Soil Working Group:
- Chair: Prof. Dr. Endre Harsányi, Professor, Vice Rector for Sector Development of the University of Debrecen, responsible for the development of agricultural and food science
- Co-chair: Dr. Tamás Rátonyi, Associate Professor, Faculty of Agriculture, Food Science and Environmental Management
Chair of the Water Working Group:
- Chairman: Prof. Dr. János Tamás, Professor, Doctor of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Director of the Institute of Water and Environmental Management
- Co-chair: Ferenc Gorján, CEO of Debreceni Vízmű Zrt.
IT Working Group:
- Chairman: Prof. Dr. András Hajdu, Professor, Doctor of Sciences, Dean of the Faculty of Informatics, Head of the Department of Data Science and Visualisation
- Co-chair: Dr. Tamás Bérczes, Associate Professor, Vice Dean for Economics and External Relations, Faculty of Informatics
Chair of the Legal and Economic Working Group:
- Chair: Dr. Antal Szekeres, Honorary Chief Notary of the City of Debrecen
- Co-chair Prof. Dr. Zsuzsanna Árva, Professor, Deputy Dean of Education of the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences, Head of the Institute for Continuing Legal Education, Head of the Department of Administrative Law
- Vice-Chairman: Dr. Zoltán Gabnai, Adjunct Professor
- Dr. László Szűcs, Head of the Department of Economic Management, DMJV Mayor’s Office
Sites of the Debrecen Environmental Monitoring System
1. Northwestern Economic Zone
2. M35-Józsa junction
3. Southern Economic Belt 1. The area near Tócó-ér
4. Southern Economic Belt 2. Junction 481-47 intersection
5. medical clinic at 59 Szabó Pál u.
6. Nursery in Karácsony György utca
7. Szávay Gyula Street Old People’s Home
8. Benczúr Gyula Street 5. Waterworks II.
9. Vocational Training Centre Creative Technology in Debrecen
10. Vörösmarty Mihály Elementary School and Primary Art Education Institution in Debrecen
11. Kossuth Square, Memorial Garden
12. Hármashegyi Forest School
13. Vezér street reservoir
14. Józsa, Klastrompart row
15. Mikepércs, Rózsás street
Source and photo credit: debrecen.hu