Atlantic Community: vital steps to protect environment

Today's Atlantic Community needs not only security, democracy and peace stabilization. A pollution threat to all societies of the Atlantic region is distinct and demands efficient strategies and fast actions. One of the programs that aims at environmental health on the Atlantic Coast is ACAP (Atlantic Coastal Action Program) initiated by Environment Canada in 1991.
Nowadays, building a strong, secure and cooperative new Atlantic Community is the issue discussed at numerous intergovernmental forums. The major reason for forming a new vision and innovative approaches is a terrorist threat, distinct to all Western and European societies. Strictly speaking, this reason forms the concept of new Atlantic Community, its objectives and activities.

"A "new Atlantic Community" would reflect the reality that the transatlantic nations share more than a commitment to come to the defense of an ally under attack - they share a common political, economic and security destiny. That common future needs to be supported by an institutional framework that is sufficiently broad to support coordinated responses to terrorist and other challenges that the Euro-Atlantic democracies will face in the years ahead." (from the "draft treaty" on the new Atlantic Community)

However, the problem of insecurity is not the only problem that the existing Atlantic Community faces today. The problem of environmental protection is becoming more and more distinct for all countries of the region. One of the programs that started the promotion of the environment protection on the Atlantic coast is the Atlantic Coastal Action Program (ACAP), launched in 1991 by Environment Canada. Today, the ACAP family consists of fourteen organizations in the four Atlantic Provinces. Each of the organizations operates independently, but is linked under the ACAP membership.

Through the cooperation and empowering communities, the ACAP members and their partners have achieved great successes in protecting the environment of the Atlantic coast. In 2005, they issued the Ecological Monitoring and Reporting: A Survey of the Atlantic Coastal Action Program to observe the program's effectiveness and its impacts on policy and decision-making. This survey also helped to see areas, most subject to the pollution, thus build new strategies to fight local problems.

The ACAP is a very extensive program, where each organization deals with its individual environmental issues. For instance, in 2000, the Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation (BCAF) launched a Clean Boating campaign to deal with the problem of direct discharge boating sewage into waters of Nova Scotia's south shore.

Since the campaign's inception, the BCAF has installed four free sewage pump-out facilities in Lunenburg County (Mahone Bay, Bridgewater, Lunenburg, and Chester), developed "Maritime Clean Boating Guide" and educational Clean Boating packages, two maps in the partnership with the NS College of Geographic Sciences, showing the location of all four pump-out stations.

The organization also initiated a federal application for a "No Discharge" designation along the south shore of NS and wrote a report, entitled "The Status of Sewage Management in the BCAF Watershed Area - A Focus on Boating Sewage". This program was awarded the "Environmental Campaign of the Year" award by the Canadian Safe Boating Awards Committee for the year 2002.

The same progress has resulted from actions of other organizations, working with the ACAP on environmental issues, and the ACAP is inclined to spread its positive influences to further regions of the Atlantic coast, introducing new organizations to cooperative activities.
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