Preserving the oceans: solutions exist

Sustainable resource management experts have a major role to play in combatting marine pollution and preserving coastal regions. Find out about some of the concrete solutions that SUEZ environnement has developed to protect our oceans.


Waste water treatment plants are strategic facilities for combating marine pollutants. In fact, they provide a barrier against the most significant physical, chemical and biological pollution. By collecting waste water for treatment before returning it to the natural environment, SUEZ is contributing to reducing marine pollution.

Unfortunately, this is not enough. On 6 September 2011, a team of Anglo-Saxon scientists published the results of a study, in the Environmental Science and Technology journal, showing that a significant amount of textile microfibres escape filtration via waste water treatment machines and plants, and end up polluting the seas and oceans. Scientific research plays a crucial role in tackling this kind of pollution, where the consequences and dangers – including the presence of plastic microfibres in the food chain – are not yet fully understood. With this aim in mind, SUEZ, which operates the Nice Haliotis waste water treatment plant, has teamed up with the Nice Côte d’Azur urban area, the Expédition MED organisation and the Villefranche Oceanographic Laboratory, in order to launch the Ecoseastem Project. The aims of this ambitious project can be broken down into three stages: classifying the pollution generated by the plastic microfibres, assessing the impact of this pollution on the natural environment, and researching the best technologies available for treating this kind of pollution, such as the dynamic micro-filtration treatment developed by SUEZ.


Experimenting with a disc-based dynamic micro-filtration treatment technology at the exit point of waste water treatment plants


Via its subsidiary Actimar, SUEZ also has a centre of oceanographic excellence at its disposal that brings together around thirty oceanography experts and uses cutting-edge tools (expert models, remote detection, operating platforms). Actimar is working in all the world’s seas on behalf of operators in the following fields: oil and gas, renewable marine energy, defence, protected marine areas, and academic research, including IFREMER.

Actimar offers its customers services provided via the expert tools that it has developed, from mapping sea beds to optimising sea operations, and in particular assistance with managing accidental pollution.


3D mapping of an atoll in the Maldives

Furthermore, in line with this aim of preserving the biodiversity of marine environments, SUEZ has developed ship ballast water treatment technologies. The entire global fleet is set to be equipped over the next ten years.


SUEZ environnement also offers concrete solutions for protecting the coast using technologies developed to improve the quality of bathing water and protect and enrich biodiversity. In Spain, the COWAMA (COastal WAter MAnagement) solution and its application iBeach, developed by the Group, helps protect the ecological and sanitary quality of natural environments and bathing waters. In Marseille, the GIREL (Management of Infrastructures for the Environmental Rehabilitation of the Coastline) project manages the ecological restoration of the marine environment at the Port of Marseille Fos. Finally, in Casablanca (Morocco), 24 kilometres of coastline have been rehabilitated and the beaches returned to the locals thanks to the East Coast Anti-Pollution system inaugurated in May 2015 by His Majesty the King of Morocco.

Furthermore, a number of initiatives are taking place across the globe through sensitisation and waste collection campaigns, on beaches and along rivers, in Morocco, Algeria, Hong Kong and in France – for example the Surfrider Foundation Europe, a partner of SUEZ since 2006.