Renewed “Protect the Sea” signs unveiled on Slovenian coast

Portorož – As the EUSAIR Strategy Forum and the Slovenian presidency of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative (AII) comes to an end, renewed “Protect the Sea” signs were presented in Portorož on Wednesday. They are to help raise awareness about climate change and its impact on the marine and coastal environment.

The renovation of six EU-funded awareness raising signs along the Slovenian coast has a dual purpose: to draw attention to the fragility of the coastal zone due to pollution and pressures from land and sea, and to remind people that everything in our power must be done to preserve it for future generations, said Mitja Bricelj from the Environment Ministry.

Another element of the project are high sea level markings, which were funded by the Slovenian Water Agency. Its director Roman Kramer pointed out that the forecast based on climate change studies, forecasts and measurements was very worrying.

“For the Adriatic Sea, the sea level is projected to rise by 40 centimetres by the middle of this century. By the end of the century, the optimistic scenario is a rise of 60 centimetres and the pessimistic scenario predicts a 110 centimetre rise,” he said.

That is why a group of experts was engaged last year to prepare a strategy for adapting the use of Slovenia’s coastline to climate change-induced sea level rise.

Kramer said that the strategy, expected to be finalised in 2024, would provide answers on which areas of the coast need to be protected and solutions on how to protect them, as well as which parts of the coast would need to be re-purposed.

Director of the Environment Agency Joško Knez also expressed concerns about the future. In the last 25 years alone, the sea level in Slovenia has risen by 12.5 centimetres, and with the sea expected to rise by one metre by the end of the century, Piran would be flooded every day.

Piran Mayor Đenio Zadkovič said that his town was no exception when it came to high sea levels, when the sea floods the lower parts of the coast. “Such floods leave behind a lot of material damage and cause discomfort. This is our reality and, unfortunately, our future,” he added.