A sleek airship has played a role in the battle against pollution in the Mediterranean Sea, which contains half of the oil and tar floating on the surface of the world's oceans.
GV PAN FROM Waves TO polluted beach, with debris oil blobs at Nice, France
SCU Dirty water near rocks
CU Old tyres and other junk floating in filthy water near Milan, Italy
GV & SVs Water with chemicals and foam flowing under bridge near Athens, Greece
GV Factory near Athens, with smoking chimney
GV EXTERIOR Airship Europa blimp moored on ground in field, Genoa, Italy
SV Technician fixing pipe on side of airship (2 shots)
SV Airship launched (2 shots)
GV Men holding airship guide rope
GV Airship taking off
SV INTERIOR Pilot at airship controls
AV OVER Industrial area containing tall, smoky chimneys
CU Pilot at controls
CU Technician preparing tube with silver wool PULL BACK TO SV showing him placing it into machine
SV FROM COCKPIT: Mediterranean below
GV Airship flying over sailing ship
AV ABOVE Sailing ship
CU Technician writing reading from machine
GV Airship and sailing vessel moving along
CU INTERIOR Technician marking label of sample phial
GV Airship with moving illuminated sign feeding beneath its fuselage and reading: "Against pollution of Mediterranean"
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A sleek airship has played a role in the battle against pollution in the Mediterranean Sea, which contains half of the oil and tar floating on the surface of the world's oceans. The airship Europa, loaned by the Goodyear company, has been engaged in monitoring work in the Gulf of Genoa with the brigantine, 'Eye of the Wind', belonging to the scientific organisation, Operation Drake.
SYNOPSIS: This is the Mediterranean near the French resort of Nice. Resorts around this inland sea attract a hundred million tourists a year, but many beaches are so polluted they are a hazard to health.
Waste from this factory near Milan flows more than two hundred kilometres (about 150 miles) into the sea.
Under a recent treaty, factories, such this one near Athens in Greece, are totally banned from discharging materials on a banned list: mercury, certain chemicals, plastics, used lubricating oil and radio-active waste.
Airship Europa's entry into the pollution battle came about after the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) persuaded seventeen countries around the Mediterranean to sign an anti-pollution treaty. The dirigible linked with the Eye of the Wind was heading back to Plymouth in England after a two-year voyage of scientific discovery around the world. The air-and-sea partnership carried out a short pollution monitoring experiment in the surface waters and atmosphere of the Ligurian sea.
Technicians were to check the levels of elements known as heavy metals, which include lead, cadmium and mercury.
These heavy metals, when eaten by fish and shellfish, become concentrated in their bodies. Passed on to humans eating the fish, they can, above a certain level, become toxic, and cause severe illness or agonising death. The airship crew were to gather fifty air samples at different levels over the Italian coast, and out at sea. Air drawn in through a plastic tube was passed over silver wool onto which mercury, if present, would deposit. Samples were to be analysed at UNEP's Regional Seas Centre in Geneva, Switzerland.
Scientists on board the eye of the Wind took water samples in containers, either from a small boat, or from a pole extending in front of the ship. They were examined to see if they contained toxic trace metals. Other samples were also taken by different, and more sophisticated, methods, of living surface organisms and water temperatures.
The two craft took part in four days of tests.
The airship used its night sign to display slogans and animations for UNEP's work. Europa has several characteristics ideal for this work: she can stay aloft for up to twenty-three hours, and remain motionless over specific sites.