Feliz Natal

Light Up as you had a Choice - Snow Patrol

Em memória de "Jack" e do Carlos, que morreram este ano de cancro do pulmão. Ambos com 40 anos e fumadores. Não foram a tempo de escolher.

Airport construction: materials use and geomorphic change

Informação científica retirada da ScienceDirect, editado.

Journal of Air Transport Management
Volume 9, Issue 3, May 2003, Pages 177-185

Aviation and sustainability
Ian Douglas and Nigel Lawson
School of Geography, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK


As airport construction competes for land, more and more new developments involve major landform changes, from the channel modifications on the River Bollin at Manchester Airport to the seaward expansion of runways at Sydney and Beirut and the enlargement or total creation of islands at Chek Lap Kok Airport, Hong Kong and Kansai International Airport in Osaka Bay, Japan. The quantities of material involved are large, 307 Mm3 of material being moved for Chep Lap Kok Airport and 13 Mm3 will be needed to fill the area required for a new runway at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Both the landform changes and the excavation and filling of materials produce profound geomorphic changes. In some cases the new configurations are unstable and may need to be rectified by further engineering work. Greater sustainability is achieved when recycled material is used for filling, such as the use of some 2 Mm3 of material dredged as a part of normal navigation channel maintenance from the Delaware River in the construction of a new commuter airline runway at Philadelphia International Airport.

Author Keywords: Airport; Materials flow; Geomorphology; Land reclamation; Sustainability

1. Introduction

Environmental concerns are now widely recognised in air transport, especially in Europe (Morell and Lu, 2000). Many see the negative social and environmental impacts of large airports being concentrated around the airports themselves, because the impacts of air pollution, noise and traffic occur there ( Janic, 1999; Nero and Black, 1998). However, the environmental impacts of transport are not only due to vehicle use, but are also due to the production, maintenance and ultimate disposal of these vehicles. Other impacts of transport arise from the production of building materials, construction, maintenance and dismantling of the infrastructure ( Van Ierland et al., 2000). We can thus distinguish the direct impacts of aviation operation from the indirect impacts due to the construction of facilities and the supply of materials for aviation operations ( Table 1). The indirect impact occurs both locally and over the areas where raw materials and energy are sources, where manufacturing takes place and where wastes are disposed. Airports also use valuable flat land close to major urban centres. In Europe alone, airports and military airfields occupy over 1500 km2 (European Environment Agency, 2000).

Table 1. Environmental problems/impacts associated with aviation (based on and expanded from Janic, 1999)


When the use of energy and materials in transport is considered, the quantities and substances involved are much more than the fossil fuels consumed in operating the vehicles. The air transport industry relies on a wide range of goods and services from many industrial sectors, such as the construction of runways, terminal buildings, ground transportation links and other infrastructure as well as all the materials in daily use to operate the airports and aircraft. The use of energy and materials at all stages of these operations has to be considered in any analysis of the sustainability of aviation.

The direct use of energy in ground vehicles and aircraft and the associated greenhouse gas emissions can be seen as the consequences of direct needs (Lenzen, 1999). Whilst technological innovations and increasing occupancy rates have resulted in significant improvements in the energy efficiency of air transport over the last 30 years, the energy costs of air passenger travel remain high. Energy use per passenger-km by air in 1995 was nearly double that for cars and more than three times that used for travel by rail and bus ( European Environment Agency, 2000).

In addition to this direct energy use, the indirect energy expenditure incurred during the extraction, refinement, storage and distribution of these fuels as well as those embodied in goods and services necessary for the operation of transport has to be assessed. This becomes a broad issue when the requirements of energy and materials for the machinery used to quarry stone, dig the aggregates, and manufacture the concrete used for runways and terminal buildings are considered. These total requirements can be assessed using input–output analysis (Lenzen, 1998). Such indirect requirements of energy and materials have to be taken into account when considering the sustainability of aviation operations, especially in terms of fossil fuel depletion and climate change ( Lenzen, 1999).

Many studies of the environmental impact of transport through energy use do not examine all the energy embodied in goods and services. Studying energy use in Australian transport, for example, Lawlor and Brown (1980) suggested that indirect energy for transport was 160 PJ, with 28% being used in vehicle manufacture, maintenance and repair, 63% in fuel manufacture and delivery; and 9% in the construction and maintenance of infrastructure.

1.1. Environmental impact assessment

Among the methodologies developed to help decision makers and planners assess the impacts of proposed transportation developments on the natural and social environment is the Evaluation Framework of Environmental impacts and Costs of Transport (EFFECT) (Tsamboulis and Mikroudis, 2000). This procedure combines multi-criteria analysis (MCA) with cost–benefit analysis (CBA) to make a complete assessment of both spatial and temporal aspects of transportation schemes. The various environmental criteria are weighted and then combined with monetary values to form a decision tree that helps in the evaluation of alternative proposals.

1.2. Life cycle analysis

A well-established way of ascertaining the total environmental impact of transport is to do a life cycle analysis (LCA). The indirect effects of transport that ought to be considered in an LCA include soil and water pollution; landscape damage; claims on land use, and fragmentation of ecosystem (Van Ierland et al., 2000). Marheineke et al. (1998) estimated the greenhouse gas requirements of a German road freight task, including the complete life cycle of the truck and the road.

1.3. Material flow accounting

Material flow accounting (MFA) refers to accounts in physical units (usually as mass expressed in tonnes) comprising the extraction, production, transformation, use, recycling and disposal of materials. It considers flows of substances, raw materials, base materials, products, manufactured goods, wastes and also emissions to air. MFA can help us to understand how changes in land use, industrialisation, consumption and population affect the land surface and alter the natural circulations of chemical elements in the environment (biogeochemical cycles).

1.4. Geomorphic impacts and their earth science implications

The use of materials is increasing, especially of construction materials, as people per household in industrialised economies decline and thus more dwellings are required, each in turn filled with more possessions. In the rapidly industrializing countries, urban and industrial building and the construction of roads, harbours and airports are proceeding apace. For example, in China, the production of aggregates and associated hidden flows more than doubled in 7 years, rising from 2313 Mt in 1989 to 5403 Mt in 1996 (Chen and Qiao, 2000).

The impacts of such rapid transfers of materials from the natural environment to the urban, industrial and transportation built environment are two-fold, a removal of material from the earth's surface (a change in geomorphology) and the accumulation of a stock of concrete and other materials elsewhere in cities and industrial zones (a change in urban morphology). Currently, in many places, waste flows also lead to morphological change as landfills occupy old quarries or parts of river floodplains, or develop new hills as land raise builds them higher than the surrounding land. Thus the metabolism of industries transforms natural landscapes and industrial activity has to be considered as a highly efficient geological and geomorphological agent in comparison with the rates at which rivers and water running over the ground change the landscape (Douglas and Lawson, 2000).

In order to appreciate the position of the flows of concern to industrial ecology within the spatial and temporal scales of geological processes, we have to consider people's urban, industrial and transportation infrastructure activity as one of the sets of actions by organisms that contribute to the earth surface component of the rock cycle. Students of industrial ecology, such as Guinée et al. (1999) correctly recognise that people also exploit biogeochemical cycles when they exploit substance stocks in the lithosphere and the environment and create stocks in the economy, through the materials flows involved in industrial, agricultural, urban and transportation activities, such as building airports. They incorrectly assume stocks in the lithosphere to be immobile: that natural earth surface features can be regarded as immobile. In many places changes to landforms are indeed imperceptible over the timescale of human lives. However, elsewhere, such as around the Pacific Rim, lithospheric processes are highly active, with volcanic eruptions and earthquakes frequently causing disruptions to human activity.

At a less dramatic scale, the earth surface changes through the action of water, wind, waves and ice. Where the pathways of material moved by such processes are disrupted, such as by the re-routing of rivers for runway extensions, or by building airports in areas prone to sand drift, care has to be taken to avoid the creation of large-scale risks of natural disruptions of airport activity, or of activities downwind or downstream of aviation installations. Part of the sustainability of aviation relates to successfully designing with nature to avoid damage and increased costs due to events such as flooding, subsidence, sand storms and storm surges over low-lying coastal installations.

2. The quantities of material moved for airport construction

The growth of air travel is inevitably accompanied by the expansion of ground facilities, from car parks to terminal buildings and runways. The construction of new runways and the extension of existing ones account for much the largest portion of the materials moved and land area taken in airport development and expansion. Since 1998, some 27 projects involving the building of at least one new runway have been completed, are under construction, or have been commissioned (Table 2).

Table 2. New major civil runway projects completed, under construction, or commissioned 1998–2001 Image

Nevertheless, the amounts of material moved for the construction of individual runways are dwarfed by the mass of materials shifted during the construction of some of the biggest new airports (Table 3).

Table 3. Representative quantities of materials involved in airport construction projects


2.1. Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok Airport

This project was one of the largest earth-moving and dredging operations ever undertaken. Originally, the granite island's area was only 302 ha, but in just 31 months, 938 ha of new land were wrested from the sea and the shoreline was moved 5 km further west. A 13 km-long seawall surrounds the levelled airport island, with blocks of granite weighing from 1 to 5 t apiece forming the protective seawall. They were blasted out of the island's rock to the seawall specifications, and made to interlock tightly with one another in open fashion to dissipate the wave action of the sea.

The marine component of the works required the removal of 69 million m3 of marine mud from the reclamation area and the deposition of 76 million m3 of sand extracted from offshore borrow pits. Dredging of marine mud and alluvial clay at the borrow pits involved the movement of a further 40 million m3 of material. Some 55 million m3 of all this moved material had to be re-handled, with the carriage of marine materials between the borrow pits, the airport site and the dumping areas involving over 2.04 million km of dredger journeys. The earthworks operations on land entailed the excavation of 122 million m3 of rock. 108 million m3 were dug out and shifted on Chek Lap Kok, with nearly 14 million m3 being extracted from quarries on Brothers Island and Tsing Yi (Plant et al., 1998) ( Fig. 1 and Table 3).

ImageDisplay Full Size version of this image (60K)

Fig. 1. Pattern and volume of marine materials movement for the construction of the Chep Lap Kok airport island platform in Hong Kong (based on data in Plant et al., 1998).

A 2-m thick finishing layer of crushed granite aggregate and sea sand was spread over the whole of the island's surface. Seven million m2 of a special geotextile separates this 2-m thick drainage layer from the much coarser landfill substrate (Hong Kong Airport Authority, 1999). In addition to the construction of the airport itself, the movement of materials to provide road and rail access has to be considered. The rock excavation for the anchorages of the double-deck Tsing Ma Suspension Bridge carrying the road and railway to the airport required the removal of nearly 1,000,000 m3 of material.

2.2. Kansai International Airport (KIX)

Kansai airport, serving Osaka, Japan, was the world's first 24-h airport to be constructed on an artificial island. The island, some 510 ha in extent, is bounded by 11 km perimeter wall and carries a single 3500 m runway and a 1680 m long terminal building. It was expensive to build, the total construction costs of approximately US $12.5 billion (Edgington, 2000) making it difficult for the airport to show a profit. Costs of maintenance and development of new technologies were greater than originally anticipated ( Wensveen, 1999).

Reclamation work for the island caused settlement of the seabed. The additional weight of the material dumped compressed the underlying alluvial clay. Piles were driven through the clay to increase the stability. The pattern of dumping dredged sand was strictly controlled. Ensuring the stability of the large terminal building required the installation of hydraulic jacks into all its supporting columns so that they could be adjusted to cope with any uneven settlement.

Work on a second runway began in 1999 and is scheduled for completion in 2007. However, the new reclamation area is farther from the coast and in deeper water. The problems of subsidence are expected to be more severe than in the first runway, with a prediction that after 50 years subsidence will have been 18 m compared to 11 m for the first stage (Kansai Airport Authority, 2000). Detailed analyses have been made of the way landing aircraft cause small temporary depressions in the runway that in turn affect the drag on aircraft moving along the runway ( Endo, 2000).

2.3. Singapore Changi Airport

The construction of Changi Airport in the late 1970s involved the reclamation of about 700 ha of land from the sea. Some 40 million m3 of sand were extracted from two seabed areas by cutter-section dredgers and were pumped ashore along 4 km of pipelines (Wong, 1992). Further reclamation work at Changi East for an extension of the airport in the 1990s involved an additional 170 million m3 of sand fill (Choa, 1994).

2.4. Incheon International Airport

Construction of the new Incheon International Airport, begun in 1992, has necessitated the building of 17.3 km of sea dykes around 5615 ha of reclaimed tidal land between Youngijong and Yongyu Islands, 53 km west of Seoul. Two 4000 m runways are being completed on land originally covered by water to an average depth of 1 m. The main terminal building has required the removal of 2.25 Mt (million tonnes) of earth, 0.18 Mt of steel and reinforcing bars and 252,000 m3 of ready mixed concrete. To provide access a 4.4 km long suspension bridge, a 40.2 km 6–8 lane highway and a new 53.7 km double track railway, to downtown Seoul via Kimpo International Airport, have been built (Lee, 1998; Incheon International Airport, 2001).

2.5. The new runway at Funchal, Madeira

The growth of tourist traffic and the need to accommodate larger aircraft has forced the airport on this popular, mountainous island, to expand. The project has entailed the construction of a kilometre long embankment along the coast on 180 concrete pillars, each 3 m in diameter, rising 70 m above sea level with a further 60 m of foundation below ground level. Although modest in scale compared with the foregoing examples, it illustrates the expensive engineering solutions required to adapt some environments for growing air traffic (Anon., 1998; Madeira-web, 2001).

3. The possibilities of using recycled materials in airport construction and maintenance

Much attention has been given to the use of recycled materials for the reconstruction of airport runway pavements. It may now be argued that such use of recycled materials is no more costly than the use of primary materials and in some cases yields superior pavements at lower cost.

A reconstituted base procedure using recycled old asphalt pavements as a base for new bituminous concrete surfacing has been widely used at small airports such as Martha's Vineyard, New Hampshire, Rockland, Maine, and at Beverly Municipal Airport near Boston in the New England region of the USA (Aikman, 1984). At the Jacksonville International Airport in Florida, the existing runway pavement was recycled to produce a 15 cm crushed concrete filter course and a 15 cm econocrete base by breaking out the existing concrete, processing it through a crusher to produce a maximum size aggregate of about 37 mm, and running it through a central mix plant to produce a mix with about 143 kg of cement per cubic metre of concrete. This recycling technique substantially reduced costs by using the material readily available on site.

At Rostraver Airport the fill used in the expansion of a safety zone around a runway extension was a low permeability cementitious material (LPC) made by the Duquesne Light Company by mixing coal combustion by-products (fly ash and flue gas desulphurisation sludge) with lime (Buckley, 1998). Manufactured fill material made by mixing dredged matter, coal ash and lime kiln dust has been used as a sub-base in an airport runway extension at Boston, MA. Fly ash mixed with bitumen (tarcoal) in the ratio of 70:30 at about 80–90°C creates a strong tensile material considered suitable for airport runway construction ( Wasay, 1992).

A major use of recycled material occurred when the City of Philadelphia dredged approximately 2.5 million m3 of material from the Delaware River federal navigation channel and used that material to construct a new commuter airline runway, formally opened in December 1999. As the planned expansion of runway 8–26 would affect federally regulated waters and wetlands, the Corps of Engineers had to give approval. The Corps tied the approval to its ongoing Delaware River channel maintenance dredging program so that the city could use the nearby, high-quality river material instead of traditional upland sources for the runway embankment fill. The City of Philadelphia and its taxpayers benefited because $7 million in savings resulted by using the less costly Delaware River fill material instead of upland sources. There were also considerable environmental benefits. By using the Delaware River dredged material as the primary source of fill for the runway construction, mining and trucking of fill from traditional sources were not necessary. This eliminated environmental impacts related to mining activities and the associated noise and air pollution, traffic congestion and roadway wear that come with trucking the 1,900,000 m3 of fill needed for the new runway. Furthermore, the beneficial use of the Delaware River dredged material conserved dredge disposal capacity. This will reap future economic savings and reduced environmental and social impacts as the Corps of Engineers continues its ongoing maintenance of the Delaware River navigation channel.

4. The Earth science components of aviation sustainability

4.1. Subsidence problems

In addition to Kansai International Airport, many airports suffer risks of subsidence, some due to abstraction of fluids from beneath the ground, others to tectonic activity, especially earthquakes. Among the severe subsidence problems due to oil or groundwater abstraction are those at Long Beach Airport, CA (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1999) and at Lakefront Airport near New Orleans ( Hart, 1994). Airports built on limestone substrates, where sinkhole development and subterranean karst cave collapse can occur, may also suffer subsidence, as at Liangjiang International Airport Guilin, in the famous tower karst area of Guangxi Province, China. To avoid such subsidence risks, grouting with cement was used to fill potential sinkholes at the Huntsville Airport on karstic terrain in Alabama ( La Moreaux, 1967).

The risk of settlement may be greatly reduced by pre-compaction of the substrate before runways are built. Dynamic compaction involving the controlled dropping of a heavy weight, or tamper, from a crawler crane on a predetermined grid pattern was carried out over 575,000 m2 for the new terminal building at Dubai International Airport. The treatment enforced settlement in the ground by reducing void spaces between constituent soil particles. This improved the geotechnical properties of the uppermost 5 m of the substrate, thereby greatly reducing the likelihood of further settlement after construction.

4.2. Shrink-swell (cracking clay) foundation problems

Many parts of the world, especially in mid-latitudes and the sub-tropics have surface clay deposits containing montmorillonite clay minerals that swell when wet and shrink when dry. These clays can severely affect the foundations of buildings through movements in extremely wet periods or times of drought. Often the movements lead to severe cracking of structures. Precautions have to be taken in the design of airport runways and terminal and ancillary buildings in such circumstances.

The new Denver International Airport is built on clays with swell potentials as high as 15 per cent and averaging 8 per cent. These potentials had to be taken into account in the design of the terminal, parking garages and airport office building as well as the airfield pavements themselves. Consideration had to be given to the effects of heavy aircraft landing on the runways and the compaction and compression effects this would produce on the underlying clays.

4.3. Flood damage to airfields

Flooding disrupts aviation activity and may destabilise runways. Sherman US Army Airfield, located on the Missouri River floodplain was inundated to a depth of 1.8–3 ms during the exceptional floods of 1993. The ingress of water destabilised the pavement, reducing its stiffness. In this case however, the strength of the pavement structure improved rapidly as the water drained away and full operational capability was restored more easily than expected. Greater difficulties occur where the post-flood drainage is not as efficient.

Flood risks may be high at many airports built on toe slopes of alluvial fans in arid regions. At Eilat, Israel, the airport runway runs for 3 km along the toe of a fan slope, parallel to its contours, only a few metres above sea level (Schick et al., 1999). The streets of Eilat run downslope and would act as floodways carrying water towards the runway. The protective flood drain along the runway is only big enough to intercept small flows. Such flows could escape through some drainage tunnels under the runway, but these tunnels would be filled by sediment during a major storm event. At adjacent ‘Aqaba, the local airport is similarly at flood risk. Much of the area between the airport and the northern suburbs of ‘Aqaba itself is occupied by a customs-free zone whose compound has to be protected from floods ( Schick et al., 1999).

4.4. Groundwater contamination problems

The new 13 km2 main airport at Gardermoen, Norway is sited above a 100-km2 sand and gravel groundwater aquifer where the water table is 3–20 m below the ground surface (Kaarø, 1994). The behaviour of the groundwater body will be considerably affected by the construction of the airport. The railway tunnel to the main terminal is so deep that it will effectively divide the groundwater system into two. 50 per cent of the rainfall that reaches the surfaces of the new airport will eventually enter the groundwater body. A key issue is the maintenance of both the quality and quantity of the groundwater resource. De-icing of aircraft during the winter will potentially cause chemicals to runoff and infiltrate into the groundwater body, as could any escape of petroleum product residues and other liquid wastes into drainage systems and onto vegetated surfaces. In many cases, groundwater contamination has been discovered only as airports close ( Johnson and Pedoe, 1996).

4.5. Sand drift problems

The movement of sand and dust by wind poses serious problems in drylands, extensive control measures being necessary to avoid incursion of sand on to airfields and other transportation infrastructure (Cooke and Doornkamp, 1990). Sand blasting may cause serious damage to equipment, motors and telecommunications installations. Visibility linked to dust storms is a major hazard for flights into and out of airports in desert regions such as Sharjah and Bahrain in the Persian Gulf ( Houseman, 1961). Blowing dust can create a skidding risk on airport runways.

Movement of dunes can be aggravated through disturbance of vegetated areas during the construction of airport facilities, such as new access roads, car parks and hotels. Accelerated dune movement can result in sand build-up on the edges of airfields, which may add to natural sources of blown sand and dust. Sustainable airport management requires that these impacts on geomorphic processes are considered, controlled and minimised in order to involve the creation of unnecessary costs for the airport, its users and for adjacent landholders and residents.

5. Conclusions

The sustainability of aviation is more than operating airports and aircraft with a view to minimising their direct environmental impacts. The indirect effects, not only on the immediate vicinity of airports and transportation routes, but also on the areas from which the materials for airport construction and operation are obtained, need to be considered. The changes to earth surface systems caused by land reclamation for major airports, especially those for runways built on artificial islands or peninsulas are significant. Serious feedbacks from the earth surface system may occur, as in the case of subsidence at the Kansai International Airport. Even on the ground surface, airport construction often increases the risks of disruption from geophysical hazards, such those due to flooding and siltation where runways are sited on low-angle alluvial fans, or those of dust and sand storms where airport development accelerates natural movements of dune sand.

The sustainability of ecosystems and earth surface systems adjacent to airports can be greatly reduced by runoff of chemicals, groundwater contamination, airborne emissions, and all the complex disturbance of land surfaces and vegetation communities through the peripheral urban and industrial activity associated with provision of access and services from airport users and air freight movement. Increasingly aviation facilities act as a magnet for related commercial and industrial developments. While these developments are not part of the aviation industry itself, they would not be there if the associated airport did not exist. This paper has emphasised materials use and geomorphic change associated with airport construction and has indicated that when the full indirect impacts of airport construction are considered, the materials flows involved are of geological significance in terms of mass moved per unit of time. Some of the material flows could be reduced by the use of recycled materials in runway construction maintenance, terminal construction and related facets of airport development. The earth science, geomorphic elements of land surface change for aviation are important, both for possible future high cost remedial engineering works for the industry itself, and for the long-term stability of earth-surface systems.


Personalidade e Político 2007

Personalidade 2007

Por ter ganho o Prémio Nobel da Paz juntamente com o IPCC/ONU.

Político 2007

Pelos resultados alcançados na Presidência da União Europeia.


Glimpses of the Future from the Past

O porquê da Estratégia de Lisboa

... the success of capitalism will lead to a form of corporatism and a fostering of values that are hostile to capitalism... The intellectual and social climate needed to allow entrepreneurship to thrive will not exist in advanced capitalism.

It will be replaced by socialism in some form. There will not be a revolution, but merely a trend in parliaments to elect social democratic parties of one stripe or another... capitalism will collapse from within as democratic majorities vote for the creation of a welfare state and place restrictions upon entrepreneurship that will burden and destroy the capitalist structure...

The New Industrial State ... people who are able to express opinions on societal matters they are not directly responsible for. They can stand up for the interests of strata, that they themselves do not belong to. It is a great advantage of capitalism, that more and more people can acquire (higher) education, compared with pre-Capitalist eras, when education was a privilege of the few.

The jobs of executive personnel are limited, however, and discontent rises with unemployment... The intellectuals are able to organise protest among the population and, naturally, develop critical ideas...

... a theory of democracy ... was a process by which the electorate identified the common good, and politicians carried this out for them... this was unrealistic, and that people's ignorance and superficiality meant that in fact they were largely manipulated by politicians, who set the agenda.

... a minimalist model ... democracy is the mechanism for competition between leaders, much like a market structure. Although periodical votes from the general public legitimize governments and keep them accountable, the policy program is very much seen as their own and not that of the people, and the participatory role for individuals is severely limited.


Nas mãos do Governo

Quando uma fonte governamental afirma estar tudo em aberto em relação à Ota ou Alcochete, isso não quer dizer que o novo aeroporto afinal vai ser em Alcochete, mais precisamente na zona H6 do estudo da CIP, a 20 km Oeste de Alcochete. Indica que a decisão será do governo. Mesmo a Análise a entregar pelo LNEC ao governo não terá nenhuma alínea a reportar que o Aeroporto deve ser feito nesta ou naquela localização.

Os principais pontos de análise feitos pelo LNEC foram vários e aqui se relata algumas das realidades presentes nessa Análise que serviria de suporte à decisão política. Como não há uma matriz assente em pesos que medem a importância de vários critérios, mas um estudo integrado que restringe a análise ao que é mais importante e possível de quantificar, dependerá do Governo a tomada de posição sobre a localização definitiva do Novo Aeroporto.

Conservação da Natureza

Ota têm uma zona lateral rodeada por montados de pequeno a médio porte e um charco alimentado por duas ribeiras. A construção do aeroporto nesta zona obriga a obras de engenharia hidráulica, terraplanagem, destruição de habitats e consolidação dos leitos para a área da 2ºpista. Como todas as obras públicas, têm sempre um impacto ambiental elevado.

Alcochete faz parte integrante de uma Reserva Ecológica, e o Campo de Tiro de Alcochete até ganhou em 2004 um prémio de Valor Ambiental por ter elevada riqueza de espécies cinegéticas. Nada mal para quem argumentava que aquela zona estava cheia de crateras resultante do impacto de bombas lançada pela Força Aérea. A sua destruição seria considerada um crime ambiental pelas Associações de Protecção da Natureza em Portugal, mesmo sendo a opção “mais barata” – à primeira vista.


Ota têm grande parte das acessibilidades prontas e / ou em construção. É dos locais onde houve maior reforço e interligação com vários eixos rodoviários na última década. A10, CREL, A1, A13, IC1.

Alcochete falta-lhe reforçar as ligações rodoviárias aos itinerários principais, A10, A12 e A2. Essas ligações não têm estudos de impacto ambiental e como a zona escolhida está rodeada de montado de sobro, os impactos previstos e não reportados no estudo da CIP são elevados.

Gestão do Espaço Aéreo

Ota apresenta restrições médias e alteráveis no espaço aéreo a Norte de Lisboa. A sua operação inviabiliza por motivos de segurança aeronáutica e eficiências das aterragens e descolagens, a operação simultânea com a Portela.

Alcochete levaria ao término do Campo de Tiro de Alcochete, ao deslocamento do Triângulo de Tiro de Vendas Novas e interferência com as operações aéreas da Base Aérea do Montijo, futuro pólo logístico de transporte da F.A.P. que suporta missões militares que inviabilizam operações aéreas comerciais de Linha Aérea (Low Cost e outras). Os custos acrescidos devido a estas implicações não foram contabilizadas mas escondidas do público. A sua operação conjunta com a Portela é possível só numa das pistas que sobrevôa a cidade de Montijo, o que a torna uma opção pouco viável.

A localização de um circuito de espera para os aviões localiza-se regra geral quando possível por cima do mar e perto da costa de modo a que o “dumping” de combustível em caso de emergência leve à menor contaminação do terreno. A insinuação de que o circuito de espera ficaria localizado sobre o Campo de Tiro de Alcochete é muito conveniente para os defensores de Alcochete, que argumentam com base em afirmações falsas de que o C.T.A. iria ficar desactivado na mesma, o que é mentira.

Riscos Naturais

Ota têm dois riachos na zona e é necessário desviar os cursos de água de modo a tornar a zona livre de inundações. Não existem poços de abastecimento de água potável na zona por ser água de má qualidade. A existência de orografia elevada a cerca de 6 milhas náuticas não apresenta problema para as operações aéreas correntes devido à re-orientação das pistas.

A existência de um pequeno monte inviabiliza a operação de aterragem numa orientação entre duas possíveis, numa pista entre duas planeadas, e só em condições de muito baixa visibilidade, sendo possível a aterragem em condições normais de segurança na outra pista. A área foi extensivamente estudada e os relatórios da consultora contratada para fazer o projecto do Novo Aeroporto atesta que existe segurança nas operações aéreas.

Ao contrário do que foi insinuado, nunca houve um acidente devido a nevoeiros na zona da Ota. O que houve foi um acidente com 5 aviões da F.A.P. a mais de 100 km de distância,ao pé de Coimbra, devido a reduzida visibilidade existente numa missão militar de sobrevôo a baixa altitude, o que não acontece em operações civis comerciais de transporte aéreo.

Alcochete têm, ao contrário das informações veiculadas no estudo da CIP, elevada possibilidade de contaminação do aquífero Tejo-Sado, uma das principais razões que levaram ao abandono da solução Rio-Frio em 1999. É o que dá quando se fazem estudos à distância e limitados por imagens cartográficas tiradas do Google Earth.

Nunca foi estudado nesta zona, que engloba o terreno do Aeroporto e áreas de Aproximação e Descolagem, o risco de colisões com aves, embora essa possibilidade exista por ser uma área de nidificação natural de várias espécies – e que levou a ser também uma das razões pelo abandono da localização Rio Frio - de tal modo que entre Junho e Setembro as operações de treino de tiro são suspensas no Campo de Tiro de Alcochete para evitar possíveis colisões com aves ou prejudicar a própria nidificação.

Existe uma pequena albufeira alimentada por um pequeno riacho e a zona têm uma elevada proximidade com os lençóis freáticos pertencentes ao aquífero Tejo-Sado e é uma das zonas mais rentáveis da CELPA na produção de pasta para eucalipto. Os danos económicos por interromper esta exploração não foram contabilizados no estudo da CIP. O risco de contaminação da rede de infraestrutura de abastecimento de água (poços de abastecimento) é um risco que se acontecer, será uma ameaça real à saúde de 800 mil pessoas que residem na Cintura Almada-Montijo, Vendas Novas, Setúbal e Palmela.

Riscos Tecnológicos

A existência de pedreiras a Oeste da zona da Ota, em Alenquer, e Fábricas de Cimento em Alverca-Xira, tornará o transporte de materiais - rocha, brita, cimento de construção do Aeroporto mais barato, mais acessível e com menos riscos para a circulação rodoviária envolvente. A existência de paióis de combustível na zona facilitam e diminuem o o risco no transporte de combustíveis de aviação, um facto muito ignorado e escamoteado pela opinião pública, levando ao absurdo de que isso fosse considerado um grande risco por estarem no alinhamento das pistas a 10 km do aeroporto e insinuando que as aeronaves que descolassem para Norte se manteriam a voar baixinho e logo em direcção a essa zona.

Por ser uma zona que não foi amplamente estudada para se fazer lá um aeroporto, desconhecem-se as implicações de construir um aeroporto no Campo de Tiro de Alcochete. Devido a ter que se construir mais infraestruturas nesta localização, o risco será maior na fase da construção, muito devido à existência de lencóis freáticos perto da superfície que diminuem a consistência dos solos e levam a maior remoção de terra para consolidação posterior com materias impermeáveis assentes em leito de rocha.

Análise Financeira

Ota é uma opção muito cara, e nas presentes condições financeiras que o país atravessa, investir numa obra pública com um preço que supera 3 mil milhões de euros, só poderá ser entendido como uma opção governamental para estimular o sector das obras públicas nacional.

Seria preferível tal obra não se realizar, mas segundo os entendidos na matéria, Portela é uma opção comercial inviável para este século da aviação comercial e a cidade de Lisboa teria indirectamente mais terrenos para novas residências, espaços comerciais, pólos tecnológicos ou mesmo uma nova cidade universitária na Portela. Seria uma solução onde todos ganhavam - o sector da construção de obras públicas, o turismo Oeste/Centro, empresas tecnológicas que precisassem de investir ou expandir-se em Lisboa.

Alcochete aparenta ser a solução económica mais barata. Contudo, a solução mais barata tende a ser a mais cara a longo prazo, se a rentabilidade do investimento fôr menor nesse período de tempo.

Para aumentar essa rentabilidade, o estudo da CIP pretende que a linha do TGV seja modificada, passando a percorrer as planícies ribatejanas e com isso incapacitando parte de uma das zonas mais férteis da agricultura em Portugal, trazendo com isso uma solução Alcochete + TGV mais económica e mais agressiva do ponto de vista ambiental.

Contudo, o estudo da CIP é fértil em erros de concepção e falha numa análise mais atenta por parte de responsáveis da RAVE. Quando um estudo de transportes ferroviários de alta-velocidade é feito à pressa por duas pessoas que têm responsabilidades académicas e não estão a tempo inteiro, é mais do que esperado que haja muitas inconsistências e erros de planeamento. Mas o mais grave ainda é propôr um projecto de um Novo Aeroporto metendo “ao barulho” o planeamento de uma rede ferroviária de alta-velocidade que custa mais do que 10 Aeroportos da Ota.

Ordenamento do Território

A Ota têm já previsto no plano de desenvolvimento para o território de Lisboa e Vale do Tejo a existência do Aeroporto de modo a potenciar e tornar mais lucrativa a operação logística e empresas ligadas ao turismo na zona Centro e Oeste. A sua localização é beneficiada pela existência de núcleos populacionais de média dimensão o que a torna a solução mais capaz do ponto de vista do país e não só o de Lisboa.

Grande parte da discussão têm sido orientada só para favorecer Lisboa, ou mais concretamente, o Centro de Lisboa, como se isso fosse o grande objectivo para um Aeroporto Internacional. Este deve, acima de tudo, servir o País e não uma cidade. Portanto, uma análise a nível macro de toda a região circundante e às várias capitais de Distrito é um imperativo.

Alcochete, ao contrário da Ota, é uma zona onde não existe quase nada, nenhuma infra-estrutura de saneamento, abastecimento de água, postos de transformação de electricidade, indústrias de construção e instalação. A sua construção obrigaria à instalação de um enorme estaleiro para suporte às operações de construção, o que acarrateria elevados impactes ambientais. A existência de um Aeroporto nesta zona potenciaria a zona de Setúbal, Palmela, Vendas Novas, Alcochete, Cintura Montijo-Almada.

Este é o ponto mais problemático que irá pesar fortemente na decisão política. Todas as outras terão um peso menor porque as consequências de uma decisão desestruturada e alienada da realidade territorial levam à falência do modelo proposto a longo prazo e com isso não há análise custo/benefício que seja credível.


Todas estas informações podem ser verificadas para quem se der ao trabalho de o fazer, consultando as fontes de informação oficiais, indo ao terreno, olhar com espírito crítico as suposições que são lançadas por estudos que são financiados por gente “anónima”, ou mesmo por lobies que têm interesses de promoção da sua região à custa do interesse nacional – é nisto que dá o regionalismo tão apoiado por Menezes, que não passa de um idiota inútil e que infelizmente lidera o meu partido.

Numa questão de importância nacional, não faltam bandidos que se deleitam a propôr a solução de privatização da Portela para quererem ser eles a meter lá a mão ou professores universitários que se metem em grandes cavalgadas para o qual não têm o estofo necessário. Não tenho nenhuma dúvida de que se lhes dessem prestígio e dinheiro, através de cargos públicos ou financiamentos de “estudos” e “projectos” para as suas empresas, calavam-se.

Espero que a decisão que está nas mãos do Governo, seja a favor da Ota. Não por ser "a" Ota, porque não tenho nada a ganhar a título pessoal nem faço "chincana" política só para mostrar que pertenço à oposição. Mas precisamente porque a outra alternativa, Alcochete, é economicamente insustentável, um atentado ambiental, de elevado risco e desestruturada, além de alimentar os ataques da opinião pública
à outra localização, a Ota, com base em demagogias, em pressupostos falsos e deturpação da verdade.

P.S.: As fotos são da nova aeronave Airbus A380 que vai ser o principal "cavalo-de-batalha" das grandes transportadoras de Linha Aérea no Século XXI. O Aeroporto da Portela não têm condições para operar esta Aeronave.


Guerra e Desenvolvimento

Os países da Europa ditos civilizados e defensores da moral cristã e dos direitos humanos, são os que têm contribuido, depois da liberalização da indústria de Defesa desses mesmos países, ao aumento da produção e venda de armas a países do Terceiro Mundo.

Com o aumento da procura por armamento a nível Global (é caso para dizer que temos "um regresso às armas"), veio com isso um aumento do PIB dos países exportadores desses equipamentos. Mais desenvolvimento, competências, riqueza, avanços na tecnologia, melhor qualidade de vida das populações, inovações, novas indústrias. Tudo graças aos negócios da Guerra.

O negócio das armas vale milhões. Segundo o SIPRI, 1204 mil milhões de dólares no ano passado. Nada mal.

Quando virem a Angela Merkel discursar a favor dos direitos humanos, não se esqueçam que parte do PIB da Alemanha vêm da indústria de Defesa: Aviões Militares, Tanques, Armas, Munições, Mísseis, Submarinos, vendidos a países em África, Ásia e América do Sul.

Quando testemunharem Gordon Brown, prime-minister do UK, argumentar a violação dos direitos humanos no Zimbabwe, também não se esqueçam que o UK, apoiado pelas comissões de defesa externa do Governo Britânico, é o maior exportador de tecnologia e equipamentos militares na Europa, para países de Terceiro Mundo e em Desenvolvimento.

Quando lerem as declarações de Nicolas Sarkozy sob a necessidade de haver paz no Líbano e Médio Oriente, também não se esqueçam que a França é o maior fornecedor de equipamentos militares à Síria, que armou o Hezbollah no conflito Israel-Líbano.

A hipocrisia continua a dar milhões.

Há uma corrida às armas. Porquê? Avizinha-se um grande conflito mundial? Terá o petróleo influência neste aumento vertiginoso? Será que a China se vai tornar
neste século a grande potência mundial? E o papel dos Estados Unidos? Que acontecerá ao seu poderio militar? A Europa vive um clima de paz sem precedentes, há cerca de 60 anos. Será que esse tempo chegou ao fim?


Bio-energia, o que é?

Há uma diferença entre discutir e adoptar uma solução.

Não recomendável a pessoas que não pensam pela sua própria cabeça!

Isaltino Morais vai a julgamento.

Depois do escândalo do dinheiro na Suiça, só no final de 2007 é que isto chega a tribunal.

Se Isaltino merece a condenação, ao Tribunal pertence a decisão. Não obstante, continuo a achar que ele não se devia ter candidatado à C.M.O., mesmo que tenha feito um bom trabalho.

Admito que Isaltino é um bom autarca e é uma pena que isto acabe por manchar a sua carreira de serviço público. Mas também acho que ninguém se pode colocar numa posição de insubstituível, quanto mais estando num processo de investigação que lança suspeitas sobre o candidato ou presidente.

Penso que Isaltino deve suspender as suas funções. Não posso separar a matriz de desempenho de funções públicas, ao serviço do público, da sua pessoa, especialmente nesta fase, onde é acusado e vai a julgamento. Existe uma suspeição fundamentada por parte do Ministério Público e legitimada pelo poder judicial.

Acho uma falta de sentido de Estado e um desrespeito pelo que mais há sagrado na República Portuguesa, que são as suas Leis, um autarca, deputado ou governante, não suspender o seu mandato quando confrontado com a suspeição pública e assumida do poder judicial.

Não o fazer é deixar a presunção de que um político, pela força dos votos, está acima da Lei. E isto é perigosíssimo num estado democrático. Sendo líderes, os políticos devem fazer a diferença além de dar o exemplo!

Se isso não acontecer, caberá a nós ter um papel activo politicamente. Só dessa maneira é que poremos a democracia a funcionar.