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Modernisation of the Covilhã-Guarda railway section

Description of social and environmental performance.

Problem detected:

During the work to modernise the section of railway between Covilhã and Guarda on the Beira Baixa line, actions have been performed such as integrated refurbishment of 36 km of track, the complete electrification of the section, the rehabilitation of six railway bridges, the remodelling of stations, the automation and removal of crossings and the construction of drainage systems, and the performance of slope stabilisation works.

Some of these works entailed a high level of potential risk, both for human health and the environment, as in work areas hazardous substances were used and accidental discharges were detected.

Solutions adopted:

During these works, discharge containment tanks were put in place that made it possible to collect fluids containing pollutant particles stored on site, before they came into contact with the soil. The placement of the tanks was chosen based on the site’s accessibility and the use of pollutant materials. Furthermore, movable basins were used at the front of the works.

Furthermore, to protect the health of those working on site, environmental emergency kits were handed out to foremen and environmental training imparted to teams.

Results:

The immediate benefits of the actions to collect discharges included the notable reduction in accidental spills on site.

Applying this type of measure, not only was it possible to minimise the risk of soil pollution by hazardous substances, it was also possible to prevent the exposure of those working on site and any pedestrians from being exposed to these substances. As such, we contributed to achieving Development Goal 3 (health and wellbeing) and 15 (life on land).