June 5th, 2024

SETAC Europe 34th Annual Meeting: the importance of facts

From 5 to 9 May 2024, the 34th annual meeting of SETAC Europe took place in Seville, Spain. This year’s theme was “Science-Based Solutions in Times of Crisis: Integrating Science and Policy for Environmental Challenges”. This meeting attracted more than 3,000 participants and offered a wide range of interesting sessions and poster presentations.  

With a total of 500 presentations and 2,300 posters, there was something for everyone to discover. One notable contribution came from RIWA-Rijn, which presented a poster entitled “Watch on the Rhine – RIWA-Rijn – Turning River Water Quality Data into a River of Quality Water Data”. This presentation fell under the theme “Science Communication: Reaching Outside of the Scientific Bubble” and focused on how data from the Rhine is being used to provide insight into water quality.

RIWA-Rhine’s poster showed how the concentrations are compared with target values from the European River Memorandum (ERM) and how the data have been used to determine the treatment task index and evaluate the 30% reduction target. The main message was that decision-making should be based on facts. This highlights the importance of collecting, interpreting, visualising and sharing quality data, especially when it comes to drinking water sources.

Another interesting contribution at the SETAC meeting was the presentation of the CREED method. This method provides a framework for systematically and transparently assessing both the reliability and relevance of environmental exposure datasets. The meeting demonstrated that a RIWA-Rijn dataset on the presence of hexa(methoxymethyl)melamine (HMMM) in Dutch surface waters, after completing missing information, was assessed as ‘usable without limitations’ at the silver level for reliability.

The SETAC Europe 34th Annual Meeting provided a platform for valuable knowledge exchange and collaboration between scientists and policy makers. The event highlighted the crucial role of scientific data in environmental decision-making and the importance of effective communication of these data to a wider audience.