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Finnish-Swedish cooperation to clean up the Baltic Sea

Baltic Sea 2020 and John Nurminen Foundation have launched the ”Clean Baltic Sea Poland” project with the objective of decreasing the levels of phosphorus in the Baltic Sea. Phosphorus, in too large quantities, is the primary reason for the flowering of blue green algae in the Baltic Sea, now a regular and undesirable summer phenomena. The foundations have the ambition to together help to make the phosphorus purification more effective at selected Polish wastewater treatment plants. The goal is to reduce the discharge of phosphorus from the wastewater treatment plants by 1,000 tons per year.

The Baltic Sea suffers from a growing rate of overfertilization which threatens the marine environment. The high concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus have their origin primarily from wastewater treatment plants, agricultural and animal husbandry. Poland plays a major role in the improvement of the situation in the Baltic Sea, as over the half of the people in the Baltic Sea’s run-off area live in Poland. One-third of the 30,000 tons of phosphorus which runs out into the Baltic Sea each year is from Poland..

The preconditions for the cooperation are good as that all of the large towns in Poland have implemented extensive investment programmes with EU subsidies. Via minor complementary investments and a time-limited operational support, the foundations will be able to encourage the wastewater treatment plants to voluntarily decrease the concentration of phosphorus in the water being discharged. The goal is to decrease the phosphorus concentration from the EU standard to the more stringent scientific recommendations which have been agreed to within the Baltic Sea Actions Plan.

The first phase of the project is conducted in collaboration with Warsaw and began in spring 2008.

For more information, please contact:
Lotta Samuelson, Baltic Sea 2020, +46 (0)708 23 87 47, lotta.samuelson@balticsea2020.org