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News|05 Feb, 2010

Seven Simple Things to save the Baltic Sea

Baltic sea
Several good initiatives and declarations have been made in the last 40 years by governments to improve the environmental conditions of the Baltic Sea. These commitments must be followed by actions.

WWF and its partner organisations today sent letters to the Prime Ministers in all the Baltic Sea countries to suggest seven simple things that governments can do immediately to improve the environmental status of the Baltic Sea. The letter has been sent in connection to the Baltic Sea Action Summit, where Prime Ministers and Heads of States will meet in Helsinki to “provide a platform for arriving at practical commitments to save the Baltic Sea”.

Governments around the Baltic Sea have a history of good ambitions when it comes to improving the environmental conditions of the sea. Governmental initiatives include the 1977 Helsinki Convention and all its ministerial declarations; the Baltic Sea Environmental Declaration of 9 April 1992; the Baltic 21 agenda, initiated by the Prime Ministers of the Baltic Sea countries in 1996; the Baltic Sea Action Plan of November 2008; and lately the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, adopted by the European Council in October 2009.

“Good ambitions and bold commitments definitely have a place in the restoration of the Baltic Sea” says Mats Abrahamsson, Director, WWF Baltic Ecoregion Programme, “but words need to be followed by actions to a greater extent than what has been done so far if we are to see any actual improvements in the sea”.

WWF, through its Baltic Ecoregion Programme, is cooperating with governments, businesses, scientists and other organisations around the Baltic Sea to involve all nations, all sectors and all stakeholders in a coordinated process to plan the use of the sea and its resources, in an ecosystem-based approach, with the aim of both saving the environment and facilitating economic development.

“We certainly need to continue to work within regional and European institutions to establish solid long term change processes that have a chance to match the severity and complexity of the problems” says Mats Abrahamsson.” However, while we work on these long term processes, there are several things that can be done now in the short term to improve the state of the Baltic Sea. Many of these short term measures have already been ‘promised’ by governments.”

The seven simple things proposed by WWF are:

  1. Ban all uses of phosphates in detergents
  2. Introduce a tax on N and P in mineral fertilizers
  3. Ban fishing of eel until the stock is recovered and restore inland migration routes
  4. Ratify the Ballast Water Convention
  5. Clean up remaining Helcom hotspots
  6. Provide adequate port reception facilities for cruise ship sewage
  7. Establish a network of marine protected areasTherefore, WWF Baltic Ecoregion Programme with its partner organisations proposes the following seven simple things that governments should be able to do right now, with very small changes to existing legislations and budgets. They are far from what is needed to restore the Baltic Sea to a good environmental status, but we think they could be a good start.

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Last modified 22/11/19

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