Seven steps to save the Baltic Sea



Posted on 09 February 2010  | 
Ban of phosphates in detergents, cleaning up remaining Helcom hotspots and a network of marine protected areas are among seven simple actions which could help save one of the most threatened sea areas in the world.

WWF and its partners have published a set of recommendations ahead of the Baltic Sea Action Summit which will take place in Helsinki on the 10 th of February.

Prime Ministers and Heads of States, together with companies and organisations will meet this week in the Finnish capital to agree on ”practical commitments to save the Baltic Sea”.

The Finnish president Tarja Halonen and the Swedish king, Carl XVI Gustaf, also president of the Council of WWF Sweden, are among the participants.

“Strong leadership and urgent action is needed from all countries around the Baltic to save our joint sea. Good ambitions and bold commitments are very important, but words need to be followed by concrete action to a greater extent than today if we are to see any actual improvements in the sea”, said Mats Abrahamsson, Director, WWF Baltic Ecoregion Programme.

WWF has compiled a list of seven simple things that can be done right now in the short term to improve the state of the Baltic Sea. Many of these measures have already been “promised” by the Baltic Sea governments.

“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” said 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.

The seven simple things proposed by WWF are: Ban all uses of phosphates in detergents, introduce a tax on N and P in mineral fertilizers, ban fishing of eel until the stock is recovered and restore inland migration routes, ratify the Ballast Water Convention, clean up remaining Helcom hotspots, provide adequate port reception facilities for cruise ship sewage and establish a network of marine protected areas

“These measures can be achieved by 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, concluded Mats Abrahamsson


Background: 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.

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.

Cruising the Sensitive Baltic Sea
© (c) Antti Siponen / WWF Enlarge

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