Nutrients to the Baltic Sea are decreasing

The latest data for individual sub-basins of the Baltic Sea is revealed by the recent report on the assessment of nitrogen and phosphorus input to the Baltic Sea in 2012. The statistical trend of the overall burden of nitrogen and phosphorus to the Baltic Sea as a whole, indicates decrease with 18% and 23%, respectively, in the past 15 years. However, the situation differs between the sub-basins.

According to the HELCOM nutrient reduction scheme, reductions in inputs of nitrogen were needed to three sub-basins where Maximum Allowable Inputs were exceeded: Baltic Proper, Gulf of Finland and Kattegat.

The Maximum Allowable Input (MAI), a key component of HELCOM nutrient reduction scheme, is the estimated highest amount of nutrient input per year to a given sub-basin, which would still allow for reaching Good Environmental Status in terms of eutrophication. 

The draft assessment about the countries' progress in reducing nutrient inputs, discussed at length by the Meeting, is expected to be published next month. The web presentation of the assessments will continue to be improved thereafter, as part of the overall effort in HELCOM to produce more user-friendly and easier to update reports.

The Pressure group meeting, also addressed another regionally significant matter - underwater noise. As impacts of underwater noise are a new concern, a road map for activities to improve the knowledge base on noise pollution and its consequences on marine life is under preparation.  

The meeting also discussed other matters such as the upcoming implementation of the recent HELCOM Recommendation, Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter (36/1), and the urgent need for promoting regionally the sustainable and environmentally friendly practices for handling of sludge, a by-product of waste water treatment processes.

The Pressure group meeting launched a process of data collection in order to compile a regional status report on medical substances in the environment, their sources and pathways. There is no such overview yet for the Baltic Sea region. The compiled information will be the basis for regional discussion on needed measures to prevent or mitigate possible environmental consequences of growing drug consumption in the region. The report is planned to be issued by mid-2016.

(PM HELCOM, 13.05.2015, gekürzt)