Reduction of nutrient input discussed in HELCOM meeting in St. Petersburg

The first results of a HELCOM project compiling information on nutrient load on the Baltic Sea were presented to the group. The results, based on data reported by all HELCOM countries, indicate further reduction of nitrogen and phosphorus input in 2012-2014.

Provisional figures show that the nitrogen input was reduced by about 13% and phosphorus almost by 19% since the reference period 1997-2003 (based on a 3 year average, 2012-2014) while the reduction in the period 2010-2012 was 9.4% and 13,6% respectively.

The final results are expected in the end of June 2017. A ranking of the sources of nutrients, the assessment of effectiveness of the undertaken measures and the evaluation of progress achieved by individual countries towards the implementation of national reduction targets will be presented at the PRESSURE group meeting in October 2017.

Another hot topic of the meeting was the follow up of the situation around the HELCOM hot spot toxic landfill Krasnyi Bor near St. Petersburg. Russia presented a concept for the remediation of the site implying the conservation of the site in a period of about 7 years. The international experts welcomed Russia’s initiative to establish a public information center to communicate all relevant issues with public society, current activities coordinated by NEFCO on validation of waste water treatment system on the landfill and launching of cooperation with German Environment Agency on the verification of the monitoring programme.

Among other HELCOM priorities the group discussed the progress in implementing the regional action plan on marine litter and the progress in elaborating HELCOM guidelines for establishing environmental targets for underwater noise. The participants also agreed on the working plan of the HELCOM group on pharmaceutical residues in the environment.

HELCOM countries also pointed out that exploitation of mineral resources on the sea floor might have a significant potential environmental effect which is scarcely known and requires urgent action to compile relevant information.

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