On the occasion of the Baltic Sea Day, which is marked on March 22, St. Petersburg is holding the 13th International Environmental Forum Baltic Sea Day. The forum is attended by the delegations from Germany, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Finland, Sweden and Estonia. All these countries are members of the Helsinki Commission on protection of the marine environment of the Baltic Sea (HELCOM).
Over the last 20 years St. Petersburg has been the place where many environmental issues are discussed at the European level. This year the 13th Baltic Sea forum has gathered more than 600 experts from the countries members of HELCOM. The main topic on the agenda is how to ensure health marine environmental of the Baltic Sea. We hear from one of the organizers of the event, general director of the Ecology and Business organization Leonid Korovin.
"At present the preparation have begun for the Russian-Finnish-Estonian project called “the Gulf of Finland Year” which is to be implemented in 2014. Now the participants are discussing the project’s terms of reference. Also under sponsorship of the EU and HELCOM the Balthazar project is being carried out, which covers such important environmental issues as recycling of wastes from agriculture, cattle-breeding and poultry industries. It also includes the screening of hazardous wastes which are on the list of HELCOM. There are quite many examples of close international cooperation."
In the last few years Finland has provided assistance to 50 projects of St. Petersburg’s water service company Vodokanal, Korovin says. As a result, the concentration of phosphorus, nitrogen in run-off waters has been reduced by 70%. The establishment of the Ingermanland reserve in the area of the Gulf of Finland will become a momentous event for the whole Baltic region. First the proposal to create such a reserve was voiced at a session of the Helsinki commission by then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The establishment of the reserve was regarded as one of compensations for the construction of the Nord Stream pipeline along the bottom of the Baltic Sea. This project will be implemented under the guidance of the World Wild Life Fund, the coordinator of the Baltic fund projects Sergey Rezvy says.
"There are quite many islands there where environment has remained almost undisturbed because the access to the islands was restricted due to border control etc. We have discovered a large number of interesting birds there. These are eider ducks and grey gooses, polar sea-swallow and Caspian tern. Besides that this is also a life environment for two types of seals – gray seal and ringed seal. Now the number of ringed seals in the Gulf is not more than several dozens."
Russian citizens who reside in the area of the Baltic Sea are not indifferent to the state of its environment. Even in local schools children are involved in monitoring of the state of the sea water, Chairman of the Baltic Sea Friends interregional youth environmental organization Olga Senova says.
"We are monitoring the rivers near the Gulf of Finland. School children are not researchers but they give us signals. They make very simple observations without using expensive research equipment. But even their simple results can give us signals and to tell us what problems we should pay attention too."
In particular, the agenda of the 13th International Environmental Forum Baltic Sea Day includes school and student contests. The forum will work till March 23.
News source: Voice of Russia
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