HELCOM to consider targets for reduction of nutrient pollution

May 17, 2007
The HELCOM Land-based Pollution Group (HELCOM LAND) will convene a regular meeting on 22-24 May in Espoo, Finland, to discuss further actions to combat eutrophication and reduce pollution of hazardous substances in the Baltic Sea. The main focuses of this Meeting will be on the development of the Group's input to the strategic Baltic Sea Action Plan, now being drafted by HELCOM to ensure that all possible steps are taken to improve the state of the Baltic Sea marine environment. An expert...

HELSINKI, May 16, 2007 -- The HELCOM Land-based Pollution Group (HELCOM LAND) will convene a regular meeting on 22-24 May in Espoo, Finland, to discuss further actions to combat eutrophication and reduce pollution of hazardous substances in the Baltic Sea.

The main focuses of this Meeting will be on the development of the Group's input to the strategic Baltic Sea Action Plan, now being drafted by HELCOM to ensure that all possible steps are taken to improve the state of the Baltic Sea marine environment. An expert working group on agriculture to be held in conjunction with the meeting will consider specific country-wise targets for reduction of nutrient pollution from agriculture and the needed measures to achieve the necessary reductions. Agriculture is the main source of nutrient pollution to the Baltic Sea and it is crucial to direct more efforts to reduce the pollution from agriculture.

"Cleaning up the Baltic Sea's single most significant pollution sources -- the so-called Hot Spots -- is one of the topmost issues on the agenda," says Kaj Forsius, HELCOM's Professional Secretary. "The Meeting will review progress in the reduction of pollution from the Waste Water Treatment Plant in Tychy Urbanowice in Poland and look into its compliance with relevant HELCOM Recommendations and ultimately consider the possibility of its deletion from the Baltic Sea's major polluters list," says Forsius.

The "Hot Spots" list of the most significant point sources of pollution around the Baltic Sea was first drawn up under the Baltic Sea Joint Comprehensive Environmental Action Programme (JCP) in 1992. Half of the original 162 Hot Spots/sub-Hot Spots have so far been deleted from the list. Investment and remediation projects carried out at pollution Hot Spots around the Baltic Sea have contributed substantially towards overall pollution load reductions in the Baltic Sea catchment area.

The Meeting will look into HELCOM's first results from a project developing measures for hazardous substances under the Baltic Sea Action Plan. In this activity the use of and emissions of certain hazardous substances are evaluated to assess the impacts on the Baltic Sea environment in order to ensure that adequate measures are taken in the implementation of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan.

HELCOM LAND will also consider two new HELCOM recommendations on reduction of emissions of hazardous substances, one concerning the reduction of especially dioxins from small-scale combustion and the other one on mercury emissions from crematoria.

The meeting will also consider the introduction of new requirements for better control of nutrient loads from small and medium-sized municipalities, scattered settlements and single-family homes in the Baltic Sea Region.

The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, more usually known as the Helsinki Commission, or HELCOM, is an intergovernmental organization of all the nine Baltic Sea countries and the EU which works to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution.

HELCOM is the governing body of the "Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area," known as the Helsinki Convention.

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