The characteristics of the Baltic Sea make it a sensitive and vulnerable ecosystem, susceptible to environmental load and high pressure of use. An excessive nutrient load and the resulting eutrophication are the Baltic's most serious problems. Concentrations of certain harmful substances are also high. The Baltic Sea is threatened by increasing maritime traffic, which is causing emissions and increasing the risk of oil and chemical spills.
Although long-term efforts have been made to protect the Baltic Sea, none of its waters have so far been restored to good condition. The use, maintenance and protection of the Baltic Sea and its surrounding catchment area should be examined comprehensively, in order to improve the sea's condition.
The importance and urgency of protecting the Baltic Sea are illustrated by the fact that the Government has approved several resolutions in recent years, with the aim of reducing environmental loads and the harm caused by human activities and improving the sea's condition.
Bringing eutrophication under control
The Government Programme (2011) seeks to turn Finland into a model country in terms of nutrient recycling. The Ministry of the Environment programme to promote the recycling of nutrients and improve the status of the Archipelago Sea (2012–2015) aims to reduce the environmental load of agriculture.
This Government Programme includes a decision to improve measures taken in order to improve the condition of the Baltic Sea, both nationally and in cooperation with other Baltic Sea states. These measures include the implementation of the EU Marine Strategy, the Baltic Sea Action Plan of the Baltic Marine Environment Commission and the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.
The Government Programme also involves the reformation of agri-environmental subsidies, in order to better promote the protection of water resources and the biodiversity of water ecosystems. The government is also prepared to improve preparedness for oil and chemical spill responses, by investing in equipment, for example.
Eeva-Liisa Poutanen, Senior Environmental Adviser, tel. +358 50 571 9333, email@example.com