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Programme to promote the recycling of nutrients and to improve the status of the Archipelago Sea

The aim of the programme is to ensure that significantly lower amounts of nutrients leak into the Baltic Sea  in the future. This Ministry of the Environment programme is also seeking to promote the use, in production, of various by-products containing nutrients. At the same time, we must prepare for depletion of phosphorus resources and future rises in fertiliser prices.

Finland´s Programme to promote the recycling of nutrients and improve the ecological status of the Archipelago Sea 2012-2015. The Programme II (Raki2) 2016-2019

Finland´s one remaining Hot Spot concerns agricultural runoff into the Archipelago Sea. In 2010 the Government of Finland made a commitment to take intensive measures to ensure a good ecological status of the Archipelago Sea by 2020. Furthermore, Finland committed to become a model region in terms of the recycling of nutrients. The commitment contains eight different sets of measures.

In spring 2012 the Programme to promote the recycling of nutrients and improve the ecological status of the Archipelago Sea 2012–2015 was adopted. The programme is aimed at developing and supporting specific projects related to, for example, water protection and nutrient recycling in agriculture and water bodies, treatment of manure, sludge and biowaste, and wastewater treatment. In February 2012, a working group was established to follow up on the programme. At the beginning of 2016 the programme was renewed and is to be continued until 2019.

In 2012 the Government allocated 3 million euros for the implementation of the programme. By now 76 projects have been granted support to a total amount of approximately 14 million euros. The projects have been chosen by open calls, so far 9 calls have been launched. It is still too early to estimate the long-term outcomes of these projects, as they mainly represent the first steps, such as the planning of and guidance on new methods and technologies. The commercial and economic viability is still to be studied. However, results of the projects has been evaluated and most of the projects have very good potential to reduce nutrient loading and recycle more efficiently nutrients.

The implementation of the programme will require administrative and legislative measures, as well as specific projects aimed at promoting new technologies and methods. Other important factors are communication and advisory services.

The programme covers the following project themes:

  •  intensification of water protection with new methods in agriculture, especially on the field scale
  •  promotion of the use of manure and organic fertilisers
  •  intensification of waste water and sludge treatment
  •  intensification of the treatment of waste and waste water generated on boats
  •  removal of nutrients from water bodies and their reuse
  •  promotion of NGO activities related to water protection and nutrient recycling
  •  development of models for the planning, impact assessment and monitoring of water protection measures as tools for use in decision-making
  •  recovery of nutrients and development of fertilisers and products for soil improvement from waste water treatment sludge
  •  minimizing food losses and utilising nutrients in biowaste
  •  to develop legislative and administrative means and practises to promote nutrient recycling and remove possible hindrances in them  informing and communicating widely about nutrient recycling in all possible ways

The main focus of the programme is to reduce eutrophication of Baltic Sea. In the programme and new projects to be funded special attention is paid to communication and putting results into actions and practical solutions.

Funded projects

Many of the funded projects are directly or indirectly related to water protection and nutrient recycling in agriculture. An overall plan for cost-effective measures for nutrient recycling is being drafted for the use of authorities for the support and permitting of different measures and the application of these in hot spots. Cooperation between animal production and crop farms on manure recycling is being developed. Different technologies related to the use of crop residue are being developed. A few projects are developing methods and technologies for removal of nutrients from water bodies for reuse in areas under cultivation. Furthermore, wastewater treatment plant performances are being improved. A few projects related to the development of fertilisers from biowaste and/or sludge for example in connection with biogas plants activities are being developed. Local agro-ecological symbioses are developed as well as nutrien neutral communes.

Special attention has been paid to communicating information about the programme and the projects. Information about the programme has been given in the media, on websites and in seminars. Networking and coordination between different project developers is essential. Other target groups are authorities, organisations, agricultural businesses, farmers and the general public.

Co-financing is sought from project developers and other financiers. The full-scale implementation, extension and duplication of measures developed within the projects will need considerable additional funding, as well as studies to determine the commercial and financial viability of the measures.

Finland's Baltic Sea Commitment

The aim of the programme is to promote the Baltic Sea Commitment made by the Finnish government at the Baltic Sea Action Summit in 2010. At the Summit Finland committed itself to intensive measures, in order to achieve good water quality status in the Archipelago Sea by 2020. At present, the water quality of the Archipelago Sea is mainly poor. In addition, Finland undertook to become a model region in terms of the recycling of nutrients.

The Helsinki Commission included the Archipelago Sea in its hot spot list because of nutrient loads from agriculture. This list pinpoints the worst polluters of the Baltic Sea.

The programme to promote the recycling of nutrients promotes measures aimed at

  • economic and efficient use of nutrients,
  • minimising the amount of biowaste and the nutrients recycled with it,
  • efficient and safe recycling of nutrients and
  • collection of nutrients from water bodies, for nutrient recovery.
In addition, the programme provides funding for projects that seek to promote the recycling of nutrients, reduce the Baltic Sea nutrient load and enhance water protection in agriculture, within the catchments of the Archipelago Sea and the Bothnian Sea.

A monitoring group will promote and monitor the implementation of the measures.

Published 2019-06-05 at 15:54, updated 2020-06-25 at 12:47