Information campaign for Gulf of Finland shore residents

A series of information campaigns for residents on solutions to reduce pollution of the Baltic aquatic ecosystems was carried out by the Friends of the Baltic NGO and Ecocentrum in St. Petersburg, Lomonosov and Kronstadt from April to June 2019.

The “Green Route” for residents of St. Petersburg was carried out 6 times in cooperation with the municipality of Sennoy okrug and gathered more than 110 people. Participants of the route learned from experts about what pollution gets into rivers and the sea from household wastewater and from agriculture, about the benefits of dry toilets in rural areas, about pollution of natural waters with microplastics, and how to avoid it.

In June, an information campaign took place in Lomonosov, on the forts of the Gulf of Finland and Kronstadt. The participants took a boat to the Gulf of Finland, saw overgrown shallow water on the coast and to the west and east of Lomonosov and near Kronstadt. Some of these zones have traditionally been floodplains (for example, the Kronstadt colony is part of the South Coast of the Neva Bay natural reserve). Such overgrown areas are attractive for resting and feeding birds on the path of annual migrations. But many kilometers of the coast, which used to be clean sandy beaches, turned into overgrown zones precisely in the last 3-4 decades due to eutrophication, as a result of the nutrient load from the untreated sewage of settlements and agriculture carried by rivers into the sea. Participants were told about the anthropogenic load on the coast of the bay, about the problems and solutions for wastewater treatment in coastal settlements. Only in 2018, the wastewater of the city of Lomonosov was connected to the wastewater treatment plant of Peterhof - before that, the effluents of the 40 thousandth city went directly to the bay. And many individual houses on the coast today do not have sewage treatment plants. And the experience of the project “Small-scale local solutions to reduce nutrient load into the Baltic Sea” illustrates well that for such houses, a dry toilet is the cheapest solution.

In Kronstadt, the participants of the event visited the ecological trail of the Western Kotlin Nature reserve, where coastal dune landscapes are preserved. Visitors oа the reserve use a mobile toilet installed at the entrance, the contents of which are taken to the central treatment facilities. A dry toilet could become an interesting ecotrail object, demonstrating the cyclic circulation of nutrients, but this requires complex maintenance and highly motivated personnel. This proposal was also put up for discussion at a joint meeting of the Environmental Council under the Government of St. Petersburg and  Public Environmental Council under the Governor of  Leningrad Region.

The 2019 information campaign showed the interest of coastal residents in the topic of coastal conservation, in opportunities to reduce their contribution to the pollution of the Baltic Sea, and in the experience of implementing dry toilets.