What is common between dry compost toilets and BSAP?

March 5 Friends of the Baltic NGO participated in the meeting in the premises of the HELCOM Secretariat in Helsinki, where environmental organizations discussed the implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP), which expires in 2020. The meeting was organized by the Coalition Clean Baltic (CCB) and the Baltic Environment Forum Group (BEF).

It was discussed how the BSAP is being implemented and what needs to be updated on current issues related to eutrophication, biodiversity and hazardous substances, and how to ensure the participation and consideration of public organizations in the BSAP audit process.

Not all positions of the Plan are fulfilled. In the working groups, the participants discussed the situation and "hot spots" in the countries. Friends of the Baltic presented information on the Russian part of the Baltic sea. For example, in more than 200 settlements, domestic wastewater is either not cleaned at all, or treatment facilities do not cope with the volume of wastewater. Animal waste (manure) is not effectively disposed of, pollution enters the watercourses. At the same time, public organizations are doing a lot to involve the population in reducing the negative impact on natural waters, reducing the nutrient load associated with individual farms. For example, for wastewater treatment on not canalized territories, and especially gardening communities, which are so many in Russia and in other post-Soviet countries, Friends of the Baltic introduced the experience of promoting dry compost toilets with the cycle of resources.  There installed 4 pilot toilets in the Leningrad region with the support of Ecocentrum within the project "Small-scale local solutions to reduce nutrient load into the Baltic Sea". Partners in the Kaliningrad region are also introducing dry toilets-mainly in protected natural areas.

In all Baltic countries, there are still unresolved problems in the field of eutrophication, hazardous substances, the environmental impact of navigation, the problem of marine litter is becoming more urgent – but exist solutions are not enough. There are unrealized items of the BSAP in all countries. Aactivists of public organizations of the Baltic region discussed how to participate in the audit of the BSAP for the period after 2020, what changes and additions are necessary. For example, measures to address microplastics in water bodies have not been included in the existing BSAP. The discussions also included proposals on the inclusion of this topic in the BSAP and on public participation in the promotion of measures to reduce microplastics pollution.

It is important to ensure that public participation and the views of non-governmental organizations are taken into account in both national and international discussions, evaluation and audit of the BSAP.

The results of the discussion of public organizations at the CCB/BEF meeting were presented at the annual meeting of the Helsinki Commission (6-7 March).


More information on the Coalition Clean Baltic website.