Clean sea, rivers and springs - what the Friends of the Baltic told on the Baltic Sea Day and the "Ecology of the Big City" forum


On March 23-25, Friends of the Baltic traditionally took part in the XXI International Forum Baltic Sea Day and the XX International Forum Ecology of the Big City. They spoke at an expanded meeting of the Permanent Commission on Ecology and Nature Management of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg, made proposals to the resolution of the round table on river basin management, spoke about the monitoring of rivers and springs at a seminar on water protection problems, presented the public's view on initiatives to reduce plastic pollution at the Russian-Japanese conference “Clean Sea " and communicated with visitors to the exhibition within the framework of the Big City Ecology forum, where they presented their programs and stands.

The experience and results of public research of rivers and springs and the identified problems were described in the speech of O. N. Senova at the expanded meeting of the Permanent Commission on Ecology and Nature Management of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg with the participation of members of the Environmental Council under the Governor of St. Petersburg "On pollution of surface water bodies of St. Petersburg". Senova proposed to include in the draft decision proposals on the inclusion of springs in the water register, strengthening the state monitoring of small rivers and springs, supporting measures to protect springs as water bodies, and supporting the introduction of eco-friendly solutions in river basins.

At the roundtable "River basin management plans and compliance with the objectives of the BSAP. Assessment of the effectiveness and sufficiency of measures to reduce the intake of nutrients” within the framework of the Baltic Sea Day, the Friends of the Baltic proposed to include in the resolution the wishes addressed to HELCOM to establish, in addition to country goals, basin goals for reducing biogenic pollutants, with the prospect of setting voluntary goals for municipalities and companies.

At the seminar "Actual problems of water bodies protection and water management in cities and settlements” Elena Gretchina and Alexander Esipenok spoke about the biogenic pollution of springs and rivers in the Gulf of Finland basin - about the causes and ways to solve the problem and about the role of public organizations in this issue. Biogenic pollution as a result of nitrogen and phosphorus entering water bodies is relevant for the entire Baltic Sea basin. According to HELCOM, 50% of the total nitrogen-phosphorus load in the Baltic Sea is brought by agricultural effluents and up to 25% - by untreated domestic effluents. In our activities, we regularly observe the facts of biogenic pollution, cooperate with local residents and regulatory authorities to solve problems. So, together with active residents, appeals were drawn up on faulty sewage treatment plants in the Luzhayka town in the Vyborg district and about contamination of the surface water body from manure runoff in the village of Chudinovo in the Luzhsky district of the Leningrad region and received answers about the measures taken.

In the Russian-Finnish project "Water meets people: learn, act and influence" (SEVIRA), we study the water quality in small rivers that feed the Gulf of Finland, so that later, together with all interested parties (local authorities, water users, local residents, businesses on the banks of rivers), we can draw up a roadmap to improve the condition of these water bodies. In addition, we develop a River Watch network - volunteers and their teams, who are also included in the civil research of rivers, lakes and other bodies of water, the data of which is entered on our map of public monitoring of natural water bodies.

Elizaveta Merinova presented the public's view on existing initiatives and the solutions needed to reduce plastic pollution at the Clean Sea conference. Despite the fact that in St. Petersburg there are more and more containers for recycling, more and more Zero Waste stores, systematic measures are needed to really reduce pollution. It is necessary to establish a waste management system in accordance with the hierarchy of waste management: state regulation of the turnover of single-use plastic, effective mechanisms of EPR (extended producer responsibility) and subsidizing recycling. At least 100 thousand Russians who voted for the petition to reduce waste generation agree with this.

At the exhibition within the framework of the forum “Ecology of the Big City”, Friends of the Baltic presented their programs, information stands about the problem of microplastics, plastic pollution and waste, an exhibition on energy efficiency and materials of the SPARE project, publications on water, climate, energy topics and environmentally friendly solutions in different areas of life.

Experts of Friends of the Baltic answered visitors' questions about ways to study water bodies, the causes of pollution and solutions to these problems, measures to protect the environment from plastic pollution, climate change and how to reduce the human impact on the climate.

The list of supporters and volunteers of the Friends of the Baltic has been expanded.