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BALTICS – SENSITIVE WATERS
WATER WORTH TO CARE FOR – SLIGHTLY ISOLATED, BUT STILL CONNECTED TO ALL OCEANS. PHOTO: A SELLIN
The Baltic Sea is an inland sea in which salt water from the North Sea is blended with fresh water from various rivers and streams. The brackish water has a lower salt content, which means fewer species can survive herec. Water turnover is low and it takes a full 40 years before fresh water is circulated. Therefore, the Baltic seas ecosystem is extra sensitive.
MAN IS THE BIGGEST THREAT
Nine countries and 15 major cities are surrounding the Baltic Sea on an 8 000 km long coastline. The marine environment is affected by almost 85 million people. Together, we release daily large amounts of waste and pollution in the form of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), plastics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, heavy metals and other substances that affect the environment.
A large proportion ends up in the Baltic Sea, and due to the low water exchange, toxins remain here for a long time.
CRITICAL SITUATION – BUT THE ECO SYSTEM CAN STILL RECOVER
While the human impact on the environment increases, there are major changes in the ecosystem. Fish stocks have been affected, several animal species are declining significantly in numbers, algal blooms occur and the seabed suffers from lack of oxygen.
Fortunately, most ecosystems have the ability to recover – but for that to happen we have to halt the environmental degradation. Many different measures need to be implemented and the efforts have to start now. We – society and individuals – also need to combine our forces and work together. According to scientists there is still time to save the Baltic Sea.
PHOTO: BRIGGEN TRE KRONOR
SAILING FOR THE BALTIC SEA
In 2005 the vessel Tre Kronor Af Stockholm was ready and launched into the waters of Stockholm. A beautiful ship expected to do at least 100 years in service for the sake of education and creating awareness about the sensitive Baltic Sea. Her nickname is "Briggen Tre Kronor" and she is for sure a magnificant big sister sharing the same sustainability mission with us. In our dreams we hope to meet her on the waters this summer. Check out more about Briggen Tre Kronor and their important work "The Sustainable Seas Initiative":
COPYRIGHT HOLDER: GLOBAL INTERNATIONAL WATERS ASSESSMENT (GIWA), PUBLISHED BY HELCOM.