The Baltic Sea is a small sea on a global scale, but as one of the world's largest bodies of brackish water it is ecologically unique. Due to its special geographical, climatological, and oceanographic characteristics, the Baltic Sea is highly sensitive to the environmental impacts of human activities in its catchment area, which is home to some 85 million people.
The most serious threats today
· eutrophication, caused by the presence of excess nutrients in the sea water - particularly nitrogen and phosphorus.
· hazardous substances, including pesticides like DDT and HCB; heavy metals, including cadmium, mercury and lead; industrial substances like PCBs, short-chained chlorinated paraffins and nonylphenolethoxylates and unintended by-products like dioxins.
· Other significant threats include habitat destruction, the use of certain harmful fishing equipment, and the presence of alien species.