Eutrophication caused by oversupply to the Baltic Sea of nutrients remains the major environmental pressure on the marine ecosystem. The major sources and pathways of nitrogen and phosphorus into the Baltic marine environment have been assessed in a HELCOM report released today.

The new assessment Sources and pathways of nutrients to the Baltic Sea (PDF) illustrates the contribution of various sources of nitrogen and phosphorus to total loads in 2014 (2012 for Germany and Poland). The assessment also illustrates changes in proportion of different pathways since 1995, including the three major pathways of nutrients – riverine, airborne and direct discharges. The detailed analysis of sources of riverine load includes an evaluation of the contribution of diffuse sources, with specific focus on agriculture, indirect point sources, and natural background.

The newly published report shows that a major reduction of both phosphorus and nitrogen inputs was achieved for direct point sources, while the share of the diffuse sources, in which agriculture plays dominating role, increased in the pattern of total input. Besides agriculture, indirect (upstream) point sources and transboundary loads also constitute a significant part of the total input.

The new assessment is a vital part of the HELCOM Pollution Load Compilation (PLC) and one of the main products of the HELCOM Sixth Pollution Load Compilation project (PLC-6). The previous (PLC-5) assessment, published in 2013, was based on the data on nutrient inputs in 2006.

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Note for editors

The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as HELCOM, is an intergovernmental organization of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union working to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region. Since 1974, HELCOM has been the governing body of the 'Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area', more commonly known as the Helsinki Convention. 

The Pressure Group focuses on nutrient and hazardous substance inputs from diffuse sources and point sources on land, including the follow-up of HELCOM nutrient reduction scheme implementation. The group ensures the necessary technical underpinning and develops solutions for policy-relevant questions and needs. Marine litter and underwater noise are also coordinated by this group. Its official name is the Working Group on Reduction of Pressures from the Baltic Sea Catchment Area.

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For more information, please contact:

Dmitry Frank-Kamenetsky
Professional Secretary
Tel: +358 40 630 9933
Skype: helcom68
E-mail: dmitry.frank-kamenetsky(at)