SYKE Press Release
Finnish Environment Institute hopes to see further research cooperation on the River Luga
One of the aims of the extensive BALTHAZAR project of the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) is to develop monitoring methods. These will help protect the Baltic Sea, by generating more-accurate data on pollution in Russia. The Finnish Environment Institute SYKE is acting as a consultant, bearing the main responsibility for the research element of this Finnish-Russian project. Last week, a Finnish senior researcher was arrested while collecting samples. “The Finnish Environment Institute has a long history of engaging in a range of environmental cooperation with Russia. This is the first incident of this kind. It is our wish that any unclear issues will be resolved, so that more samples can be collected and the research along the River Luga can be completed,” affirms Lea Kauppi, Director General of the Finnish Environment Institute.
This spring's research conducted along the River Luga is related to the exceptionally high concentrations of phosphorus detected in the late autumn. Sample collection began on 20 March, with two collection rounds already having been completed on the River Luga.
“In cooperation with Russian research institutes, the River Luga was selected as one of the targets of an EU-funded project, because exceptionally high concentrations of phosphorus have been detected there in a number of different years. As soon as the source of pollution is located, measures to reduce loads can be effectively implemented in the right places,” says Seppo Knuuttila, Senior Research Scientist at the Finnish Environment Institute, explaining the purpose of the research.
Last week, sample collection was underway in the area around the Phosphorit factory, when Knuuttila was arrested.
The Finnish Environment Institute has performed internal investigations concerning last week's sample collection activities. These investigations have shown that the samples were collected in accordance with what had been agreed with the Russian research party. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland bears overall responsibility for the investigation.
Despite last week's events, the Finnish Environment Institute hopes to see positive collaboration on the project continue.
“We are now defining our collaborative research practices in more detail. This will prepare the ground for closer collaboration and make project cooperation between other countries easier. I believe that we will soon be able to specify shared practices and complete our ongoing research quickly and safely,” emphasises Kauppi.
More information regarding research on the River Luga:
- Phosphorus finding in Kingisepp (HELCOM)
Lea Kauppi, Director General, Finnish Environment Institute,
tel. +358 40 740 1668, email@example.com
Kirsi Norros, Communications Director, Finnish Environment Institute, tel. +358 40 740 1693, firstname.lastname@example.org