HELCOM unveils coastal countries’ programmes to reduce pollution to the Baltic
Helsinki, 18 June (HELCOM Information Service) – The Helsinki Commission today unveiled the National Implementation Programmes (NIPs) of its Member States to achieve the objectives of the strategic HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan to radically reduce pollution to the marine environment and restore its good ecological status by 2021. These programmes were presented by the Baltic Sea countries at the HELCOM Moscow Ministerial Meeting on 20 May.
“NIPs include concrete measures to reach the provisional country-wise pollution reduction targets set in the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan,” says Anne Christine Brusendorff, HELCOM’s Executive Secretary. “They describe how the countries will implement actions to decrease excessive loads of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) which originate in runoff from farmland and inadequately treated municipal sewage causing eutrophication of the sea, and halt inputs of hazardous substances. With the National Implementation Programmes in place, the work to further reduce pollution loads entering the sea will pick up pace considerably.”
NIPs of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Poland and Sweden are available online at the HELCOM website: http://www.helcom.fi/BSAP/Implementation/en_GB/Implementation/. The final updated versions of NIPs of Latvia, Lithuania and the Russian Federation are being discussed by their Governments and are expected to be delivered to HELCOM shortly. The German NIP is based on the National Strategy for the Sustainable Use and Protection of the Seas and other relevant national sector-wise strategies.
In March 2011, HELCOM will hold a high-level meeting of representatives of the Member States which will assess all national programmes against the objectives and targets of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan.
The HELCOM Member States have also agreed to elaborate by 2011 NIPs to halt the decline of biodiversity, ensure environmentally safe maritime activities and response capacity, and increase awareness raising according to the objectives of the Baltic Sea Action Plan.
The overarching Baltic Sea Action Plan which was adopted by HELCOM in 2007 provides a framework for managing the Baltic marine environment using an integrated and holistic approach to address all major environmental problems affecting the sea. The most serious is eutrophication which leads to problems like increased algal blooms, murky waters, oxygen depletion and lifeless sea bottoms. The plan includes concrete and meaningful actions to curb eutrophication, prevent pollution involving hazardous substances, improve maritime safety and accident response capacity, and halt habitat destruction and the decline in biodiversity. The plan also contains provisional country-wise annual input reduction targets for both nitrogen and phosphorus.
Note to Editors:
The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as the Helsinki Commission, or HELCOM, is an intergovernmental organisation of all the nine Baltic Sea countries and the EU which works to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution.
HELCOM is the governing body of the "Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area," known as the Helsinki Convention.
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Nikolay Vlasov
Tel: +358 (0)46 850 9196
Fax: +358 (0)207 412 645