"The situation is generally worse in the eastern parts of the Gulf of Finland," according to the Finnish Environment Institute's research director Juha Kämäri, who complained that the project was still awaiting clearance from the Russian authorities to continue research eastwards into Russian waters.
"It is clear that [the Russian city of] Saint Petersburg is the major single source of the excess nutrient emissions," added Mr Kämäri, "and the most cost-efficient way to improve the situation would be to improve the treatment of wastewater in the city, where 30% of sewage is untreated, and the rest is poorly treated." Plans already exist for a significant new sewage treatment plant for St Petersburg, but funding has been problematic.
Finland has greatly stepped up sea water and sediment monitoring since the warm summer of 1997, when alarming quantities of toxic strains of blue-green algae contaminated many beaches, and thick rafts of algae made wide areas of the sea resemble the local pea-soup (ENDS Daily 4 September 1997).
Toxic blue-green algae has also been a problem in many Finnish lakes again this summer. Regular algae bulletins are published in the Finnish media, and there is widespread frustration that bathing is no longer possible in many lakes during the brief summer, and that lake water is no longer suitable for washing or drinking.
Finnish Environment Institute: +358 9 40 30 07 03. See also July algal monitoring report.
Please enter your details
Not a subscriber?
Take a free trial now to discover the critical insights and updates our coverage offers subscribers.