One of the single most serious sources of pollution in the Baltic Sea was ended today, with the launch and start-up of a new waste water treatment plant for Klaipeda, the third largest town in Lithuania. Built with financial support from the governments of Finland and Sweden as well as the World Bank and the EU, the new plant is designed to cut pollution entering the Baltic from the city by well over half. In particular, biological oxygen demand and solids will both be cut by 90%, while the phosphorus load will drop by 60% and the nitrogen load by 40%. Klaipeda has been identified as one of the worst pollution hot spots in the region by the Helsinki Commission on Baltic environmental protection, which called for urgent action to redress the situation. The project's importance was underlined by the presence of the Swedish and Finnish environment ministers at the opening ceremony, as well as their Lithuanian counterpart.
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