Baltic clean-up programme at half-way point

Task force prepares for new political framework in light of swelling EU membership

A 20-year programme aimed at curbing pollution around the Baltic Sea is making good progress as it celebrates its first decade in operation, according to Helcom, the Baltic environment protection commission. A key challenge now, it says, is to adjust to forthcoming EU membership of almost all participating states.

Helcom's action programme was launched in 1992 with identification of 132 regional pollution hot spots and creation of an €18bn investment programme to tackle them. This week the programme's implementation task force approved deletion of a further 17 hot spots, bringing the total number dealt with since the programme's launch to 51.

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