Updated Baltic Sea Action Plan

21 October, 2021

On Wednesday, the environment ministers of the Baltic Sea countries signed a new version of the Baltic Sea Action Plan. Researchers from Stockholm University have been involved in producing data on, among other things, eutrophication.

The Baltic Sea Action Plan is an action plan for the Baltic Sea that was created in 2007 by the cooperation organization HELCOM. On Wednesday 2 October 2021, the environment ministers of the countries around the Baltic Sea signed an updated plan with four overarching focus points; biodiversity, eutrophication, harmful substances and littering, and offshore activities.

“Work on the update has been ongoing since 2018 and involved a large number of researchers, experts and observers around the entire Baltic Sea. The update includes new objectives and actions in both existing and new thematic areas. New themes include marine litter, climate impact, hazardous substances such as pharmaceuticals, and underwater noise, Linda Rydell, an investigator at the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, told havet.nu.

Swedish research contributes

Emma Undeman, environmental chemist at Stockholm University, has been involved in developing the basis for the new plan regarding hazardous substances.

“There are very many types of hazardous substances. Therefore, it is important that you work systematically with different subject groups and have a clear plan for what to do with the results. In the past, much focus has been on “old” environmental toxins such as PCBs and dioxins. There we see great improvements, but now it is important to build up a process to identify such substances that may prove harmful in the future, she says according to a text on Stockholm University’s website.

Previous goals were not reached

Bo Gustafsson at Stockholm University has been involved in the work on the new action plan on the subject of eutrophication, and more researchers from SU have participated by developing HELCOM’s new scientific agenda.

HELCOM’s previous Baltic Sea Action Plan extended to 2021. Then the sea would have achieved good ecological status, but the goals are not considered to have been achieved. Therefore, the new plan has now been drawn up, and it does not have an end date.

Text: Daniel Hedström
Photo: TT/Bengt Olle Nilsson/Sydsvenskan/IBL Bildbyrå

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