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Managing the protection of the Baltic Sea environment will be reinforced

2012-02-15

The Ministry of Environment started drafting documentation to reinforce management of protection of the marine environment. This is another measure to implement the National Baltic Sea Environment Protection Strategy approved by the Government in 2010. Dalius Krinickas, Director of the ministry’s Water Department, says it will enable improving the integrated management of water bodies, applying the principles of sustainable development and introducing ecosystem-based operation management methods. This documentation will serve to update the National Baltic Sea Environment Protection Strategy.

 

In addressing the health of the Baltic Sea, eutrophication has probably been the greatest concern. This is an extremely sensitive aspect for the Baltic due to its rather limited water turnover. The biological diversity of the sea suffers from contamination with hazardous substances caused by industrial development. The Baltic is rich in rare species and habitats of global importance. However, from the mid-twentieth century the ecosystem of the Baltic Sea has been changing dramatically. This has been conditioned by climate change, eutrophication and the spreading new foreign species that overshadow the local ones. Another cause of the extinction of specific species of flora and fauna is the formation of oxygen shortage zones in the lower strata of water. Continuous wasting of biological resources and environmental pollution definitely affect biological diversity. This decreases the stability and resistance levels of the whole ecosystem.

 

A plan of measures for 2010-2015 was developed to implement the National Baltic Sea Environment Protection Strategy. It envisages greater focus on ensuring safe shipping. Shipping in the Baltic totals around 15 per cent of global marine traffic and gains momentum year after year. This, in turn, increases the risk of pollution it causes. Marine transport (vessels and ports) affects all the components of marine environment: water, seabed, coast, atmosphere and living nature. Petroleum and other harmful substances are released to the Baltic both on purpose and as the result of accidents. Harmful and disease-causing water organisms reach the sea together with ballast waters. Other negative impact on the condition of the sea comes from sunken fishing nets and litter.

 

In 2011, all measures foreseen in the said plan were implemented: a list of undertakings and authorities required to possess contamination incident liquidation plans was approved as was the procedure for using petroleum contamination liquidating substances in the event of petroleum contamination incidents along with actions recommended for officials involved in state environmental control in the event of petroleum contamination incidents, measures were planned to restore the biological diversity affected by petroleum, etc.

 

The states of the Baltic region are joining forces to address marine environmental challenges. Lithuania identified the specific measures in the plan of implementation measures 2010-2015 of the National Baltic Sea Environment Protection Strategy after aligning them with the other Baltic countries.

 

Information of the Ministry of Environment, Tel. 266 3660
15 February 2012

 


Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas