Another Lithuanian facility crossed out from the Baltic Sea’s major polluters list2013-06-18
Convened today in Helsinki, heads of delegations from the member states of the Helsinki Commission excluded another Lithuanian company, UAB Lifosa, from the list of major polluters of the Baltic Sea, or the so-called hot spots.
“I am glad that Lithuanian industries have been gaining more and more environmental awareness and have taken major action to protect the only sea we have. Our goal is to entirely clear out the Baltic Sea’s major polluters list of Lithuanian sites,” said Vice-minister of Environment, Almantas Petkus.
When the list was drawn up in 1992, 16 of its 162 hot spots were sited in Lithuania and included industrial enterprises, wastewater treatment plants, the agricultural sector and the Curonian Lagoon. Now only two, the agricultural sector and the Curonian Lagoon, remain. Others were deleted from the list because they solved the environmental issues and met the requirements of the Helsinki Commission. Wastewater treatment plants in Vilnius (Grigiškės), Alytus and Marijampolė were crossed out in 2005, the ones in Šiauliai and Klaipėda along with Achema, Klaipėdos kartonas and Sema public limited-liability companies in 2006, wastewater treatment facilities in Panevėžys in 2009 and the ones in Kaunas, Kėdainiai and Palanga as well as the Orlen Lietuva public private-liability company in 2011.
One of the former pollutants, Lifosa, invested more than LTL 90 million in modernisation of the plant between 2007 and 2010 with close to one third of funding allocated to environmental protection. The introduced environmental measures fully paid for themselves. For instance, after superficial condensers in the phosphoric acid shop were replaced with barometric ones in 2008, the water circulation cycle shrank, which means less water needs to be pumped from the river. Between 2007 and 2008, the domestic wastewater treatment facilities were expanded and a third filter for sand and cane was installed, which has resulted in decreased levels of pollutants – phosphates and common nitrogen – in the wastewater released to the environment. Positive outcomes were also achieved after launching a project to use technological heat generated from the production of sulphuric acid. The company produces more than 200 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and supplies close to 100,000 megawatt-hours of heat to Kėdainiai. It is used to heat 80 per cent of the city’s flats and to produce hot water. Therefore Kėdaniai town consumes a lot less fossil fuel or natural gas to produce heat and hot water and less carbon dioxide, i.e. greenhouse gas, is released to the environment.
It is hoped that pollution of the Baltic will also be significantly reduced on the part of the agricultural sector and the Curonian Lagoon. As regards the agricultural sector, new manure management requirements took effect in 2011 and a high focus is placed on the distribution of EU support to comply with environmental standards. The Neman river basin management plan approved in 2010 envisages measures to improve the state of the Curonian Lagoon. Implementation of these measures combined with reinforced cooperation with the neighbouring states, Russia and Belarus, should reduce levels of pollutants that enter the Curonian Lagoon.
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