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New challenges for Baltic Sea protection


On 3 October, the Baltic Sea countries approved the declaration outlining major environmental problems in the Baltic Sea and laying down new objectives relating to the protection of the Baltic Sea in transport, agriculture, fishery, reduction of concentrations of dangerous materials, biological diversity, maritime safe and funding of transboundary pollution reduction.

“Countries within the Baltic Sea region have made an important step towards achieving the objectives of the Baltic Sea protection. Although all countries will make different progress on the established objectives, the common goal will remain the same – ensuring the good condition of the Baltic Sea environment. It is a relief that Lithuania will not have to tighten its environmental requirements in order to achieve pollution reduction targets“, said Vice-minister Almantas Petkus.

The meeting was attended by high representatives of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Russia and Denmark as well as the European Union representing the EU position. The meeting was also attended by numerous representatives of non-government organisations representing the protection of living nature, ocean protection, fish stocks protection, agricultural and Baltic Sea parliamentary positions.

One of the key accents in the discussion of ministers is the targets of reducing pollution in the Baltic Sea applicable to the parties to the Convention and based on calculations of Swedish scientists. The targets were calculated according to the levels of the Baltic Sea pollution by countries and pollution reduction achievements since 2007. According to these calculations, Lithuania will have to reduce its emissions of 8,970 tonnes of nitrogen and 1,470 tonnes of phosphorus pollution by 2010. Compared to previous targets, Lithuania’s nitrogen target has been reduced, while that of phosphorus pollution in the Baltic Sea has been increased.

In addition to other important factors, the declaration also emphasises the need for ratification of amendments to the Helsinki Convention relating to the prevention of agricultural pollution. These amendments lay down the density of animals raised, requirements for manure storage facilities, use of organic fertilisers, plant protection measures, environmental licences and environmental monitoring.

Lithuania and Poland are the only countries out of nine states which have ratified the Convention not to approve the said amendments. Our country has not ratified them yet because of concerns expressed over the issue of permits for farms raising 400 conventional animals (cattle) and more as well as the phosphorus threshold of 25 kg/ha applicable to the use of manure as a fertiliser.

Public Information Department


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