What are the challenges for the Baltic Sea?
The Baltic Sea is unique in many aspects, as well as precious and important for many of us. It is a brackish sea with both salt and freshwater and only a few species thrive under these special ecological conditions.
Impact from human activities have resulted in severe negative effects on the marine and coastal environments. One of the main problems is eutrophication, leading to many coastal areas being affected by widespread algae blooms and extensive areas of dead zones where no life can thrive. In addition populations of predatory fish have drastically declined and research show worrying trends with regards to the amount and spread of hazardous substances and micro plastics.
The Baltic Sea provides a large range of so-called ecosystem services - goods and services which contribute to human well-being. These including nutrient cycling, climate regulation, fish stocks, water quality, biodiversity and raw materials, which in turn create human welfare in terms of for example food, inspiration and opportunities for recreation.
There are thus strong and clear interlinkages between the state and health of the Baltic Sea and the socio-economy and well-being of the municipalities in nine countries and thus some 85 million people.
We all have a role to play in reversing these negative trends and thus improve the state for current and future generations. A failure could lead to large negative impacts for the municipalities around the Baltic Sea, with negative consequences for the property market, tax revenues and tourism, as well as a loss of many other ecosystem services we are dependent upon.
More information about some of the challenges for the Baltic Sea:
The quality of marine protected areas »
The internal flow of nutrients in the sediments »
Nutrient recycling in agriculture »
Micro plastics accumulating in the Baltic Sea »