Baltic Residents fear pollution

Many residents of the nine countries surrounding the Baltic Sea have concerns about its environment and pollution levels, but deny responsibility, a survey published Thursday showed.

The BalticSurvey, for which 9,000 residents of Poland, Germany, Lithuania, Denmark, Latvia, Sweden, Estonia, Russia and Finland were interviewed, showed that up to 50 percent of Finns and more than a quarter of Swedes, Latvians and Estonians thought the environment of the Baltic Sea “very bad” or “rather bad.”

Those polled expressed concern “about issues such as litter, heavy metals and hazardous substances, everyday oil leakages and risk for major oil spill, damage to flora and fauna and algal blooms,” researcher Heini Ahtiainen said.

However, a majority of residents in all countries except Poland and Sweden tended to disagree that they personally affected the condition of the sea.

The report also showed residents of countries around the Baltic — 80 percent of whom spend leisure time at its shores — believed that increasing charges on emissions was the best way to fund actions to improve the environment.

Increasing pollution fees received more than 50 percent of support in all nine countries.

Over-fished, polluted by agricultural nutrient discharge and uncared for, the Baltic is so toxic Greenpeace says pregnant women should not eat its fish.

Leaders from countries in its vicinity pledged urgent action to generate the “miracle” needed to save the almost landlocked and brackish sea at a summit held in Helsinki earlier this year.

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