HelCom discussed clean-up of toxic waste site Krasnyi Bor and reducing marine litter

Krasnyi Bor waste landfill area (Photo from HelCom Base Project report)

Helsinki, Finland — A joint cooperation for cleaning up the toxic waste site Krasnyi Bor near St. Petersburg, Russia, was discussed by an international community this week at the HelCom Pressure group meeting in Warsaw, Poland. Upon the initiative of Finland, Estonia and Sweden, HelCom countries called for the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO) to coordinate the international involvement to the Krasnyi Bor waste site.

A road map to remediate the site by 2025 was presented at the meeting by a representative of the St. Petersburg administration. The Russian representative also introduced a more open information policy regarding the progress in ongoing activities in the Krasnyi Bor clean-up and environmental monitoring data, both soon available online. Presentations by TechnoTerra and State Unitary Environmental Enterprise “Krasny Bor Landfill” provide more details about the issue.

Krasnyi Bor, last visited by HelCom experts in June 2016, is a hazardous waste dump site sorting some 2 million tons of hazardous waste and long known as a significant pollution hot spot in the region. The area has been built for the reception, disposal and burial of toxic industrial wastes from St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region. The site was listed as a HelCom Hot Spot in the early 1990s. Last winter, the weather conditions raised concerns about imminent flooding and leaking of harmful substances from the site to the environment.

Marine litter in the Baltic Sea

Evaluating for the first time the progress made in significantly reducing marine litter in the Baltic was another topic of the HelCom pressure group meeting and the preceding workshop. The implementation of HelCom Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter, adopted in 2015, is followed up regularly and the suggested future actions include updating of HelCom Recommendations on waste water treatment and storm water management, in order to prevent releasing of litter, particularly micro plastics, into the marine environment. The meeting has also had a high focus on hazardous substances in the Baltic Sea and other meeting topics include underwater noise, dredging, sewage sludge, and internal loading of phosphorus.

Fifth Meeting of the HelCom Working Group on Reduction of Pressures from the Baltic Sea Catchment Area (Pressure 5-2016) is held on 25–27 October 2016 in Warsaw, Poland. The meeting is hosted by the National Water Management Authority of Poland and chaired by Lars Sonesten, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

HelCom (Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission – Helsinki Commission) is the governing body of the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area, known as the Helsinki Convention.

Source: Helsinki Commission