Living by the World’s Largest Deadzone

Recent news here in Finland have been about the rising amount of the poisonous blue algae in the Baltic Sea and the inland lakes. Our waters are so small around this area, even the sea, that they are easily affected by warm weather and pollution.

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Last year National Geographic wrote that Baltic Sea has one of the world’s largest dead zones, meaning that there are no living organism in the bottom of the Baltic Sea. I remember reading about that in our biggest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat already a decade ago. Now they have found another type of poisonous algae in the Baltic that is radioactive and glows in the dark. The Baltic is in fact the most radioactive sea in the world, despite what happened in Fukushima. That’s of course due to the Tshernobyl accident and the fact that Pacific has such a huge body of water in which it all dissolves in time, whereas the Baltic is a closed area with a relatively small amount of water. I’m not a biologist but I suspect eutrophication, oil leaks and factories on the shores of the Baltic are mostly to blame for all the pollution. On top of it all there was the Tshernobyl accident 25 years ago. It will take another 100 years to get rid of the radioactive pollution in the water, the bottom of the sea will be cleared of it in 300 years.

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credit: SMHI

Ten years ago when I read about the dead sea bottom in my beloved Baltic Sea I was heartbroken and frustrated. Now, I think there is even a tiny bit of hope. Some years ago John Nurminen foundation launched a wonderful ad campaign and have since made huge progress in the protection of the Baltic Sea. The chairman of the foundation Juha Nurminen is an underwater photographer and seems very devoted in saving the sea. The foundation has even been able to influence the wastewater treatment plants in St. Petersburg. “Enhanced phosphorus removal at the water utility’s three largest wastewater treatment plants reduces annual phosphorus load to the Baltic Sea by 1000 tonnes
- This is about 20% of the total phosphorus load discharged into the Gulf of Finland, and equals the total annual phosphorus load from Finland to the Gulf of Finland and the Archipelago Sea.” (read more)

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We had a chance to rent a cottage by the sea for a week, and we’re going there next Friday. I’m not expecting swimming in the sea, but I’m hoping the state of it won’t be too depressing. I will definitely post pictures in two weeks time for you to see. Meanwhile, take a look at this heartbreaking video, and to let you who live in far away countries know: the mermaid at the end of the video is a famous statue in Denmark, it’s the symbol for their capital city Copenhagen.

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