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Youth investigations and ideas for the green future addressed to the Gulf of Finland Year

14th annual youth conference “Eco-monitoring of the small rivers and Gulf of Finland” has gathered more than 70 participants from St.Petersburg, Leningrad oblast and Finland. They exchanged information and opinions on the ecological conditions of the nature water objects, and ways to make Gulf of Finland clean and comfortable environment for all live inhabitants. Youth proposals for improvement of the Gulf of Finland environment were a subject of Youth Declaration of the Gulf of Finland Year. Its presentation had opened the conference.

The Declaration was prepared by Russian. Estonian and Finnish teams within the summer youth camp and course of the seminars “Three countries-three island”, supported by Information Bureau of Nordic Council of Minister in St.Petersburg,and partners from Helsinki and Tallinn.

Lomonosov conference became some kind of evaluation of the results of various youth actions, devoted to the Gulf of Finland, Including long-term investigations of rivers and gulf within the River Watch program of Friends of the Baltic and international Coalition Clean Baltic. Lomonosov municipality also traditionally supported this conference.

The conference participants from Finland were Jukka Talvitie, the Chairman of the Finnish Association of geography and biology teachers, and Asta Ekman, representative of Helsinki Environmental Center and international program “Baltic Sea Challenge”. She invites all interested schools, youth groups, NGOs to join Baltic Sea Challenge. The simple condition for being a participant of this program – make any actions contributing to improving Baltic Sea environment: investigations, actions, education, etc.

At the conference school kids form Socnovy Bor town presented a video-film about nature and cultural/historical values of the South shore of the Gulf of Finland. This video also showed tendencies of coastal nature degradation, challenges to reduce impact to the Gulf from industrial, agricultural and household pollutions, so as form carbon and nuclear energy objects. This video expressed youth hopes for green way for development of this territory, renewable energy, clean technologies, nature friendly business and people lifestyle.

Young environmentalists during many years watch small rivers, which flow to the Guld and bring to the sea all pollutions which they get from their coasts.
In Smolenka river on the Vasiljevskij island of St.Petersburg they have measured high level of pH and found a pipe with alkaline effluents. School activists have prepared an Appeal to administration to stop this pollution and punish a guilty. Very intensive building constrictions on the Western part of Vasiljevskij island change a hydrological regime of the river – reducing the riverbed for establishing additional land areas provokes reducing a river stream velocity and creation of the dead zones in the upper part of the river. The river has a third level of pollutions - it is a not a highest level, but sufficiently hight.

Annual monitoring of Karasta river shows, that situation became neither better, nor worse. The river gets effluents from settlements, gardens, Ring road and shtormwaters, but last several years agriculture on its coats didn’t develop and didn’t add pollutions to the river. On the other hand nobody control way of nature use on the river coasts, including toilets with cesspits or filtration wells, open storage on manure and household waste, etc.

Schoolchildren group from the Martyskino settlement investigateВ nitrate content in the drinking wells. Two of them have twice more nitrates then normative. More probably this is because of toilets with cesspits. Young environmentalists to fing out what is the source of nitrates in the water, and together with Friends of the Baltic NGPO apply to local residents and authorities make an improvement to secure better water quality – for instance use biological methods for utilization of toilet waste.
Investigators of Ekaternmgofskij part water ponds also have found high level of nitrates in the water. More probably, it is cased with ducks, which live and rest in this ponds. Ducks delight park viositros, but to prevent nitrate pollution of the Neva River, some measures are needed, like buffer zones with water plants, absorbing nitrates.

Russian-Finnish Round table within the conference. Was devoted to discussion for cooperation. Among discussed ideas are:
- Integration and comparison of results of youth investigation of the Gulf
- Common art actions on water issues
- Summer camps in Finland and in Russian
- Tele-conference for students to change their impressions on the Gulf environment, and ideas for improvement “Two countries – common nature”

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