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More Baltic, Less Plastic project was presented at the educational regional round table in St.Petersburg

The round-table "Planning and implementation of measures for environmental education of the population of St. Petersburg" was organized by the Committee for nature use, environmental conservation and ecological safety of St. Petersburg City Government in the center of import substitution and localization of St. Petersburg. The round-table was attended by representatives of public environmental organizations and projects: Friends of the Baltic, ECA, Clean games, Environmental Union and public organizations, which promote separate collection and ecofriendly lifestyle etc., as well as representatives of the business community.

Elizaveta Merinova, Friends of the Baltic exert, presented the project "More Baltic, less plastic" and spoke about the problem of marine litter and microplastics. The main idea of the project is to draw attention to the problems of plastic and microplastic pollution by involving the population in the research of these issues, and find a solutions for pollutions reduction.

Every year the problem becomes more acute, the scale of production and use of plastic continue to grow along with the scale of plastic pollution. According to the latest estimates, the area of the Pacific Trash Vortex has reached 1.6 million square kilometers. Most marine debris is from land. The methodology, elaborated in 2017 by Friends of the Baltic and Ecocentrum experts under the Coalition Clean Baltic program for monitoring marine litter on the beaches (http://baltfriends.ru/rw_manual - Appendix 8.), was based on the Methodology for Monitoring Marine Litter on Beaches document developed by the DeFishGear project team. This methodology allows to get closer to the identification of pollution sources, and apply specific actions to eliminate them because of detailed classification of objects. For example, if you find a large number of wet wipes, cotton swabs – something that often washed into the toilet, it can be assumed that there is a release of untreated sewage nearby. If you find a large number of " tourists " garbage – packaging of sweets, chips, bottles, etc. - then you need to place on the beach closed garbage containers and, for example, to place on the beach signs for visitors indicating that the garbage must be carried away and not left on the shore.

Another very relevant environmental problem – microplastics pollution. Microplastics are particles of synthetic polymers less than 5 mm in size, quietly passing through wastewater treatment systems and entering the Baltic sea in tons. Scientists do not yet have answers to the question how to eliminate this type of pollution, but there is information that microplastics behaves in water as a magnet and adsorbs persistent organic pollutants – very toxic substances. Ecocentrum and Friends of the Baltic together with the center for Environmental Solutions and research Institute of Lake Sciences developed a methodology for monitoring water on microplastics pollution (http://baltfriends.ru/rw_manual -Annex 9.), allowing to estimate the concentration of microplastic particles in water. At the moment, the most important task is to attract public attention to the problem and involve public in the research of this issue. The developed method is simple and easy to use, so Friends of the Baltic invites all interested parties to join the monitoring, and work together to solve this small-size but large-scale problem!

photos provided by the Center of import substitution and localization of St. Petersburg, www.importnet.ru

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