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Young Environmentalists Propose Solutions for Protection of Small Rivers and the Gulf of Finland

October 17: Friends of the Baltic held The 9th Inter-regional Youth Conference “Environmental Monitoring of Small Rivers and the Gulf of Finland Coast” within the Priority Area of Coalition Clean Baltic “River Watch” which took place in the town of Lomonosov.

The conference organizers were Friends of the Baltic NGO and Lomonosov Center for Children’s Technical Creativity. Conference participants were members of North-West Russia River Network, Friends of the Baltic River Watch Network, environmental groups of schools, Stations of young naturalists, Houses of Children Creativity and other activists who conduct nature observations.

Conference participants presented results of their research on the following rivers on the Southern coast of the Gulf of Finland: Kikenka, Karasta, Bystritsa (Luga river basin), Chernaya (in Izhora village); river Svir and several rivers and lakes of Karelian peninsula.
Young researches noted that eutrophication at the Southern coast of the Gulf of Finland has aggravated a lot. Investigations show that in Lebyazhye the amount of blue-green algae in summer season has annually increased. Eutrophication has magnified sufficiently near the Lomonosov coast, in the Lahta bay of Svir river, in many other places, where untreated wastewaters flow into the rivers and the Gulf.

Conference participants spoke about their observations of nature in the nature reserve “Vodlozerskij” (Karelia), designed nature reserve “Orekhovyi” (Karuelian peninsula) and park-museum Oranienbaum on the Lomonosov coast. There are many rare species of birds (both nested and migrated) including Red Book species such as Osprey and White-tale Eagle.
Young activists expressed their concern about high anthropogenic load to Orekhovyi nature reserve (of people throwing garbage, burning fairs, trampling down grass), of extensive nature use. This territory has not received the status of nature protected area yet and no regulations and limitations on human activity exist, and neither does any territory cleaning service or penalty for nature destruction.

Young environmentalists expressed their concerns and proposed their solutions in the Conference Decisions, addressed to the Government of St.Petersburg and Leningrad oblast and to local authorities. They emphasized the necessity to built wastewater treatment facilities in the coastal settlements as soon as possible, introduce low-cost biological wastewater technologies for individual houses, approve designed nature protected areas, educate public on the importance of protection of valuable nature objects. Conference participants suggested the Governments to use St.Petersburg Ecocentrum as a tool for promotion of biological small-scale wastewater technologies and educating public on environmentally friendly lifestyle that may secure the protection of the Baltic Sea environment.

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