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Youth explore the Gulf of Finland and come up with solutions for nature conservation

11th Youth Environmental Conference "Environmental monitoring of small rivers and the Gulf of Finland took place on October 22 in the town of Lomonosov on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland. After the conference there was a round table about environmental situation in the Gulf of Finland and role of public environmental monitoring with participation of scientists, teachers and public representatives.
Observations of the young ecologists have shown that there are visible negative changes in natural ecosystems in the Gulf of Finland and on the coast, however, many rivers and lakes are still in good ecological condition. Decrease of anthropogenic pressure on the basin of the Gulf of Finland is required in order to improve the condition of the Gulf of Finland.

The conference brought together more than 60 pupils, teachers, representatives of NGOs from Saint-Petersburg and the Leningrad region. The pupils investigated biodiversity in rivers and lakes, examined the quality of natural waters, analyzed sources of pollution in the rivers and in the Gulf of Finland. The program of the conference can be found here
The pupils explored the river Neva, Oredezh, Karasta, Lebyazhya, Kamenka (in Yuntolovsky natural reserve), ponds of the Ohta river system in Vsevolozhsky district, coast of the Gulf of Finland in Monrepo park in Vyborg, river and lake Vuoksa and other water bodies of the Karelian Isthmus. The sources of anthropogenic pollution (gardening wastewater, household pollution, agricultural runoff), water quality and the condition of aquatic and coastal flora and fauna was analyzed. The pupils also investigated the effect of anti-icing chemicals’ on plants; these chemicals flow into the sea as a surface runoff and have negative effect on aquatic organisms.

Pupils came up with the solutions for decreasing the pollution of rivers and the Gulf of Finland and for improvement the condition of natural ecosystems: decreasing the amount of phosphates in detergents, wastewater treatment, energy saving in order to reduce greenhouse and other gases emissions into the atmosphere, reasonable and careful use of natural resources in the coastal recreation areas.
Young ecologists proposed projects on creation of the ecological trails in natural areas, so that people could learn more about the nature and how to save it.
A roundtable discussion with the participation of scientists, representatives of municipal authorities, public and teachers was held after the Youth Conference.
Associate professor of the Faculty of History of St. Petersburg State University A. Sukhorukova presented historical study on fishing in St. Petersburg region in the 18-19 centuries. The study showed a higher biodiversity of fish fauna of the Gulf of Finland 200 years ago. A lot of pike-perch, bream and salmon were caught here, together with whitefish and burbot in winter and even sturgeon and sterlet. Herring fishing was the main type of fishing in St. Petersburg district, until today it goes for spawning to the Luga Bay.
Construction of dams on rivers in the middle of the 19th century seriously damaged fishing industry and make life difficult for salmon that goes for spawning to the headwaters of Luga and Narva.
Today dams continue to be an obstacle to highly decreased, but not yet extincted fish community of the Gulf of Finland.

The participants of the roundtable discussed sources of industrial pollution of the Gulf of Finland, possibilities for changes and the role of public environmental monitoring not only for the environmental education, but also for drawing attention to the problems of the Gulf of Finland and to the need for finding solutions.
The conference and roundtable discussion was held with the support of the administration of the town of Lomonosov within the framework of municipal program "Meetings at the Palace" and the River monitoring program of the international Coalition Clean Baltic.

For more information please contact
Olga Senova, Council chairwoman of the Friend of the Baltic
olga.senova@gmail.com, cell. +7 9219117986

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