Culture, wastewater and new navigation policies

Erik-BaskJune 30, 2010

You are now reading the first entry of the Clean Baltic Sea blog. As the foundation’s Secretary General, I was given the honour of contributing the blog’s first post. In the future, members of the Foundation’s board will use the blog to share their thoughts and ideas about the protection of the Baltic Sea.

I joined the Foundation ten years ago, at a time when the its founder and Chairman of the Board, Juha Nurminen, was working to expand and internationalize the Foundation. At that time, the Foundation focused particularly on upholding seafaring traditions by means such as utilising its collections to produce sea-themed exhibitions and publications. The Foundation’s varied exhibitions over the years have been very popular with the public.

Today, our sea-themed books are read in dozens of countries in eight different languages. The History of Seafaring, for example, has been a best seller among maritime books. And we have more in the works. Maria Grönroos is in charge of the Foundation’s books and exhibitions.
In 2004, the Board of the John Nurminen Foundation decided to review whether there would be something significant the Foundation could do to help protect the Baltic Sea. It was at this time, that the criterion that guides the Foundation’s Clean Baltic Sea projects was defined: we will go where the greatest environmental impact can be achieved with one euro.

The following year, we followed this guideline to start a project at the three largest water treatment plants of Vodokanal, the waterworks of St. Petersburg. Our aim is to make their phosphorus removal more effective, thus annually reducing the phosphorus load usable for algae that would otherwise flow through the treatment plants to the Gulf of Finland by 27% (1,000 tons). At the turn of the year, we will achieve our objective in cooperation with the St. Petersburg waterworks!

In addition, the Foundation is involved in efforts to make phosphorus removal more effective in ten cities and five countries. Eutrophication will be discussed more here in the autumn, with Ambassador Veli Sundbäck, chairman of the support group for the eutrophication projects contributing to the blog. Eutrophication-related projects have been run by Marjukka Porvari from day one.

In autumn 2008 we received a magnificent donation when Pekka Laaksonen decided to take a sabbatical from his job and donate a year’s work to us. With Pekka’s help, we started the Tanker Safety project, which aims to significantly reduce the risk of an oil tanker disaster in the Gulf of Finland. This theme will also be discussed more by our contributor for August, Admiral Juhani Kaskeala, Chairman of the Tanker Safety project’s steering group. Pekka Laaksonen will continue to run the project at the Foundation.

All Clean Baltic Sea projects are funded through donations. We have received support from private individuals, companies and the public sector. In July, you will be able to read more about our campaign to collect funds in order to complete these significant projects on this site as well as through various media channels of the Sanoma Group. I want to extend my thanks to all our supporters!

Nothing is impossible – not even reviving the Baltic Sea.

Erik BåskSecretary General, John Nurminen Foundation