III Международный конкурс
научно-исследовательских и творческих работ учащихся
«СТАРТ В НАУКЕ»
БАЛТИЙСКИЙ РЕГИОН: НАСТОЯЩЕЕ И БУДУЩЕЕ
Долгушев Н.С., Шеньшин М.В., Кныш Е.О.
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We live in the Baltic region, on the shore of the Finnish Gulf, in one of the largest and the most attractive cities of our country, Russia's second-largest city after Moscow, with five million inhabitants and an important Russian port on the Baltic Sea.
St-Petersburg is one of the biggest ports of the Baltic Sea. That’s why we wanted to know more about the Baltic Sea, its environment and ecology. We wanted to find out, what our classmates and schoolmates knew about environmental problems of the Baltic region. We asked them some questions about the Baltic Sea and got their answers.
sunken ships and toxic waste. Our survey showed that half of the students knew three main ecological problems of our region: water pollution with industrial waste and garbage, radioactive and weapon on the bottom, sunken ships and toxic waste. Around the third of students thought that radioactive pollution and sunken ships is the main problem that must be solved immediately. More than 16% believed that industrial waste and garbage is the most harmful things for our region. Actually, we agree with them.
Nobody knew, that water in the Baltic Sea replaced once in 30- 50 years. It’s clear they didn’t study the history and geography of the Sea.
A lot of people around the world are interested in the Baltic Sea that is why there is the Day of the Baltic Sea in our calendar. Only 22, 2% of our classmates know about this day. Unfortunately, we have never celebrated this day at school.
The last question we asked our schoolmates was about the international organization that brought all the counties of the Baltic region together in order to improve the situation. They signed the Helsinki Convention. Almost 70% of our classmates named this organization as the main union of the Baltic States.
In other words, our classmates don’t have enough information about the Baltic Sea today. We cannot ignore this fact that why we began our research.
Our aim was to discover the ecological problems of the Baltic Sea and tell the teens and children of our school about the Sea to encourage them to research our region and think how to improve the dangerous situation.
We decided to bring to light which problems Baltic Sea had, causes of them and, therefore, what people had to do to save the environment of the sea.
We believe this project can be used by our school’s teachers during the Biology or English lessons or in after-school activities to explain the environmental problems of our sea to children and teens. We’d like to make lessons for the primary schoolchildren too. In our opinion, these problems must be discussed and solved.
Geography of the Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is the youngest sea on the Earth, about 10000 years old, positioned in Northern Europe. The Baltic Sea is about 1600 km long, average of 193 km wide, and an average of 55 m deep. The maximum depth is 459 m, on the Swedish side of the center. The surface area is about 377,000 km².
It’s not big as you see, however, the Baltic is the largest brackish water system in the world that has only connection to more open seas are the shallow sounds between Sweden and Denmark. In many respects the Baltic is similar to an inland lake or an estuary. It is unique in that there are areas where freshwater, brackish water and marine species are all present. Its salinity increases from east to west and from north to south. (приложение 1)
The Baltic Sea coast is quite various in its different parts. The northern Baltic coast is formed by rocks with stones and rocky outcrops. Alternatively, coast of the southern Baltic is sandy; due to wind and waves influence were formed sandy spits (e.g. Curonian Spit) and peninsulas. Ecological patterns of aquatic habitats and its biodiversity strongly depend on the structure and type of the Baltic coast.
In January and February, when there is the lowest temperature, the temperature of the central part of the sea is - 30C, and the north and east - 5 and - 80 ° C. At a result, the temperature is lowered to - 30 - 350C. But such cooling is rare. The climate of the Baltic Sea is not as severe, although the Baltic Sea is located in the north-western part of Russia. The Baltic Sea climate shows great variability in many parameters such as river runoff, salinity, sea level, and sea ice. The main reason for this is the location of the Baltic Sea between the North Atlantic and Eurasian weather systems, which leads to large seasonal and inter-annual variation in the low- and the high-pressure systems.
This sea is almost completely limited to land. The Baltic Sea drainage basin is roughly four times the surface area of the sea itself. About 48% of the region is forested, with Sweden and Finland containing the majority of the forest, especially around the Gulfs of Bothnia and Finland. About 20% of the land is used for agriculture and pasture, mainly in Poland and around the edge of the Baltic Proper, in Germany, Denmark and Sweden. About 17% of the basin is unused open land with another 8% of wetlands. Most of the latter are in the Gulfs of Bothnia and Finland.
Countries of the Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea Region is home to almost 100 million people. 38 million live in the Polish catchment, 9.2 million in the Russian catchment (St. Petersburg alone has a population of 5 million and is by far the largest city in the region) and 9.1 million in the Swedish catchment. Nearly 8 million people live in the catchments of the non-coastal countries. Eight EU Member States and the Russian Federation share its 8 000 km-long coastline. Sweden has the longest coast among other countries of the Baltic Sea region: about 3,2 thousand km of the total 8 thousand km of the Baltic coast length. Finland has the second place – its length of the Baltic coast is equal 1, 1 thousand km.
The countries of Baltic Sea region are Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Russia.
Land use is influenced by soil type and the presence of bedrock. In the southern parts of the catchment, agriculture is the dominant form of land use, whilst the northern parts are largely forested, although agriculture is practiced all around the coast of the Baltic Sea.
The part of Germany included in the Baltic Sea Region comprises the five Bundesländer of Schleswig Holstein, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Brandenburg and Berlin. The two EFTA countries, Norway and Iceland, are members of the Council of the Baltic Sea States and have traditionally been included in the region, although only small parts of eastern Norway are within the catchment area itself. The north-western part of the Russian Federation is also included in the Baltic Sea Region, although geographically the furthermost northern parts are outside the catchment area. Karelia and the Kola Peninsula are closely involved in Baltic Sea cooperation with their western neighbors through the Northern Dimension Policy and various partnerships under the Northern Dimension initiative.
The Baltic Sea Region is a little less than half of the area of the EU, the share of its population is 23 percent and the aggregated GDP*1 about 16 percent. Disparities between the countries in the BSR are large. Germany’s GDP alone is more than twice the size of the rest of the countries’ together (excluding Russia). The sea transport corridors connect to a number of important future gateways for trade between the Baltic Sea Region, the European continent and the rest of the world. These gateways lie both inside and outside the region, for example the deep sea continental ports, which lie close to their main market areas.
The biggest cities and ports are Oslo, Malmo, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Kiel, Gdansk, Tallinn, Riga, and Saint-Petersburg.
Population of the Baltic countries
In the 21st century, the EU and Russia has taken a more significant role in the protection of the Baltic Sea.
Bays. Gulfs. Rivers. Islands.
Baltic Sea is the unique sea basin, which we should protect because of destructive activity of the humans. There are a lot of bays, but the biggest of them are Gulf of Bothnia, The Gulf of Finland and Curonian Lagoon. (Приложение 2)
In the north, above the Aland Islands, the Baltic Sea is referred to as the Gulf of Bothnia. In the east, the Gulf of Finland connects the Baltic Sea to St. Petersburg, Russia. In the south and southeast it forms two small gulfs, including the Gulf of Gdansk and the Gulf of Riga.
The Kiel Canal in northern Germany is one of the world's busiest artificial waterways. International sea traffic uses it to connect between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, thus saving hundreds of miles of additional travel time around Denmark, and the related high costs of transportation.
The Baltic Sea is one of the largest brackish inland seas by area, and occupies a basin formed by glacial erosion during the last few ice ages.
Physical characteristics of the Baltic Sea, its main sub-regions, and the transition zone to the Skagerrak/North Sea area
Hundreds of rivers discharge their waters into the Baltic Sea; of these, six have catchments greater than 25,000 km². The Baltic sea basin includes about 250 rivers, the largest Visla, Oder, Neman, Daugava, Neva flow in the southern and eastern Europe. There are also a lot of small rivers flowing to the Baltic Sea from the northern and western coast of Sweden and Finland.
Baltic Sea can be divided into the following sub-regions: the Kattegat, the Danish Straits, the Arkona Basin, the Bornholm Basin, the Gotland Sea, the Gulf of Riga, the Gulf of Bothnia and the Gulf of Finland. The Gulf of Bothnia can be further divided into the Bothnian Sea and Bothnian Bay. The Archipelago Sea and the Åland Sea can also be distinguished as part of the Gulf of Bothnia.
The largest islands are: Gotland and Saaremaa.
Islands of the Baltic listed by Size
Listed by population
Ecology of the Baltic Sea
Human activities have resulted in the severe environmental degradation of the Baltic Sea. During the past two centuries, excessive nutrient loading has turned a clear-water sea into a eutrophicated marine environment. Industrial activities such as shipping, dredging, dumping, coastal development and fish farming are placing increasing pressures on vulnerable marine habitats and natural resources. The gradual pollution of the Baltic Sea by hazardous substances has caused severe physiological and reproductive problems in marine animals and also threatens human health. In addition, overfishing has resulted in the drastic decline of many Baltic Sea fish populations with significant impacts on the entire Baltic Sea ecosystem.
Ecology of Baltic Sea has influence of fresh water and waste water of factories discharged into the water. Exchange of water can take 50 years due to the lack of flow.
The main threats to biodiversity in the Baltic Sea are:
The Baltic Sea has always been of great importance for the people living along its shores. It is crisscrossed by vital shipping routes and its fisheries contribute significantly to the coastal economies. Pollution of the Baltic Sea is a result of activity of the people. The environmental problems of the Baltic Sea are associated with many reasons, such as the production and consumption of energy, industry, forestry, agriculture, fisheries, tourism, transport, waste water treatment.
Deterioration of an ecological situation bears a complex character and it is connected with manufacture and consumption of electroenergy by nuclear powerful engineering, production of artificial radionuclides, agriculture, processing of sewage waters and wastes containing heavy metals, transport of oil and oil-products.
First, the excess flow into the waters of nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from fertilized fields, with municipal sewage and urban waste some businesses. Since the water exchange of the Baltic is not very active, the concentration of nitrogen, phosphorus and other wastes in the water becomes very strong.
The important problem of the Baltic is water oil pollution. Every year fall thousands tons of oil are dumped in the water.
Also, the accumulation of heavy metals, for example lead, copper, zinc, cobalt, nickel fall in the Baltic Sea water with drain of domestic and industrial waste is very harmful. At the bottom of the Baltic Sea is many sunken ships, toxic waste.
At the end of the World War II, on the occupied territory of Germany there had been found 296 103 items of the chemical weapons. At the Potsdam War Conference of the Countries of the Antifascist Coalition in 1945, a decision was adopted on destruction these chemical weapons. As a result of this, in the Baltic Sea, its gulfs and straits, there have been dumped 267,5 thousand tons of bombs, shells, mines and receptacles containing 50 to 55 thousand tons of the army poisonous weapons of 14 types. Today, it is clearly doubtful that persons responsible for this action were not aware of the ecological danger posed by their decision. It is also doubtful that sinking was a result of sabotage, because the process of sinking of the chemical weapons had been going on during 10 years.
Eutrophication is currently considered to be one of most serious threats to the ecosystems in the Baltic Sea. Eutrophication is to be blamed for the cloudy
Waters and the rapidly increasing amounts of filamentous algae provide important spawning habitats for several fish species in the Baltic Sea.
With the increasing size of fishing vessels and fishing gear, as well as the development of technologies such as satellite information systems, geographic positioning systems (GPS), and fish finders, fish can now be found and caught more efficiently than ever before. Overfishing poses a serious threat to many fish stocks in the Baltic Sea and can be viewed as the most serious human impact on the world’s oceans at the present time. The commercially exploited species in the Baltic Sea fisheries are mainly marine fish: about 90% of the total fish catch consists of cod (Gadus morhua), herring (Clupea harengus) and sprat (Sprattus sprattus). Even though salmon (Salmo salar) only accounts for about 1% of the total catch by weight, it is still a commercially important species.
All of the environmental problems are very important for all of people in the Baltic region. Of course, countries and governments are worried about it. What are they doing? What each of us should do?
How to save the Baltic Sea
It is well known that countries, which are close to the Baltic Sea, decided to create the organization to keep it safety. The deteriorating state of the Baltic Sea reached wide public awareness in Finland and Sweden in the late 1960s and early 1970s. At the same time, the first environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were founded. WWF Finland has worked to protect the Baltic Sea since it was founded in 1972. Traditionally, these NGOs have concentrated on nature conservation by raising public awareness on pressing environmental problems and national and international decision-making. New independent foundations (e.g. the John Nurminen Foundation, the Baltic Sea Action Group and Baltic Sea 2020) are engaging private donors and actors in environmental protection work by suggesting new approaches, such as public-private-partnership.
These foundations can bypass the formal procedures of e.g. HELCOM and state diplomacy and instead build new forms of cooperation in the environmental governance of the Baltic Sea.
The history of HELCOM Ministerial Meetings, Diplomatic and High Level Conferences, goes back almost 40 years. These prestigious sessions have significantly contributed to regional actions for a healthier Baltic Sea.
There are two main documents of the HELCOM.
The Convention consists of 38 articles dealing with all types of joint activities of the Baltic Sea states on environmental safety of the sea.
Right now it includes such countries as:
1 Gross domestic product (GDP) is a monetary measure of the market value of all final goods and services produced in a period (quarterly or yearly).
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