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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Introduction

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.

Cliffs - Vertical and near vertical, rock exposure, formed as erosion landforms due to effect of wind and watering.

Sand soft coast - Soft sediments (sand, pebble, shell rocks). The lengthy sand coast occurs along the southern and eastern parts of the Baltic Sea

Fjords - Narrow, sinuous and cut deeply into the land bays with rocky shores. Have tectonic and glacial origin.

Archipelago - Hard rocky shores, islands poorly vegetated. The largest archipelago is Åland Islands

Lagoons and estuaries - Connected with the Baltic Sea by channels and straits. Usually separated by sand spits. Shallow water. Shores are covered by the reed bed.

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

Country

Capital

Population

Denmark

Copenhagen

5 681 810

Poland

Warsaw

38,530000

Sweden

Stockholm

9,590000

Russia

Moscow

143,00000

Germany

Berlin

80,620000

Estonia

Tallinn

1,325000

Finland

Helsinki

5,439000

Latvia

Riga

1 959 900

Lathuania

Vilnius

3 053 800

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

Sub-area

Area

Volume

Maximum depth

Average depth

 

km2

km3

m

m

1. Baltic proper

211,069

13,045

49

62.1

2. Gulf of Bothnia

115,516

6,389

230

60.2

3. Gulf of Finland

29,600

1,100

123

38.0

4. Gulf of Riga

16,300

424

> 60

26.0

5. Belt Sea/Kattegat

42,408

802

109

18.9

Total Baltic Sea

415,266

21,721

459

52.3

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

  1. Gotland (2,994 km², belonging to Sweden)

  2. Saaremaa (2,992 km², belonging to Estonia)

  3. Öland (1342 km², belonging to Sweden)

  4. Hiiumaa (965 km², belonging to Estonia)

  5. Rügen (935 km², belonging to Germany)

  6. Bornholm (588 km², belonging to Denmark)

  7. Usedom (445 km², split between Poland and Germany)

  8. Wolin (265 km², belonging to Poland)

Listed by population

  1. Usedom (76,500 people, split between Poland and Germany)

  2. Rügen (73,000 people, belonging to Germany)

  3. Gotland (57,381 people, belonging to Sweden)

  4. Bornholm (44,100 people, belonging to Denmark)

  5. Saaremaa (40,312 people, belonging to Estonia)

  6. Öland (23,000 people, belonging to Sweden)

  7. Wolin (17,000 people, belonging to Poland)

  8. Hiiumaa (10,000 people, belonging to Estonia)

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:

  • Eutrophication: this has caused increased amounts of planktonic algae, increased frequencies of toxic blooms of algae, the reduction of oxygen levels in the deep waters of the Baltic and a decline or disappearance of larger perennial macroalgae.

  • Fisheries: Fishery of the main target fish species such as cod, herring, salmon and eel is presently unsustainable due to over-exploitation and impairment of conditions for reproduction. Bycatches of marine mammals, seabirds and non-target fish species are too high.

  • Pollution by contaminants and oil: Organic contaminants have caused health and reproduction problems in marine mammals and birds. Oil kills seabirds and negatively effects benthic communities.

  • Introduction of non-indigenous species: Changes in the structure and components of the ecosystem are caused by introduced species. Intentional introduction, fouling and ballast water are three important ways organisms have been introduced into the Baltic Sea. The river connections with the brackish waters in the Black and Caspian Seas increase the risk of introduction from these areas.

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.

Helsinki Convention of 3 May 1974

Helsinki Convention of 9 April 1992

Realization of the Convention on Fishing and Conservation of Living Resources in the Baltic Sea and the Belts

Cooperation with the regional organization of the International Commission for Fisheries in the Baltic Sea

Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area.

International environmental policy was created for the purpose of strengthening and improving the legal regime for the protection of the marine environment of the Baltic Sea Area.

It entered into force on 3 May 1980.

This Convention shall be open for signature in Helsinki from 9 April 1992

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. Germany

  2. Denmark

  3. Latvia

  4. Lithuania

  5. Poland

  6. Russia

  7. Finland

  8. Sweden

  1. Estonia

  2. Development of transport infrastructure in the Baltic region, the active transport of oil and oil products, and the level of growth of consumption - all this greatly increases natural complexes of the Baltic Sea. We can reduce this threat only if there is strong positions and joint action by all environmental organizations in the region.

  3. Every year, the date March 22 is celebrated as Day of the Baltic Sea by a decision of Helsinki Commission (HELCOM). The Baltic Sea is an example of eco-geographical whole, when environmental challenges of the Baltic may be solved with participation of all countries.

  4. At this moment, the 12% of Baltic Sea belongs to marine protected area. Way too little according to conservationists who say that a minimum of 30 per cent of the Baltic Sea should be effectively protected.

  5. The recovery of biodiversity in Baltic Sea is only possible with the immediate adoption of protective measures. In order to protect biodiversity in our seas world needs to establish more marine protected areas.

  6. Conclusion

  7. Baltic Sea is the unique sea basin, which we should protect because of destructive activity of the humans.

  8. It is important, how adults treat the wildlife, show an example to children, and do practical things like the collection and disposal of rubbish and leaving living-room for wild animals.

  9. In the process of the development of civilization, the formation of society, rapid scientific and technological progress people are increasingly moving away from nature. We no longer consider themselves one with nature, related to the world of plants and animals, the planet's resources to become a consumer. The whole society is one of us - individuals, and if everyone takes responsibility for their actions, we can save the planet from many disasters.

  10. To make a difference on a global scale, it is necessary that the mankind has realized that the Earth - our home, and only we can save him.

  11. Only together we can save the planet from many disasters. So much depends on us now, that we have no right to stay away.

  12. Advice how to be environmentally friendly

  13. Each of us must learn to behave ecologically friendly:

  • Don’t use plastic bags.

  • Buy environmentally friendly light bulbs they cost less and are better for the environment.

  • Don’t waste water when in shower.

  • Walk or ride your bike to school.

  • Pick up litter.

  • Buy recyclable items such as paper.

  • Don’t drop litter into the water, on the land etc.

  1. The most important things we can do to help environment is we can recycle things , use nonrenewable resources as less as possible and have proper waste management.Our aim was to 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.

  2. We researched ecological problems of the Baltic Sea. To draw the conclusion, we must say, that the pollution of the Baltic Sea leads to a change of ecosystems, species of plants and animals, freshwater shortages and threatens human life. We found out that Baltic States, people, government and scientists are worried about the environmental situation of the Baltic Sea. They created several international organizations that protect the sea and work actively trying to improve the situation. We also collect some advice for our classmates.

  3. Links:

  1. BAYS OF THE BALTIC SEA. Электронный документ. URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Bays_of_the_Baltic_Sea

  2. ABOUT THE CHEMICAL WEAPON SUNK AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BALTIC SEA AND THE PROPOSAL ON THE CONSTANT MONITORING OF ITS CONDITION. Статья. By A.G. Efremov, special for NuclearNo.com, 25 November 2003. Электронный документ. URL: http://www.nuclearno.com/text.asp?7249

  3. STUDY THE BALTIC SEA. textbook for students. Edited by: D.P. Filippenko, 2015. Электронный документ.URL: http://www.baltfriends.ru/sites/default/files/Study%20book%20ENG%201.pdf

  4. HELCOM. Электронный документ. URL: http://www.helcom.fi/Documents/About%20us/Convention%20and%20commitments/Helsinki%20Convention/1992_Convention_1108.pdf

  5. THE HISTORY. Электронный документ. URL: http://www.helcom.fi/Ministerial2013/history

  6. EUROPEAN ENVIRONMENTAL AGENCY. Электронный документ.URL: http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/report_2002_0524_154909/regional-seas-around-europe/page141.html

  7. BALTIC FRIENDS. Электронный документ. URL: http://www.balticsea-region-strategy.eu/attachments/article/590773/The%20Baltic%20sea%20region%20for%20beginners.pdf

  8. NATIONMASTER . Электронный документ. URL: http://www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/Islands-of-the-Baltic-Sea

  9. ECOLOGICAL PROBLEMS. Articles discussing environmental issues of the modern world. Электронный документ. URL: http://ecological-problems.blogspot.ru/2011/12/baltic-sea-needs-more-protection.html

  10. THE BALTIC SEA. ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY. Электронный документ. URL:

  11. http://www.baltfriends.ru/sites/default/files/The-Baltic-Sea-Environment-and-Ecology.pdf

  12. BALTIC SEA CLIMATE: 200 yr of data on air temperature, sea level variation, ice cover, and atmospheric circulation, Anders Omstedt , Christin Pettersen, Johan Rodhe, Peter Winsor. Department of Oceanography, Earth Sciences Centre, Göteborg University, 405 30 Göteborg, Sweden 2Physical Oceanography Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA . Электронный документ. URL: http://www.int-res.com/articles/cr2003/25/c025p205.pdf

  13. THE BALTIC UNIVERSITY PROGRAMME (BUP). Электронный документ. URL: http://www.balticuniv.uu.se/

  14. photos

  1. https://www.travel-oniks.ru/images/Norway/Fjord/Sognefjord/naroyfjord-640_01.jpg

  2. http://ecotraveller.tv/blog/wp-content/uploads/bigstock-Aland-Islands-Archipelago-In-S-86277938.jpg

  3. http://static.panoramio.com/photos/large/86634969.jpg

  4. http://s1.1zoom.net/big0/648/Sea_Coast_Russia_Sky_456275.jpg

  5. http://www.coastalwiki.org/w/images/2/2b/Baltic_sea_lagoons.jpg

  1. приложение 1.

  2. Приложение 2.

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).