Several surveys and studies were implemented under the measure to evaluate the situation and effects of littering in Finnish marine waters. In addition, a comprehensive report with the title “Suomen merialueen roskaantumisen lähteet”(‘Sources of litter in Finnish marine waters’, in Finnish, with English abstract, https://helda.helsinki.fi/handle/10138/313542) was published. Its results were used when updating the programme of measures, and developing measures on littering.
In the first phase of the measure, a broad-scoped general survey is made of the origin of littering on the shores and the marine environment as well as of volumes in different areas, and the potential for reducing littering is evaluated. The survey assesses both visible littering and microlitter. Harm and impact on the sea populations as well as health risks for humans are assessed. The survey will be accompanied by a section identifying the possibilities and methods for removing litter from the sea and shores, and the benefits of removing litter will be weighed against the costs.
In the second phase, after the most important sources and the effects and risks for the population and humans have been charted, a proposal for general environmental goals regarding littering will be drawn up.
In the third phase, a proposal of actions to reduce littering in the sea and the shores will be drawn up. When drawing up the proposals, the focus must be in the possibilities of reducing plastic litter. Wastewater and stormwater, microplastics in hygiene products, the use of plastic packages and bags and plastics in general, ghost webs, waste management in harbours and implementation of the no-special-fee system as well as waste reception of sorted waste in harbours must in this connection be observed as sources of littering and possible targets for reducing littering. When examining the removal of litter from the sea, cooperation with fishers will be assessed as a possible measure.
Similar measures implemented in other Baltic Sea countries will be evaluated in the process of drawing up proposals, and the aim is to establish cooperation in accordance with HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan. Measures will be targeted at the riskiest and/or harmful sources of littering, so that the amount of litter entering the sea can be reduced cost-effectively. The measures can even be targeted to removing litter from the sea and the shores. An estimate of the costs and economic benefits is attached to proposals of measurements.
In the third phase, the group responsible for the monitoring of the measure programme makes decisions on the implementation of measures. The measures will be started and, if possible, implemented by the end of 2021.
Littering caused by boaters, fishers and hikers, as well as consumer behaviour that causes littering will be influenced by the means of communication. The related measures have been described in MESSAGE 1.
Extensive study: 2016–2017
Environmental target and proposed measures: 2018
Implementation of measures: 2019-2021
Suomen ympäristökeskus (SYKE)