Evaluation of the implementation of the 1988 Ministerial Declaration regarding nutrient load reductions in the Baltic Sea
In September 1988 the Ministers of Environment of the Baltic Sea States decided that anthropogenic loading to the Baltic Sea should be reduced by 50 % from 1987 levels by the year 1995 (The 1988 Ministerial Declaration). Due to partly unrelia- ble and/or missing loading data, real progress in achieving this target could not be assessed regarding the entire Baltic Sea catchment area. The Extraordinary Meeting of the Helsinki Commission decided in 1999 that the Land-based Pollu- tion Group (HELCOM LAND) shall monitor and assess the implementation of the strategic goals set in the Declaration, as well as to report on the implementation of the Declaration. The present report assesses the development of nitrogen (N) and phospho- rus (P) discharges, based on the so called source-orientated approach, i.e. loading figures for point (municipalities, industry, fish farming) and diffuse (agriculture) sources. In addition, some countries have also presented information on nutrient retention in river catchments and the net loads to the Baltic Sea (load-orientated approach). It should be highlighted that it is difficult to reliably estimate losses from agriculture into surface water, and that the models and methodologies used do not necessarily provide comparable and/or accurate estimates of these loads between different countries and time periods. The report summarises the national nitrogen and phosphorus loading figures for 1987 (or any other year or period in the late 1980s) and 1995, as well as the re- duction achieved between these years. The national loading figures have been collected in long-term monitoring programmes, which, however, differ among countries, especially regarding diffuse loading. Additionally, some of the loading figures for the late 1980s have been calculated based on background statistics and/ or model calculations, without the possibility of verification by monitored data. The loading figures for 1995 are, for the most part, calculated from the data ob- tained in monitoring programmes. The country-specific reduction figures were produced by the national experts of the project group, and the overall results and their comparison are based on these estimates. Regarding point sources, the 50 % reduction target was achieved for phosphorus by almost all the Baltic Sea countries, while most countries did not reach the target for nitrogen. In general, the reductions were biggest both for point and non-point sources in the transition countries, due to fundamental changes in their political and economical systems in the early 1990s. In EU member countries, the observed decrease was usually smaller and was based on water protection measures implemented during the period. This development strengthened also in the countries in transition during the 1990s. Denmark, Finland, Germany (West- ern part) and Sweden had already achieved reductions in point source loading in the 1970s and 1980s. This partly explains lower reductions from point sources in these countries between the late 1980s and 1995. Agricultural loading levels usually showed smaller decreases than the point source loading. In general, decreases could be found in nitrogen, while decreases in phosphorus remained smaller. In Finland, Germany and Sweden, no decrease could be found in agricultural phosphorus loading, despite strong reductions in the use of P-fertilisers. The main reason is the net surplus of phosphorus in the soildue to the high use of phosphorus fertilisers in these countries. The reduction in fertilisation has balanced the surplus to zero or close to it. This has, however, not been sufficient to reduce soil phosphorus concentrations. There will be a long lag before any changes can be seen in losses. With nitrogen also, some time lag is ex- pected between the implementation of reduction measures and decreases in ni- trogen discharges to surface water. According to national estimates, the 50 % re- duction in agricultural nutrient loading has been reached by transition countries except Poland. The conclusion concerning the reductions achieved is, however, uncertain due to the lack of monitoring systems for diffuse loading in the late 1980s. However, both the drastic reduction in the use of fertilisers (80–90 %) and decrease in agricultural production (30–40 %), as well as the increase of the green set-aside area, supported the estimated reductions. The comparison of national point source loading figures with available back- ground information (statistics, reports, projects) indicate most results are reliable enough for developing conclusions. The largest inconsistencies can be found in the agricultural loading figures. It seems probable that estimates of agricultural loading for countries in transition during the late 1980s can be regarded only as tentative, as direct monitoring of agricultural loading during period is lacking. Further, the used models and methodologies are not necessarily comparable. Thus, regarding total national loads and reductions, figures for point and diffuse sourc- es were assessed separately. However, at the request of the extraordinary meeting of the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM EXTRA 99) and the decisions of HELCOM LAND 3, this report also summarises these loads and reductions achieved. A description of the Finnish National Programme on Water Protection for the year 2005 is included in the present report as an example for the action plan to further reduce nutrient loads in order to reach the 50 % (or more) target, includ- ing EU requirements. The chapter includes descriptions of technical measures, the economic impacts and environmental effects related to the implementation of the programmes. In addition to the Finnish programme, the corresponding programmes of Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden are also present- ed and discussed.
Download Link