The Baltic Sea is one of the most polluted seas in the world, with eutrophication due to an excessive nutrient load being its gravest environmental problem. Protective measures undertaken by the Baltic Sea states are at present insufficient to eliminate the eutrophication problem. Therefore, there is a need for active players, concrete emission reduction projects and funding for their implementation. The Nutribute crowdsourcing platform, maintained by the John Nurminen Foundation, confronts these challenges by turning ideas for the protection of the Baltic Sea into concrete measures.
Nutribute is open and free of charge to all operators. Before protection projects are accepted for inclusion on the platform, their feasibility is assessed by an expert panel. Only those projects that pass a risk analysis are published. Private persons and companies can support projects published on the platform by submitting a sum of their choice.
The Keep the Archipelago Tidy Association is seeking support for a new pump-out station via the crowdsourcing platform. The Association is performing important work along Finnish coasts and in lake areas by maintaining waste recycling bins, earth closet toilets, pump-out stations, and harbours for recreational boating. We interviewed Secretary General Aija Kaski about the background of the project.
You are seeking support for a new pump-out station via the Nutribute crowdsourcing platform. Why is the installation of new pump-out stations in particular something that continues to be important?
– Eutrophication continues to be the biggest problem in the Baltic Sea. All emission sources that can be blocked are a step forward. Boaters must have a real opportunity to empty the septic tank of their boats at reception points, the number of which is still insufficient in many places.
How big an environmental impact would be achieved if a new pump-out station could be built?
– The new pump-out station is projected to be 10m3 in volume. The volume of sludge that it is capable of storing contains 5kg of phosphorus and 25kg of nitrogen. This volume of nitrogen and phosphorus would create potential for the growth of a total of 5,000kg of algae.
The pump-out station would be located in in the Ekenäs archipelago. Why did you select precisely this location?
– The busiest boating route in Finland runs through the Ekenäs Archipelago. However, the number of emptying points is nowhere near sufficient. For example, deviating from the route in order to access services in Ekenäs Centrum would add considerably to boaters’ travel time, in particular if their boats are slow.
The pump-out station is intended to be floating. Why does a floating station work better in the Ekenäs archipelago than one on land?
– It is easier to find a suitable location for a floating facility. Calling a port means that boaters only need to deviate a short distance from their route. A floating station has the added advantage of enabling boats to moor at it at any side regardless of boats’ orientation, with the water depth being sufficient for all boats. Furthermore, a floating station does not tempt boaters to moor at it for an extended period of time, encouraging them to vacate their mooring for the next visitor after they have emptied their septic tanks.
Why did you decide to apply for funding for your project via the Nutribute crowdsourcing platform?
– For several years by now, we have been thinking how we could get a floating pump-out station in the Ekenäs archipelago. These facilities are expensive, and without separate financing we would stand no chance of obtaining one. We hope that all people boating in the area, with an interest in its cleanliness, would participate in the procurement of the facility and would adopt its use.
In your opinion, how important is voluntary work in the protection of the Baltic Sea?
– Volunteers make a significant contribution – making the problem visible and shared to everybody through a variety of projects and events. No single party can single-handedly save the Baltic Sea; it is something that we all must engage in.
Support the Keep the Archipelago Tidy Association in its efforts to purchase a new pump-out station via the Nutribute crowdsourcing platform: https://www.nutribute.org/campaigns/new-pump-out-station-for-leisure-boats