The well-being of the Baltic Sea is at risk. Due to human influence, the delicate balance of this unique marine environment has been severely shaken.
About a year ago, WWF Finland (World Wide Fund for Nature in Finland) launched 'Operation Mermaid' to address the threats to the Baltic Sea. Damage to the sea could seriously affect both humans that flock to its shores and breeding areas for seals and aquatic birds.
Nokia has been involved since the beginning. It was a natural extension of Nokia's support for the WWF, since there are so many sites around the sea. Employees can see for themselves the effects of algae and pollution.
Threats to the Sea
Algae, which thrives on nutrients released into the sea by humans, is a major threat. Fishing nets become slimy, the water becomes non-transparent, and abundant, greenish algae in the shore waters covers everything. Eutrophication also increases the amount of poisonous blue-green algae.
But algae is not the only problem. Marine traffic to the new Russian oil ports quadruples the risk of an oil accident in the Gulf of Finland. An oil spill would cause severe damage to the environment.
This past year, the WWF gained Finland's and the EU's support to build waste water treatment facilities in St. Petersburg in Russia. They have also taken actions to reduce the risk of oil accidents. A guidance system similar to that of air-traffic controllers will be created to track vessels traversing the Gulf of Finland. Globally, the use of oil tankers without double hulls will be prohibited in all oceans of the world in about ten years.
All Hands on Deck
WWF has also conducted plenty of hands-on field work on behalf of the archipelago's wildlife. Annual rehabilitation work on valuable traditional environmental areas in the archipelago, winter feeding of white-tailed eagles and seal counts are all parts of Operation Mermaid.
The organization also seeks to have an impact on national authorities' and enterprises' decision-making regarding the Baltic Sea. As part of Operation Mermaid, they also cooperate with research facilities such as the Finnish Institute of Marine Research.