Mayor of Tallinn Taavi Aas, Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori and Mayor of Turku Minna Arve invite the municipalities on the shores of the Baltic Sea in Estonia and Finland to bring their residents to beach cleaning events. Through this campaign, they want to draw the citizens’ attention to a growing threat – waste in the sea.
Only together can we truly reduce the dangers threatening the sea that connects us
Plastic and other waste washed away from the mainland to the sea make up almost 80 % of the waste in the sea. It damages the fragile ecosystem of the Baltic Sea. The breakdown of waste materials in nature is slow and a particular problem is the plastic waste, which breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces and spreads into our entire environment. Studies have shown that 90 % of the sea birds have plastic in their stomachs, which often causes a premature death of the birds. Eventually, plastic and other waste end up on our plates, because as much as 25 % of the fish sold on the markets have plastic in their alimentary canals.
Helsinki, Turku and Tallinn are cooperating actively to protect the Baltic Sea. In 2016, Helsinki and Turku made a Baltic Sea Challenge initiative, which has already been joined by 270 organisations: businesses, associations, educational institutes, governmental institutions and municipalities, including Tallinn. Arranged for the fifth consecutive year, the Baltic Sea Challenge hosts joint cleaning events, where hundreds of volunteers clean up the beach areas. The most important additional goal is to increase the environmental awareness concerning the Baltic Sea.
The Mayors of Tallinn, Turku and Helsinki appeal to the municipalities of the sea shore and propose that beach cleaning events are arranged on 4 May 2019 or that support is provided to the cleaning event projects of the locals on the shores of the Baltic Sea and the rivers and waterways connected to the Baltic Sea. They encourage the organisers to arrange supplementary programme in connection to the events, where participants receive information about the human impact on the Baltic Sea environment. The Cities of Helsinki, Turku and Tallinn are ready to share their experiences of arranging beach cleaning events and increasing the environmental awareness.