Baltic Sea suffocated

Subsidized agriculture is responsible for algae blooms and lack of oxygen?

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According to a WWF report, EU agricultural policy contributes significantly to algae blooms and oxygen deficiency in the Baltic Sea. Each EU citizen on the Baltic Sea pays 72 euros per year to the Br sseler Agrartopf - thus promoting a system that rewards agriculture overfilling, according to the environmental protection organization. Especially over the rivers, excess nutrients enter the sea and destroy valuable habitats.


"The Baltic Sea, with its active support from Brussels, has developed from a sea of ​​clear water into a dull, overgrown waters before collapsing, " says Jochen Lamp, director of the WWF Ostseebro in Stralsund.

One-sixth of the sea, an area of ​​70, 000 square kilometers, has turned into death zones. Because of the lack of oxygen no life is possible here. "Probably most tourists and residents do not know that the creeping death of the Baltic Sea is also financed from their wallet, " said the WWF spokesman. Although the beaches have been spared from algae blooms this summer. The absence of algae, however, is due to the weather. "Algae carpets on the coast are only the visible sign of an ecological catastrophe that continues unhindered at sea, " said Lamp.

Nutrient overkill

Baltic water today contains eight times more phosphorus and four times more nitrogen than one hundred years ago. Each year, one million tonnes of nitrogen and 35, 000 tonnes of phosphorus would be added. Despite earlier protection programs, the burden has been rising again for ten years, the WWF continues. Industrial agriculture causes nutrient overkill. display

Inexpensive artificial fertilizer seduces farmers to vigorously over-fertilize their fields. Add to this the liquid manure from factory farming. Industrial agriculture in the Baltic Sea region is being pumped from Brussels with 10.4 billion euros annually.

Fertilizer consumption continues to increase

The situation is getting worse, according to WWF. In Poland and the Baltic States alone, fertilizer consumption is expected to increase by up to a third over the next ten years. Chicken and pork would be relocated from western to eastern Europe, where lower environmental standards would apply. Inadequate wastewater treatment plants, phosphates in detergents and untreated shipwaste would also make the Baltic Sea a sewer.

The WWF calls for a Baltic Rescue Program and has launched a campaign around the Baltic Sea. EU funds should only flow if farmers curb over-fertilization. In November, the governments of the Baltic Sea States also meet in the framework of the HELCOM agreement. "Currently, however, the majority blocks an effective environmental action plan. If the conference fails, that would be the killing blow for the Baltic Sea, "warns Lamp.

(WWF, 14.08.2007 - DLO)