Report: Finland’s lakes are doing well, but coastal waters deteriorating

Some part of the country like the Lakeland region and northern Lapland have rivers and lakes in excellent ecological health.

File picture of SYKE research vessel Aranda, August 2019 / Credit: News Now Finland

Finnish lakes are in good health, but coastal waters are deteriorating.

That’s the conclusion of a new study carried out by the Ministry of Environment and the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE which looked at conditions in 6875 lakes, rivers and coastal water bodies.

The assessment finds that 87% of the surface area of lakes and 68% of rivers are in good or very good condition with the biggest problem still being eutrophication.

Eutrophication is a process when large amounts of nutrient runoff or sewage goes into the water and acts as fertilizer for algae, which flourishes in these conditions.

When the algae dies, it sinks to the bottom and is consumed by bacteria and animals, consuming oxygen, until all the oxygen in that part of the water is gone and not capable of supporting life any more.

“The most recent ecological status classification shows how important the programme to enhance the effectiveness of water protection really is” says Environment Minister Krista Mikkonen (Green).

The new research finds that the great lakes region and especially the waterways of northern Lapland are in good or excellent ecological condition. But smaller lakes are more likely to suffer from eutrophication.

In the Gulf of Finland there’s been a noticeable improvement in the water condition due in part to water conservation measures and improved wastewater purification in St. Petersburg.

Gulf of Bothnia coastal areas are considered to be in good condition.

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