March 28, 1998 in Nation/World

Baltic Nations Agree To Clean Polluted Sea

Compiled From Wire Services

Baltic Sea countries agreed Thursday on measures to clean the sea’s polluted waters, including fees on all ships to stop the dumping of waste.

The measures were among 20 proposals by nine nations and the European Union to reduce damaging emissions by shipping, industry, farming and transport.

Ten years ago, Baltic countries agreed to halve maritime emissions by 1995, but they have not been able to meet that target, said EU environmental commissioner Ritt Bjerregaard.

The new target date of 2005 for a 50 percent cut in emissions is more realistic, Bjerregaard said.

The pollution is so bad in the Baltic Sea that the Swedish government recommends that pregnant women and children refrain from eating fish caught in its waters, said Sweden’s environment minister Anna Lindh.

Among the measures approved Thursday is a dumping fee that ships would pay at their first Baltic port of call. Advocates believe that paying the mandatory fee will induce ships to dispose of waste at port facilities.

The measures must be ratified by lawmakers of the nine countries: Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, Estona, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Germany.

Other measures include cutting nutrient discharges by farmers, lead emissions of motor vehicles and heavy metal deposits by industry.

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