30 Aug 2017 - Robust measures are needed to tackle eutrophication, environmental toxins, littering and other threats against Sweden’s lakes, seas and coastlines. As early as next year, the Government will invest an additional SEK 600 million in measures for clean seas. With this fresh funding, the Government wants to clean up environmentally hazardous ship wrecks, finance projects to combat eutrophication and strengthen protection of marine areas.
"The threats to our seas are numerous and serious, but we do have solutions. There is a great deal we can do to ensure that we have healthy and clean seas that can provide us with everything from food and jobs to bathing areas and coastal walks. With this budget, Sweden will take a major step forward in these efforts," says Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate Isabella Lövin.
The Budget Bill for 2018 is based on an agreement between the Government and the Left Party.
Getting rid of environmental toxins
There are some 17 000 ship wrecks off the coast of Sweden. Thirty of these are thought to represent an acute environmental hazard. This is often because of bunker oil and other fuel that risks leaking, or that is already leaking. The Government proposes that SEK 25 million per year over a ten-year period be invested in tackling the environmental risks of the wrecks posing the biggest threat to the marine environment. This will enable the authorities to clean up between one and three hazardous wrecks per year.
It is very important to address the accumulations of environmental toxins in the Baltic Sea. For this reason, the clean-up appropriation is being increased and funds have been earmarked so that known sources can gradually be dealt with. The appropriation will be increased by SEK 80 million in 2018, SEK 100 million in 2019 and SEK 145 million in 2020.
Pharmaceuticals are vital for health and medical care. But when pharmaceutical products are produced, used and disposed of, there is a risk of pharmaceutical residues entering the environment. The Government now wants to invest SEK 50 million in 2018, SEK 55 million in 2019 and SEK 75 million in 2020 to reduce the amount of pharmaceuticals ending up in the environment.
Vigorous measures to prevent eutrophication
The eutrophication of lakes, coastal areas and seas is still one of our biggest environmental problems. Eutrophication is largely caused by nutrients running off the land and into the sea through watercourses. This is why measures on land are important to address the problem of eutrophication.
The Government is investing SEK 60 million in 2018 to reduce the inflow of nutrients that have gathered at the bottom of lakes and seas, and other measures to limit eutrophication.
In June, the Government presented an investment of SEK 200 million per year in wetlands to secure the supply of drinking water and wetland ecosystems. Aside from the fact that this investment will improve the landscape's ability to store water, it is also an important measure to reduce the inflow of nutrients from the land.
Better protection of marine areas
The Government's previous investments to protect marine areas have enabled Sweden to double the area of protected marine environment – from 6.7 per cent to 13.6 per cent – in just one year. Sweden has thus achieved the goal of protecting at least 10 per cent of our marine areas by 2020. But protection in each area must be improved and the various areas must be better linked.
The Government therefore proposes an increase in the appropriation for marine protected areas of SEK 50 million in 2018 and SEK 67 million in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
Seas free of plastic
In May, the Government presented a package of measures to combat plastic pollution of over SEK 100 million per year until 2020, with the aim of reducing the spread of microplastics and other plastic products, reducing littering from plastic products, and carrying out beach clean-ups.