Rivers still carry high quantities of nutrients

Long-term progress:
Nearly 90% of Finland's coastal waters are in a moderate condition at best.
Short-term progress:
Short-term variations in the nutrient discharge from rivers is mainly explained by fluctuations in water flow.
Progress in relation to targets:

Phosphorus discharge from Finnish rivers into the Baltic Sea in 1970–2019

Phosphorus discharge from Finnish rivers
Source: SYKE. 2021.

Nitrogen discharge from Finnish rivers into the Baltic Sea in 1970–2019

Nitrogen discharge from Finnish rivers
Source: SYKE. 2021.

In the 2000s, Finnish rivers have carried an annual average of 3,300 tonnes of phosphorus and 72,000 tonnes of nitrogen into the Baltic Sea, which accounts for approximately one tenth of the Baltic Sea's overall load of these nutrients. Nutrient run-off from natural areas of river basins and from human action builds up in rivers. Annual variation in river nutrient levels is high because the time and amount of rain affects run-off from forests and fields.

Quantities of river-borne phosphorus have decreased from the 1970s to the present day due to reduction in pollution from point sources. Nitrogen discharge has, however, remained on the same level as in the 1970s. High levels of nutrients in rivers are particularly related to agricultural activity. Despite the reduction in fertiliser quantities, the establishment of filter strips and the proliferation of erosion-reducing cultivation methods, there has been no significant reduction in nutrient run-off from croplands.

The Baltic Sea nutrient loading must be reduced because the sea is suffering from eutrophication. According to the 2019 ecological classification of surface waters, nearly 90% of Finland's coastal waters are in moderate ecological condition or worse.

Sources:

  • SYKE. 2021.
  • Ecological and chemical state of surface waters 2019. ELY-Centres and Finnish Environment Institute. 2019.
Published 2015-11-20 at 9:48, updated 2021-04-20 at 8:59