Skip to main content

Contribute to the well-being of waters

Finland is one of the most water-rich countries in the world and our waterways are in fairly good condition. However, water pollution and climate change are also problems for us. Among other things, droughts and algae blooms are increasing. Our consumption also saps the water resources of other countries. With your own actions, you can reduce water eutrophication, chemical loads, and other impacts of your water use.
Two children and a dog swimming in water.
© Adobe Stock

Finland is the land of a thousand lakes, and we have enough water to consume. However, things are not quite that simple. Did you know that the cotton t-shirt you bought has consumed a substantial amount of water when it was manufactured – often in a country where water sufficiency and wastewater treatment are not self-evident facts?  

Your water actions matter. Jump in below the surface and impact the waters! 

A woman’s love for a lake is turning it from a mash of algae into a recreational oasis
Eeva went to look for the lost spring in Viluluoto but ended up finding a lake.

Explore and reduce the impact of your water use

Water use is not just the direct use of drinking or washing water. The production of various products and foods also consumes water. Therefore, reasonable and sensible consumption also saves water.

Use water in moderation.

In Finland, tap water is clean and of good quality. But don’t leave the tap running unnecessarily. Water supply, purification, pumping, distribution, and wastewater management consume energy. Opt for water and energy-efficient plumbing fixtures.

Pay attention to your choice of products.

Try to avoid foreign products whose production consumes a lot of water and causes harmful emissions. It is especially important to avoid food products from water-critical areas (such as the Middle East, Africa, and Asia).

Reuse and recycle clothes and household textiles.

When buying new clothes, opt for products that come from inside the EU or are eco-labelled. In many developing countries, textile production often involves high water consumption, use of various harmful chemicals, and poor wastewater management.

Water footprint is an indication of our water use

The larger the water footprint, the more water is used. The water footprint consists of water taken directly from the tap and so-called virtual water. Virtual water refers to water used in the manufacture of commodities, including water used to produce raw materials, intermediate products, energy, and services. Less than five per cent of the water footprint of an average Finnish consumer is direct water consumption. The rest is virtual water from manufacturing the products and services domestically or abroad.

Prevent the eutrophication of waters

The eutrophication of waters changes the species that inhabit water bodies and increases cyanobacterial blooms. Everyone can influence the well-being of waters for example by their dietary choices.

Favour vegetarian food and wild fish.

The easiest way to reduce the load on inland waters and the Baltic Sea is to increase the proportion of domestic wild fish and vegetarian food in your diet. By eating and fishing domestic wild fish, you can even compensate for your nutrient emissions.  

Reduce food waste and make use of leftovers.

This way you avoid burdening water bodies with unnecessary food production.  

Avoid the use of unnecessary nutrients in your garden.

A kitchen garden does not require strong artificial fertilisers. You can for instance use a compost for soil conditioning and green mulch as fertiliser.

Manage your waste water correctly.

Be sure to upgrade the wastewater system at your cottage to meet the wastewater treatment requirements of sparsely populated areas, and make sure that the cottage's sauna water is not discharged directly into the water system.

Find out the impact of your consumption habits on nutrient loading with the Baltic Sea calculator
Try out the calculator

Reduce the chemical load of water

In our everyday life, we use several different chemicals, most of which do not pose a risk to the environment or health. The manufacture, marketing, and use of chemicals is regulated by a number of laws that aim to protect both the environment and human health. We can also use our own choices to reduce the chemicalisation of the environment.  Read more about household chemicals (

Favour eco-labelled household chemicals.

An eco-label on cleaning products, washing powder and washing-up liquid guarantees that none of the most harmful chemicals have been used in the manufacture of the products.

Avoid littering both on land and water.

Waste finds its way from land to water. Litter makes our surroundings less enjoyable and poses a harm to animals and to the environment. Especially microplastics can accumulate environmental toxins.

Take pharmaceutical waste to the dedicated pharmaceutical waste containers in pharmacies.

Do not mix pharmaceutical waste in household waste or flush it down the toilet. Some of the pharmaceutical waste is discharged through wastewater treatment plants and into seas and lakes, where it poses a threat to aquatic organisms.

Avoid the use of pesticides.

Pesticides and biocides are designed to combat, destroy, or render harmless organisms. Biocidal products include insecticides and repellents, disinfectants, preservatives, and wood preservatives. They may cause adverse effects on natural organisms if released into the environment. Pesticides should only be used when necessary and according to the instructions.  

Wash and rinse carpets on dry land washing areas set up by the municipalities.

If you are washing carpets at home or at the cottage, do not discharge the washing water into nearby waterways, but let it be absorbed by the soil.

Impact your nearby waters

In the vicinity of every Finn there is water: a lake, a seashore, a river or a stream. We have the opportunity to enjoy these waters by swimming, boating or fishing, but we also have a responsibility to take care of them.

Find out the quality of your nearby waters. service provides information on the status of waters, the cyanobacterial situation, and nutrient loads. 

Take part in voluntary work to clean up beaches.

Waste is transported to the water from land, so by participating in cleaning campaigns and voluntary work, you can also have a concrete impact on the condition of water. Many residents' associations and environmental organisations organise beach cleaning campaigns. 

Remediate nearby waters.

Water conservation associations carry out remediation work of streams, for instance creating spawning grounds for migratory fish. Voluntary stream remediation is also a great opportunity to learn more about the aquatic environment.  

Report your observations about the condition of waters.

Citizens' observations are an important part of environmental monitoring and help authorities and researchers in monitoring the status of waters. Järvi-Meriwikiin  tai karttapalvelun kautta.

How are our waters doing?  

87 per cent of Finland's lakes and 68 per cent of our rivers are in good or excellent ecological condition. Our largest lakes and especially the water bodies of Northern Lapland are mainly in good or excellent ecological condition. However, the smaller lakes of our country suffer from eutrophication and our streams from silting.

The condition of the Gulf of Finland has improved, thanks to water protection measures and, in particular, improved wastewater treatment in St. Petersburg. The coastal areas that are in good condition are concentrated in the Gulf of Bothnia.

Eutrophication remains the main problem both in inland waters and in sea areas.

Eutrophication remains the main problem both in inland waters and in sea areas.

More of waters
Read more
More of the Baltic Sea
Read more


Finnish Environment Institute (Syke)
Discover more
Go to an expedition to the unique Baltic Sea.
Go (