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Environmental Issues in the Baltic Sea: A Fragile Ecosystem Under Threat

by szymon Gorny | 08-09-2023 20:09 recommendations 1


The Baltic Sea, nestled between nine countries in Northern Europe, is renowned for its stunning beauty and rich biodiversity. However, beneath its serene surface, this iconic sea is grappling with an array of pressing environmental issues that endanger its delicate ecosystem. As it connects the Nordic region with the European mainland, the Baltic Sea plays a crucial role in both local economies and global marine health. In this article, we will delve deeper into the key environmental challenges that confront the Baltic Sea today, and the far-reaching consequences they entail.

1. Eutrophication:

Eutrophication stands as one of the most imminent threats to the Baltic Sea's ecological integrity. The excessive runoff of nutrients, primarily nitrogen and phosphorus, into the sea from various sources, including agriculture, industry, and sewage, has led to a disconcerting phenomenon. This influx of nutrients fuels the rapid proliferation of algae, causing massive algal blooms. When these algae die and decompose, they consume vast quantities of oxygen, creating hypoxic or "dead zones." These areas are devoid of oxygen, rendering them inhospitable to marine life, severely disrupting the Baltic Sea's intricate balance.

2. Pollution:

Pollution is another looming menace, stemming from shipping activities, agriculture, and industrial processes. Heavy metals, toxic chemicals, and plastic waste infiltrate the waters, poisoning both marine organisms and posing health risks to humans. Despite international agreements aiming to mitigate pollution, enforcement remains a significant challenge, leaving the Baltic Sea vulnerable to ongoing contamination.

3. Overfishing:

Unsustainable fishing practices have led to overfishing in the Baltic Sea, jeopardizing the long-term health of its marine ecosystem. Declining fish populations not only threaten the livelihoods of coastal communities but also disrupt the intricate web of life beneath the waves. Effective fisheries management and conservation efforts are vital to prevent further depletion of fish stocks and restore balance.

4. Invasive Species:

The Baltic Sea has witnessed the introduction of invasive species, often transported via ballast water from ships. These intruders outcompete native species, wreaking havoc on the ecosystem's natural equilibrium. For instance, the comb jellyfish has proliferated, disturbing local food chains and ecosystem dynamics, and impacting biodiversity.

5. Climate Change:

Climate change serves as a formidable multiplier of existing environmental challenges in the Baltic Sea. Rising sea temperatures can alter the distribution of species and disrupt migration patterns, leading to unpredictable consequences. Additionally, increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere can trigger ocean acidification, making it difficult for marine organisms to build their shells and skeletons, further destabilizing the ecosystem.

6. Habitat Degradation:

The degradation and alteration of natural habitats along the Baltic Sea's coastlines result from coastal development, land reclamation, and infrastructure projects. These alterations affect the breeding and feeding grounds of numerous species, compounding the decline of biodiversity.

7. International Cooperation:

Mitigating the environmental issues plaguing the Baltic Sea necessitates extensive international cooperation among the countries that border it. The Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) and other regional organizations have assumed pivotal roles in coordinating efforts to protect and restore the Baltic Sea's ecosystem. These endeavors encompass setting nutrient reduction targets, promoting sustainable fishing practices, and monitoring pollution levels.


The Baltic Sea, with its unique charm and ecological significance, faces a host of interconnected environmental challenges, including eutrophication, pollution, overfishing, invasive species, climate change, and habitat degradation. To secure the future of this vital body of water, it is imperative for the nations that share its shores to unite in their commitment to effective conservation measures and heightened awareness of the Baltic Sea's importance. Only through concerted efforts can we hope to preserve the Baltic Sea's health, ensuring its well-being for generations to come. As guardians of this precious ecosystem, it is our responsibility to protect and nurture the Baltic Sea and its myriad wonders.



  • Poland Youth szymon Gorny
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SangHyeon Park

  • SangHyeon Park says :
    Hello, I'm mentor Sanghyeon.
    I hope to preserve the Baltic Sea and pass on its beauty to future generations through cooperative efforts.
    Thank you for the good article.
    Posted 28-09-2023 16:55

Seeun Mentor

  • Seeun Mentor says :
    Hello, this is your mentor Seeun.
    You illustrated many of the different problems the Baltic sea is facing today. Korea faces a number of similar problems as well, so I understand how much these problems can impact the environment. Also, I remember reading an article about how Italy is having trouble with blue crabs because they are an invasive species and are eating all the local shellfish. So, these problems you listed are not just problems of the Baltic sea, but eberywhere around the world. Therefore, international cooperation is a must!
    Thank you for the wonderful article
    Posted 12-09-2023 15:45

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