Pharmaceutical residues in the Baltic Sea are causing concern, as the full effect on the marine environment is still unknown. Human and livestock excretion of drugs and metabolites following consumption, as well as disposal of unused pharmaceuticals, are pathways to the environment. Many pharmaceutical substances cannot be effectively removed by conventional waste water treatment.
The topic of hazardous substances is included as a main area in the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea region. Under the Policy Area (PA) ‘Hazards’ this year’s activities are focusing on the topic of pharmaceuticals in the Baltic Sea environment. The PA is aiming at creating a dynamic network of relevant stakeholders from across the Baltic Sea region working on the topic from different perspectives, as well as facilitating cooperation, capacity building and policy development in the field. In this respect, PA Hazards was also actively looking for innovative ideas on how to prevent pharmaceutical substances to reach the Baltic environment and cause negative effects, including technical and management solutions.
Baltic Development Forum assisted the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and Helcom in organising this regional stakeholder event, which sought to stimulate innovative project ideas on how to prevent pharmaceutical substances to reach the Baltic Sea environment. The conference was held in Copenhagen 15 December.
The conference brought together 60 stakeholders working on implementation with policy makers and funding instruments for knowledge exchange and policy discussions. At the conference a status report on pharmaceuticals in the Baltic Sea environment was presented.
Policy representatives from Germany, Sweden and HELCOM presented their views on recent policy developments in the field and next steps needed from a national and pan-Baltic perspective.
In an interactive project development workshop participants further developed six project proposals that will be further developed into visible transnational good quality projects which may be implemented in the Baltic Region within the coming years.
Policy Area (PA) Hazards in the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea region is working on the reduction and use of hazardous substances.