Each week, our students read articles that are relevant to what they’re learning in class and on field trips. Here, they’ve written blog posts about what they’ve learned…
Climate change + Baltic Sea = Bad
A summary by Emelie Bergström
Researchers from Stockholm University have devised a method for predicting climate change threats to the Baltic Sea. Common people should get more information about the state of the sea. According to the scientists, research about how climate change is affecting Baltic Sea has not been done in the most convenient way. Traditionally, only one type of model has been used to predict future environmental problems. For looking closer at what will happen with the marinas when the climate is changing, these researchers have been using different types of models, specified for things like water analysis at both global and regional levels. Temperature in Baltic Sea could get higher before 2020. This this should be something for governments consider serious when making future plans for the environment. Climate change has been on the agenda for years and these researchers has a new way of thinking, in the big picture, for somehow getting closer to solving problems with climate change and Baltic sea. I think that if using different models is the best way to go for researching and explaining the complexity of these problems then more scientists should follow this path. Reference: Lis Kalaugher. 2012. Climate change is bad news for Baltic Sea. Environmental research web
BONUS – 14 Baltic Sea Countries, One Program
by Ben Xu
The Baltic is a particularly susceptible system. Due to the frequent human activities, it has suffered a serious threat from 14 countries. In response to this, governments which were beset by avoiding overlaps and unexplored areas in research have taken a lot of measures for a cleaner and more sustainable environment and this fragmented research funding was odds with the need for holistic knowledge and was the reason for the first initiative to form BONUS which is still developing nowadays (Hans-Orjan, 2010). BONUS aims to integrate the Baltic Sea system research into a durable, cooperative, interdisciplinary and focused multinational program in support of the regions sustainable development (Oddsson, 2014). – by Ben Xu
Hans-Orjan, N. (2010, 12 5). Bonus for Baltic Sea research. Sustainability. Oddsson, G. (2014, 2 3). nordic-bioeconomy. Retrieved 7 17, 2015, from Norden: http://www.norden.org/en/theme/nordic-bioeconomy/bioeconomy-in-the-baltic-sea-region/realizing-bioeconomy-in-the-baltic-sea-region/current-funding-programs-in-the-baltic-sea-region/bonus-the-joint-baltic-sea-research-and-development-programme
Finland – On Its Way to Become to the New Weizhou?
by Bi Linshuang
Because of the global warming, the summer in Finland are getting longer and the temperature will rise by 2-4 degrees, and water temperature rises too. As a result, it attracts more tourists like swimmers and water sports enthusiasts. But it also faces some problems such as blue-green alage, waste and sewage from increased tourism. For tourist businessman, a longer summer season is a positive issue as it prolongs the travelling season, but whether they make a profit is to be observed.
– by Bi Linshuang
Sources: “Impacts – Climateguide.fi.” Ilmasto-opas. SYKE, 2010. Web. 20 July 2015.
Microplastics: Small particles, big problems.
by Emma Holmen
Pollutants have long troubled the Baltic sea and more recently a new problem has been found: Microplastics. These tiny particles come from industry, such as wear from car tyres and washing of clothes, because the treatment plants are unable to catch them. Researchers at the Helsinki Environment Center set out in the summer of 2013 to find the source of emissions in the Baltic from the gulf of Finland with the focus on sewage treatment plants. When in the sea, the plastic doesn’t just go away. Small fishes and mussels eat it, often mistaking it for food, where it collects in the digestive tracts. This can cause problems higher up in the food chain as the plastic contains dangerous compounds and can bind with toxins.
– by Emma Holmén
Sources: Eye on the Arctic. (2013). Microplastics – the latest threat to the Baltic. Alaska Dispatch News. file:///home/chronos/u-44f476f9a96fcc2ce10286b1c5254091429691aa/Downloads/Article_7.pdf (Hämtad 2015-07-15)
A Summary of: Hotter plankton breathe faster
by Cherry Kum
Planktons, which provide the base of the marine food web and mediate the biogeochemical cycles, play important roles of the pelagic ecosystems. A research team from Germany discovered that the rising the ocean temperatures caused by global warming might speed up the respiration of organic carbon by the plankton community more than they accelerate photosynthesis. Wohlers and her team from Kiel University have carried out a laboratory experiment to study effect of the rising seawater temperature to the spring phytoplankton bloom from Kiel Bight in the Baltic Sea. The result shows that the increase of 2-6 degree Celsius decreased the biological drawdown of dissolved inorganic carbon in the surface layer of water by up to 31%. Meanwhile, warming will cause the relatively more production of dissolved organic carbon, comparing to particulate organic carbon, which reducing the amount of particulate carbon sink to the ocean floor. The observation implies that there is a potential to reduce the transfer of primary produced organic matter to higher trophic levels (e.g. fish, shrimps). This will weaken the ocean’s biological carbon pump, and hence provide a positive feedback to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide. (Wohlers et al., 2009) This experiment provides a step towards a better understanding of the potential feedback of biological processes to climate change. However, more data are needed from areas such as polar oceans, which are sensitive to climate change, to build up a more complete Earth system model.
Reference Wohlers et al., (2009) Changes in biogenic carbon flow in response to sea surface warming Website: http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0812743106
A Clean Baltic Sea – A True Money Maker
by Märta Brunberg
Everyone has something to gain from cleaning up the Baltic Sea. Not only would we get clean water, fewer dangerous chemicals and cleaner air, the economy would also stand to prosper from a clean Baltic. Just Sweden alone would gain almost € 2,7 billion per year and 70,000 new jobs if the Baltic sea is cleaned up by the year 2030. And if you look at the whole of the Baltic region it stand to gain around halv a million new jobs and € 30 billion every year but only if the Baltic is cleaned up by the year 2030. Of course it takes money to make money, but the money the Baltic region would gain is much more than the cost of cleaning up the sea. Unfortunately, recent studies shows that this is not the way we are heading. Two of the lager problems in the Baltic Sea are becoming more severe: eutrophication and global warming. One of the clearest signs that this is happening is that the blue-green algae bloom is arriving earlier and earlier. This is a sign that we are heading in the wrong direction, towards a warmer climate with an unattractive sea full of – by Märta Brunberg
Warmer waters in the Baltic Sea mean that plankton can’t keep up
by Wei Yuan, Caroline Littlefield, Catherine Legrand
A research team from Kiel University in Germany recently demonstrated that rising ocean temperatures speed up the respiration of plankton communities more than they speed up their photosynthesis. The researchers also showed that increasing temperature enhanced bacterial degradation of the dead plankton organic matter. This indicates that the export of particulate carbon to the sea floor is reduced. Hence, less food for fish and shrimps. More respiration means more CO2 to the atmosphere, potentially worsening the impact of climate change on the ocean.
– Wei, Caroline, Catherine Sources: Kalaugher, Liz. “Hotter Plankton Breathe Faster.” Hotter Plankton Breathe Faster. Environmentalresearchweb, 20 Apr. 2009. Web. 20 July 2015.
New method for combatting Baltic dead zones – is it dead before it breathes?
by Sheng Zhang
“Dead Zones” are a tragic illustration of human beings’ negative impact on oceans. The flow of fertilizers, sewage and industrial pollutants into seas is the main cause of the bad effect. Scientists today are concerned about how to reduce nutrient inputs. However, researchers in Sweden are exploring a new method using geo-engineering to pump oxygen into the Baltic Sea. If implemented, projects will begin for building pipes and pumps. However, not everyone is convinced by the geo-engineering ideas. Professor Daniel Conley from Lund University says it can only help in a small place. The project will cost millions and several decades. Thus, some experts have negative attitudes to this project.
– Sheng Zhang
Source: Levitt, Tom. “Can Oxygen Pump Breathe Life into Ocean ‘dead Zone?’ – CNN.com.” CNN. Cable News Network, 17 July 2012. Web. 20 July 2015.
Summer Season Heats Up in Finland – Attracting Tourists but Increasing Blue-Green Algae Blooms
– by Amy Wen
When summer becomes warmer, recreation on the Baltic Sea is expected to increase.
However, the increase in extreme weather may lead to an increase in storms and floods.
On the other hand, warmer weather also increases the likelihood of longer summer tourist activities, such as swimming. However, in the future, swimming will be impeded by increased frequency of algal blooms and poorer water quality, particularly on the coast of the Gulf of Finland.
Summer is likely to increase domestic tourism, and school holidays may be longer. In environmental terms, the recreational use of the Baltic Sea may be hindered by an accelerated growth of blue-green algae. With respect to the recreational use of the Baltic Sea, eutrophication should be controlled or the blue-green algae blooms may decrease the positive effects of the warming climate.
“Impacts – Climateguide.fi.” Ilmasto-opas. SYKE, 2010. Web. 20 July 2015.
EU House Supports CO2 Emissions Draft – But Is It Enough?
by Emma Holmen
One draft about an EU law has received the support of the house. The draft proposes that shipowners who uses ports in the EU have to present their CO2 emissions every year, if the ships weigh more than 5.000 gross tons, with some exceptions. The draft will apply from 2018. All kind of ships must show their efficiency.
The draft also establishes a system to monitor, report and verify (MRV) the emission of CO2, in order to reduce the emission and fuel consumption. Maritime transport is under no measures to reduce their CO2 emissons and if nothing is done, emissions will increase 50% by 2030.Today, maritime transport already accounts for 4% of all the CO2 emissions. The draft also aims to ease the administrative burden on companies so the measurement can become as accurate as possible.
It’s good that EU is doing something but this is too soft. They give to many ships exceptions and they only push them to present their emissions, not reduce them.
European Parlament. 2015. Ships’ CO2 emissions: MEPs approve new reporting rules. [Press release].
Methanol: Fuel for the Future?
by Ben Xu
It is very interesting that methanol is now up and running in a large scale. We do this to have a safe fuel to our ships, since we sooner or later will run out of fossil fuel, but LNG didn’t meet our needs at the same time.
Methanol contains no sulfur and the NOx emission from combustion. It is highly toxic and flammable, which means we need a much more complex safety system, but the engine room is much cleaner and we hope that the engine won’t need service quite as often as regular one.
The Effship project is currently researching the possibilities of methanol as a maritime fuel. Cooperating with the engine company Wärtsilä, the project has reached far enough to run a large ferry on methanol such as Stena, the world’s third largest ferry. The challenge for the future is to produce the methanol from renewable resources in a sustainable way.
“The World’s First Methanol Driven Ferry Inaugurated.” The World’s First Methanol Driven Ferry Inaugurated. Lighthouse Swedish Maritime Competence Center, 01 Apr. 2015.Web.17July2015.<http://www.lighthouse.nu/news/032015/world%E2%80%99s-first-methanol-driven-ferry-inaugurated>.
An Important Milestone For the Baltic Sea
Ship Sewage Banned
by Bi Linshuang
Ship sewage will no longer be allowed to foul the Baltic Sea on account of the decision by International Maritime Organization (IMO). It started in 2013 for all new ships and from 2018 for all ships.
The Baltic Sea receives more than 350 cruise ship visits with over 2,100 port calls each year and the number are rapidly growing. The waste water produced in these vessels is estimated to contain 113 tons of nitrogen and 38 tons of phosphorus. The waste water also contains bacteria, viruses and other pathogens, as well as heavy metals.
The sewage causes some problems such as eutrophication. In fact, eutrophication is considered the main environmental problem of the Baltic Sea, as it causes many problems including unusually strong and frequent summertime alage blooms, including blooms of toxic cyanobacteria.
As a conclusion, I think we need to build some purification factories by the port to clean the sewage and recycle it for some other industries.
“BALTIC SEA AND SHIPS’ SEWAGE.” HELCOM. HELCOM News, 03 June 2015. Web. 17 July 2015.
“Ship Sewage Banned in Baltic Sea.” WWF. WWF, 01 Oct. 2010. Web. 17 July 2015. <http://wwf.panda.org/?195401%2FIMO-sewage-ban>.
Oil Spill Risk Factors: How Do We Assess Them Best?
by Sheng Zhang
The Gulf of Finland is one of the most heavily trafficked stretches of seawater in the world as well as one of the most accident-prone areas of the Baltic Sea. (Sakari and Paivi 2015)
It has poor navigation environment, which will lead to oil spilling. The ecosystem is also vulnerable. So safety of shipping is concerned. Regional governance framework is established and regulations for oil spilling should be made from IMO while other NGOs are focusing on it. A new expert group called the Working Group on Risks of Maritime Activities in the Baltic Sea (WGMABS) was funded for advice. One of its aims is to find out risk factors and rank risk levels. New methods like Bayesian Network can be used to solve this kind of multi-factors assessments.
Sakari, Kuikka, and Haapasaari Paivi. Feature article-Hazard awareness: managing oil spill risk in the Baltic Sea. Feb 13, 2015. http://www.ices.dk/news-and-events/news/Pages/Feature…ard-awareness—managing-risk-of-oil-spills-in-the-Baltic-Sea.aspx (accessed Jul 16, 2015).
Baltic Sea Litter: We’re All to Blame
by Wei Yuan
Marine litter is becoming a more and more important problem nowadays.
The data selected from literature couldn’t make it possible to distinguish an ascending or descending trend in relation to the amount of litter on Baltic coasts: it decreases from year to year in some areas while it increases in others.
In the Baltic Sea, short-life or single- use goods account for the majority of marine litter (most of them are plastic).
According to this article, the main socio-economic drivers identified in the Baltic Sea region include consumer activities, recreation and tourism activities, shipping and fishing operations.
Five Entities That Create Marine Litter：
- Recreation: (1) surfing (2)sailing
- Tourism: (1) sun bath (2)beach
- Shipping: passenger ships
- Fishing: broken tools such as nets and fish poles.
Extract from CleanSea Deliverable 4.10. Socioeconomic driving forces behind marine litter and barriers to GES
accessed 16 July 2015
Particles emissions matter for Maria… And should do for everyone else
– by Emelie Bergström
Maria Anderson studies the impact of particles on the environment and on humans. She found that fuel from ships not only releases carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides but also a lot of particles. This affects the water close to the harbor and humans more than previously known. Humans for example can get asthma, cancer or lung- and heart diseases as an effect of these particles.
The need for looking at particle emissions, carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides is important when developing new fuels and when making regulations about emissions. For example; even if liquefied natural gas is used for the purpose of being a better fuel for ships, it only reduces the carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides emissions and not the new particles that occur in harbors.
Maria believes that when making alternative fuels, all factors are not included and the effect of this could be worse than anyone could believe. Until all factors can be taken into consideration, owners of ships need to consider and choose what types of fuel to use and in that way decide in which way to impact the environment. I also think that new and even better fuel is needed for ships in the future. Examples of this could be sustainable energy sources from wind and water or cleaner oil. For this research is needed and it is on the way – Go Maria!
Lighthouse. 2014. Particles matter – more than previously known. Lighthouse – Swedish maritime competence centre.
Shipping is cutting CO2 emissions
by Cherry Kum
The measures set up by international governments and private sectors to maintain sustainable shipping have been introduced as very successful. These measures include slow-steaming, the trend towards larger, more fuel-efficient ships and restrictions placed by governments on ships coming into the ports.
According to the data from Drewry Maritime Research and BSR, the average ship size on the Asia-North Europe route increased by 40% from 2008 to 2013, while the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per round-voyage slot dropped by 35%. This implies that the emissions per unit of capacity must have continued to fall. However, more recent data was still not available to prove it.
The global container trade has grown by 4-5% per year, while the fuel efficiency has gained 6-8% per year. Fewer tonnes of CO2 are pumped by containerships into the atmosphere than before. Some reasons why the container shipping lines reduced the shipping pollution are as when they reduced the fuel consumption, the operation cost would be reduced at the same time. Meanwhile, to exporters and importers, lower ship consumption would reduce the freight rates and lower the carbon footprint.
The port of Los Angeles reported that the amount of diesel particulate matter and CO2 emitted to the port by shipping has decreased by 68% and 22% respectively from 2005-2010, due to restricting shipping ports.’
The international parties currently focus more on the sulphur emission, such as implementing tighter limits on sulphur emissions from ships. Yet the difficulty of introducing the measurements is that the cleaner bunker oil is more expensive than high sulphur oil to the shipping lines and shippers.
Since international shipping plays an important role to protect the environment, all parties should pay more effort on cutting the CO2 and sulphur emissions.
Drewry Maritime Research and BSR, Website: http://www.drewrysupplychains.com
The Green Wall: CO2 Shield for the Future?
by Ben Xu
This week, we have visited Cementa, a factory that produces cement in Sweden. The most interesting system I found is the “GREEN WALL”. They collect CO2 from the factory and put it into the “GREEN WALL”. There are plenty of algae in it so that it looks green. The CO2 is absorbed by algae and it produces O2, then we will put the oxygen into the melting pot. The algae in the “GREEN WALL” can be made into biogas. This system can reduce the emission of CO2. It is a kind of closed system. In Cementa, there is a wind turbine on the shore, it is really good for environment but some guys who have summer house there don’t like it because it is ugly. Cementa’s quarry provided the birds with the habitat, and it will form a wetland in the end.
We have another trip in KSRR which is a waste treatment plant. It makes bacteria in the lakes help them to clean the sewage from the factory. Then they use the treated water which is full of nutrients to water the forest. They sort the garbage to produce cement and biogas which can reduce it to 20%. They have a lot of detection points to make sure that the groundwater is safe.
It’s important to run a plant sustainably
by Bi Linshuang
This week we took trips to some local companies, like a cement company, a garbage disposal plant, and the Kalmar harbor. When we were in Cementa AB in Degerhamn, the engineer made some introductions and showed us around the plant. I noticed it’s an environmentally friendly company even though they are producing cement. There are some points. First, they have a goal that to achieve zero CO2 emissions during the lifecycle of their products by 2030. We all know that CO2 is the main reason that causes global warming, and it’s important to limit the emission of CO2. I think it’s challenging to achieve zero CO2 especially as an industrial company. Now they have windmills to run the electricity, and they are increasing the use of alternative fuels and raw materials to improve the efficiency of the production processes. Those are definitely a sustainable way.
Secondly, they have a sustainable value chain. They have a responsible raw material extraction, innovative processes and products, efficient transports, re-use and recycling. Among these I think re-use and recycling is interesting. They said” When concrete products have served their purpose, they can be crushed and re-used for many purposes, such as materials in road construction. ”And also, they use waste as fuel, I think that is a really good way to reflect re-use.
Thirdly, they have a quarry nearby, which the engineer showed us around, and it has a obviously impact on the landscape and natural environment. Studies show that properly managed quarries actually increase biodiversity since the open landscape offers both plant and animal species new opportunities in terms of new territories and less competition. And Cementa AB is promoting biodiversity in and around their quarries, which comprise a total area of 25 square kilometers. And of these, 16.6 square kilometers are adjacent to protected areas.
So, in my opinion, this is a really environmentally friendly company and it always looks for a sustainable way to develop. I think Chinese companies don’t realize that how important sustainability is, which causes many environmental problems in China. If there is a chance, I hope Chinese companies can learn how to run a plant sustainably like Cementa AB.
A Trip to KSRR
by Cherry Kum
This week I have visited Kalmarsundsregionens Renhallre (KSRR), which is a company responsible for the collection and treatment of household waste in Kalmar, Mörbylånga, Nybro, Oskarshamn and Torsås, including household waste, garden waste, sludge and latrines.
In this visit, the company has shown us its working process, such as how to collect and manage the household wastes, then turn the wastes into useful energy. For example, KSRR collects the food waste and turn it into biogas for trucks and buses, and bio-fertilizer used in agriculture. Meanwhile, the wood material wastes can be used as the fuel for generating electricity.
In my point of view, KSRR is a very successful and socially responsible company. Wastes are no longer waste in Sweden, as they have turned into useful substance in different aspects. This may maximize the usage of food and materials, and minimize the waste disposed to the environment.
There are seldom companies such as KSRR that work on sustainable development in my hometown, Hong Kong. It is mainly because Hong Kong has insufficient land and it is a business-centered city. Companies in Hong Kong aim to earn more profits, rather than considering the environmental issues. The amount of wastes in Hong Kong keeps increasing, and the Hong Kong government is planning to build a new landfill by reclamation. It is important to introduce more measures on managing the wastes in Hong Kong. Besides building a new landfill, sustainable recycling methods by KSRR may be a new solution dealing with the large amount useless wastes. It is important for us to understand how the companies can achieve sustainable development, and to work on it in the future.
Use algae as energy sources – a sustainable future
by Emelie Bergström
The Algoland project at Cementa AB Degerhamn uses algae cultivation to clean flue gas from the factory, thus cleaning the air. This research has to be done in an environmentally friendly way that at the same time is cost efficient. One goal for the project is to clean the flue gas so that it only realizes 5 % of the CO2. A reason for this is that the factory is realizing a lot of fossil fuels that contains CO2 which is bad for the environment. The future demands sustainability for the factory for surviving because companies that are both making a lot of noise and realize a lot of bad substances for the environment is not going to be accepted in the future. Substances are transported by runoffs and winds and are leading to contribute to the eutrophication in the Baltic Sea.
I was surprised to learn that algae can be used as a resource for energy (ex for food & fertilizers) and many algae actually can survive without almost any sunlight. This is what Algoland is trying to achieve.
Algoland is growing algae and feeding them with nutrients, taking samples from them and taking care of them. The samples are then taken to lab and are analyzed for research. They want to find out if the algae are free from heavy metals and CO2 and if so the research is going at the right direction.
Energy from algae is definitely the future for a sustainable environment!
KSRR- Our waste, their gain
Water that comes from a landfill is called leachate and is mostly rain which has been running through the landfill. This water does not end up in the nature, KSRR makes sure that it ends up in ponds. In the ponds are bacteria that turn Ammonium (NH4+) to Nitrate and Nitrite (NOx), other bacteria turn the Nitrate and Nitrite to Nitrogen gas (N2) which is realized into the air. The level of Nitrogen in the ponds is regularly checked. Water from paved surface is called stormwater and is being lead out to the Baltic Sea. The Methane gas that is formed in landfills is set on fire or used to heat houses in the area.
Water from carwashes and other sources that may contain oil are first separated by oil separators at the companies. This separator however is quite bad so the water must be cleansed again. KSRR does this by putting the water in a pit where it lays for a while. The oil will then fall to the bottom as sediment and the water becomes clean.
Domestic waste is being sent to Cementa for burning but it is important to remove the hard plastic, because it contains too much chlorine. Wood that is untreated it being sent to the local power plant to produce warmth and electricity.
Organic material is being stored as compost on facility of KSRR and it is important to turn it when the temperature of 70oC is reached, otherwise the compost can caught fire.
To take care of our garbage in a sustainable way is very important for a sustainable society. So a lot of weight lies on the garbage company’s shoulders.
Reuse, Reduce, Recycle
by Sheng Zhang
On Monday, we visited a heavy industry company Cementa, which produces cement. Cementa has a long history of mining limestone and cement production. It has a systematic strategy of emission reduction. It has an ambition to make no CO2 emission by around 2050. The ambition is split into several steps for short year aims. Now they are building wind turbines to replace part of the traditional energy like coal or fossil fuels, as well as doing an experiment of algae to absorb CO2 from burning of CaCO3.
Unfortunately, building wind turbines faces a lot of obstacles. As we know, companies are often constrained by local residents. Some local people think wind turbines are ugly. They have the right to restrict company to do want they want to. So the usage of algae seems like an important solution.
As some of us may know that to produce cement, we need to control the right ratio of chemical mixture and control the suitable temperature. The decomposing of CaCO3 makes a lot of CO2. The facility of algae tank absorbs approximately 5% of the CO2 produced by the daily work. It is several lines of plastic bags in a snake shape in order to make algae contact the sunshine in a large area for better photosynthesis. How to clean the dead algae attached on the plastic bags is still a problem that needs to be solved. How to use the water pulled out is also discussed for a sustainable way.
In Tuesday, we visited the garbage institution KSRR. It gathers all the rubbish from Kalmar and some place nearby. The main area of it contains two filling place, one dangerous rubbish filling place several independent pools for sewage or rubbish water. The dangerous rubbish area is established since the awareness of the harm of batteries, heavy metals and so on in 1980’s. Rubbish is selected into categories by people’s awareness and responsibility in Kalmar. Big magnet depart metal from other rubbish. Some rubbish can be sent to Cementa for reproduction. That’s a very sustainable way of rubbish. We can see large amount of birds on the rubbish hills, which shows the good harmony of the environment. The water system is design carefully to avoid pollute the underground water. The pools are surrounded by reeds for gathering heavy metal elements. Bacteria in the pools produce CH4 and are bubbling in the center of the pools.
Creating Natural Habitats in an Industrial World
by Wei Yuan
This week, we have visited two factories. One is a cement factory; the other one is a tip.
First, the most interesting thing in the cement factory I saw is “Green Wall”. They use green algae to reduce the carbon dioxide in the fuel gas from the factory. Why they do it, they must think of their own future, if not the factory will close down and many people may lose their job. So they take some steps. For example, they destroyed the environment to dick stones; as a result many birds lost their habitats. But now the factory creates a big habitat for birds and stones very slowly.
Second, I think making biogas by food in the is a very good way. The tip gathers waste food by garbage classification. As we know garbage classification is very popular in Sweden. The tip also uses abandoned wood to generate electricity. Cyclic utilization is a good way for sustainability.
Wetland Restoration —-the kidney of the earth
by Wei Yuan
In recent years, people pay more and more attention to the environment which has been destroyed past few centuries. They start to search some ways to restore the environment, one part of them is wetland restoration. Some problems we need to face with such as the decrease of wetlands, and we should try our best to solve the problems for wetlands’ importance.
lack of education, decrease of wetlands, animals’ habitats, law, restore, environment
Any way to protect or restore the environment is not easy, including wetland restoration. Using wetlands to restore the environment is very mature in the west, but in other areas it isn’t realized by most people. For example, China’s first nature reserve was established in 1956 , and the first international one was in 1872 , and 84 years later ; for wetland protection , European and American countries have started earlier. They began to wetland protection in the 1950s, it is from China after the 1990s , about 40 years behind Europe and America. But after 1992, joining the Convention on Wetlands, China has also established a number of wetland nature reserves and wetlands. So the problem is lack of technology and education. Another one is the decrease of wetlands. Wetlands have been drained, filled in, plowed over and paved to make room for agriculture, recreation and businesses across the nation during the past two centuries. China has a wetland area of more than 6,600 million hectares, accounting for about 10% of the world’s wetlands, ranking first in Asia and fourth in the world. But after the reform and opening-up, wetlands area sharply reduced due to the irrational use and destruction of wetlands. By the mid-1990s, more than 50 percent of coastal beaches disappeared, nearly 1000 natural lakes demise, 78% of natural wetlands in Sanjiang Plain loss. And in China, most wetlands are man-made, it means we destroyed them first and then rebuilt them.
So why should we care about the wetland restoration. First, for wetlands’ most necessary function—productivity. Wetlands cover less than ten percent of the earth’s surface but are the source of almost one-quarter of the world’s productivity. For example, wetland can product O2 very effectively, so it is also called “the kidney of the earth”. Second, wetlands contribute to the national and local economies by producing resources, enabling recreational activities and providing other benefits, such as pollution control, flood protection. Wetland function in hydrology of wetlands as a major source of groundwater recharge or discharge ground; wetlands flood regulation and storage; Wetlands slow the flow of storm erosion. The latter two functions, also known as flood protection functions of wetlands. Wetlands flood regulation and storage function is one of the main wetland values. Any river communicating with wetlands generally has the function, including the accumulation of flood, flood mitigation velocity, peak reduction, extended flow time. (吴炳方，黄进良，沈良标, 2000)And pollution control is another important function for economy. By the end of 1996 Colombian Coffee Growers Union (FEDERACAFE) built plantations wetland sewage treatment demonstration project at Fundacion Manuel Mejia training center. The project was designed by the University of Portsmouth, the results show that the project for the soluble COD and BOD have a strong ability to remove. The removal rate of SS is up to 85% of the total, phosphorus removal rate was 74.1%.In 1995 Czartoski proposed wetland water underground irrigation system(WRSIS) new concepts to reduce agricultural nonpoint source pollution. Wetland water underground irrigation systems and surface water drainage systems slope farm overflow directed to construct an artificial wetland treatment, wetland water reservoir in the presence of, for irrigation. WRSIS is a closed system, since its zero-emission, the regional surface water quality improvement giant big impact. Peterjohn and Correll’s findings show, 50 m wide coastal wetland vegetation buffer strips can reduce surface water 89% nitrogen and 80% phosphorus. Brazil Engenho wetlands phosphorus, nitrates and ammonia removal, respectively, 93%, 78% and 50%. (晁雷，王雪非，郭宝东，代秀兰，陈苏)
Last reason but not least, wetlands are the animals’ habitats. The destruction of wetlands is a concern because they are some of the most productive habitats on the planet. They often support high concentrations of animals—including mammals, birds, fish and invertebrates—and serve as nurseries for many of these species. Wetlands’ complex and diverse plant communities provides wildlife, especially some rare and endangere0d wild animals a good habitat, it’s a good place for birds to breed, habitat and migratory. Because plants overgrown marsh environment provide birds a rich source of food and nesting, a good condition to avoid the enemy.Year-round habitat and haunted wetland birds swans, white storks, pelicans, geese, egrets, eagles, floating gulls, herring gulls, terns, reed warbler, swept about 200 kinds of birds.
For governments, they should introduce policies to protect wetlands. Legislation is very important. For example in USA, “coastal wetland protection law” encourages states to establish their own coastal management plan, which must be listed enforceable decision to protect coastal resources and an environment conducive to the development of standards. The federal government to the state government that both the coordination of funds to implement these plans in order to ensure management focus on coastal wetlands. England early focus on the management of the wetland nature reserve, they promulgated the “National Parks and Rural Recycling Law” in 1949, the most unique contents of it is establishing “area of special scientific significance” in the nature reserve including the wetland. And set up a special agency responsible for nature reserve management. In China, government gets start to do it, and January 13, 2014, Chinese government put wetland conservation work into party committees and governments at all levels of performance evaluation. (吴志刚)
For personal, dirty factories should think of their future. It’s time for them to slow down their footstep and restore the environment. For example, Heidelberg-Cement, a big cement plant in Oland, destroyed the environment to get stone past few years, but now they dig stone very slowly and create some wetlands to restore the environment.
For most people lacking of education that they do not realize the importance of wetlands, we need to strengthen the primary education, what’s more, advertisement is a good way to let people receive something.
For decrease of wetlands, governments introduces policies or laws to protect wetlands.
Wetlands play a important role in environment restoration.
http://baike.baidu.com/subview/7363/7329715.htm. Accessed August 9, 2015
http://baike.baidu.com/view/2671914.htm. Accessed August 9, 2015
吴炳方，黄进良，沈良标. (2000).《 湿地的防洪功能分析评价》.
https://www.worldwildlife.org/habitats/wetlands Accessed August 9, 2015
http://water.epa.gov/type/wetlands/nature.cfm Accessed August 9, 2015
http://water.epa.gov/type/wetlands/outreach/upload/fun_val_pr.pdf Accessed August 9, 2015
https://water.usgs.gov/nwsum/WSP2425/restoration.html Accessed August 9, 2015
http://www.msnucleus.org/watersheds/what_is_restoration.htm Accessed August 9, 2015
A Harsh Environment for the Wetlands
by Ben Xu
As the global climate change is becoming more and more serious, the degradation of wetland has exposed a lot of problems. The wetland has cleaned up the waste water, and is also facing the increasingly worse environment such as global warming. In view of the existing problems in the wetlands, I have some thought about the solutions.
Key words: Wetlands, Heat preservation, Wetland network, Energy Forest, alien species, Global warming.
With the development of high speed, we have caused a series of environmental problems. Wetlands are also facing tremendous pressure. Wetlands as a wastewater eco-treatment technology are developed in recent decades. It combines sewage treatment with the eco-environment in an efficient way. It treats the sewage effectively, and meanwhile beautifies the environment, creates ecological landscape，and brings benefits to the environment and economics．During the 21st century, economic development, urbanization and global climate change have caused the degradation of wetlands．
Impact of bad environment on Wetland
1.1 The cold weather
Wetlands are influenced by the climate temperature, the plants and microorganisms in constructed wetland are very sensitive to the temperature.
If the temperature is under 4℃, the Nitrification will stop, and the microbial activity can be reduced by the low temperature and oxygen content (黄锦楼, 2013). Nitrification is the biological oxidation of ammonia or ammonium to nitrite followed by the oxidation of the nitrite to nitrate. The transformation of ammonia to nitrite is usually the rate limiting step of nitrification. Nitrification is an important step in the nitrogen cycle in soil. Nitrification is an aerobic process performed by small groups of autotrophic bacteria and archaea (Nitrification). In winter, plants will die and the wetland loses the protective layer. The bacteria will face to the cold weather. When the temperature drops below 8 and 8℃, the activity of microorganism is greatly reduced, and the denitrification rate drops to about 16%. (聂卓娜, 2005)
This is one of the reasons for restricting the population and application of artificial wetland in cold regions.
1.2 Plant diseases & pests & alien species
The plant will attack by pest or diseases. Plants can absorb some nitrogen , phosphorus and toxic substances. They also can transport oxygen to the root, that is really good for the growth of bacteria, that is, plants play a important role in wetland. The wetland will lose function without plants, but the plants are also big problem in wetland like alien species.
In the wetland ecosystem, because of the invasion of alien species, the phenomenon of endangered species and the extinction of the species is particularly evident. In Chongming island, Shanghai, we used Spartina alterniflora, a kind of plants which came from America ,to make sand together. In the 1920s, due to the lack of natural enemies, mutual meters flowers has become the absolute hegemony of the Chongming beach. The aquaculture is a deadly wound, because of the lacking of food, and the fracture of the food chain has a direct impact on birds which eat small fish. It is a big challenge for us to use plants but keep everything well at the same time.
1.3 Global warming and acid rain
Global warming and acid rain are big problem. In China, the temperature increase 3-4°C, the aquatic plants in wetland will be reduced by 70-80%. The wetland is extremely sensitive to global warming. In Sweden, it will cause much rain here, maybe acid rain. The acid rain increases eutrophication, because it adds N, P into the water. It destroys the energy cycling and material flowing.
Organic carbon stored in the wetland soil accounts for about 20% to 25% of the global carbon storage (E., 1995). Because of the characteristics of water in the wetland ecosystem, the microbial activity is relatively weak, the plant residue decomposition and carbon release process is very slow, and then form a rich organic wetland soil and peat layer. The loss of organic carbon in the subsurface is much higher than that of the current estimates due to the warming of the climate (栾军伟, 2012). The change of water level in the short term mainly changes the physical and chemical processes of wetland ecosystems, which affect the carbon cycle process. In the long-term, The change of climate and water level will indirectly affect the production and emissions of greenhouse gases by changing the structure of plant and microbial community .All in all, Global warming will greatly affect the wetland ecosystem.
1.4 The surroundings & the design
Wetlands can transform toxins and retain nutrients, we use them to clean our used water. It adds nutrients into the wetlands, but also increases the burden of the wetlands. Phosphorus pollution from agricultural fertilization is a key factor for the degradation of the wetlands (韩大勇, 2012). The water from agriculture really did harm to the wetlands, but if we let it flow into the sea, there were more eutrophication which we don’t want.
The mechanism and characteristics of artificial wetland purification determined that it needs a large area of land, so we need a proper design for the wetland. In Sweden, the shape of the wetland is like a “S”. It has a longer distance so that we can clean water completely. But the erosion of water will leave the toxic substance in the soil like the bend areas of wetlands, it will destroy the system of the wetland and kill plants and microbes.
Urban activities will lead to a higher temperature than the surrounding suburbs, the heat island effect, affecting the city and the surrounding areas of the climate. It will destroy the river and discharge more pollutants .At the same time, the sewage treatment in wetlands need to take up more space. (黄锦楼, 2013) Urbanization led to the degradation of wetlands
2.1 Heat preservation & changing the type of wetlands.
In China, we harvest the plants from the wetlands then use them to cover the wetlands, but the decay will release pollutants, so we need clean it next spring. In Sweden, we use the plants to make biogas, so we need find another way to protect the wetland in winter. In Sweden, the light in winter is short. We need to add the light source when we change into evergreen plants. Photosynthesis is very important for plants. Plants will die if there is no light.
I found there are plenty of the wetlands in Kalamar. Those are kinds of wetlands have water on the surface. That is why there are lots of mosquitoes in summer. We can use gravel or sands to cover the water. It can keep the temperature in the winter and kill mosquitoes when they are young in the water. This kind of system is underground, sewage will be pretreated. We use some artificial media to clean the water. Plants will absorb the nutrients and the pollutants will be decomposed in the special media. Then we collect the water to have a detection. We also have isolation layer at the bottom of system.
We also can change the plants in the wetlands, we can use the species which can stand about the cold weather. But we must need to be careful about the alien species.
2.2 Integrated culture & Habitat
I don’t think it’s easy to introduce exotic species, even though it’s prefect. We need to avoid inadvertent introduction of dangerous alien species and use the local species as far as possible
There are lots of species in wetland, but the species diversity of man-made wetland is very low. Single species is very vulnerable. Multiple plants can effectively prevent the attack by pests. Different plants have different functions, some can absorb nitrogen , phosphorus and some can absorb toxic substances. Those are win-win cooperation.
Wetlands are best wildlife habitats. Fortunately, there are lots of birds in Sweden, they can effectively reduce the number of pests. But the situation is different in china, the locusts will eat everything. On the contrary, we use the wetlands to kill the locusts. The larva will live in the soil, so we make a new wetland to drown them. It works well, but this is just a special case. Wetlands rely on the animals which live there. That is also a kind of win-win cooperation, we need protect the animals, so as to protect the wetland.
2.3 To be Green & Have a good design-” wetland network “
People made the old quarry became a wetland, like Cementa’s quarry. It also become a great habitat for birds. This is a sustainable way. We need We need more policy and education about this. In China, people suffer from the heat, typhoon or flood in summer, and storm in winter. The influence of the Global warming is very obvious. Everyone feels it and worries about it. But there is really different in Sweden, we have a warm summer here, and everyone likes sunshine. Different regions have different climate and environment, we need to treat it differently. We can’t use other successful examples directly. We also need to reduce carbon emissions, to achieve the purpose of reducing acid rain. There is a long way we have to go in the future.
We also have some program in China about agriculture. Agricultural water, which is rich in nutrients, is harmful to the environment. We want to have a system, which can let it be recycled, and the water is only for agriculture. We do not discharge it any more. We make a special wetland which is only for cleaning the agriculture water. We can cultivate plants which absorb a large amount of nitrogen and phosphorus in the wetland.
Inspired by the program, we can have a special purpose for each wetland. Then we build a huge wetland network. We can set the sampling points in each wetland to check whether each wetland is up to standard or contaminated. We’ll have the monthly data for comparison, so we can get the maximum and the optimum purification. we just need to keep the optimum purification. We have to collect the water after the wetland clean it. We could have a small wetland in the end of our network and test the water. If it doesn’t meet the discharge standard, we could bring it back into the cycle.
2.4 “Energy Forest”
We can plant some terrestrial plants to absorb the substance near the wetland. We call it “Energy Forest”. Water carries nutrients and toxic substances into the soil. If we don’t clean them up in time, it will form a new source of pollution. But the nutrients will make our “Energy Forest” grow well and fast, and “Energy Forest” will transform the toxic substances in the end.
Both “Energy Forest” and wetlands can keep water. When the water evaporates into vapor, it will fall to the surrounding areas. The temperature will fall, they can change the climate in this way. I think wetland is an effective way to slow down the greenhouse effect.
It can also bring economic effects, Its super regeneration ability has created a high yield of wood. We don’t have to worry about destroying the “Energy Forest”, because we have a new forest in second years.
2.5 Protect & Develop
We need to protect the existing wetlands and build new wetlands, as many countries do. The destruction we have caused in the past have to repair in future. We need international law to the wetland. That can ensure the stable and healthy development of wetlands. We need to leave more space for the wetland. In China, there have been policy called ” returning farmland to forests”. We have noticed the value of wetlands.
Wetlands have a lot of functions, for instance, it can clean the water and provide available resources. Of course, there are much more than that. We can say a bunch of good words about wetlands. But in fact, we only value and use its economic value. We use it too much and destroy it. Wetlands have to face the global warming we have to face, we live in the same world. We need to protect them in a sustainable way. We can’t just be confined to clean water. We can have wetland tourism, but we have to get rid of the bad smell.
We should have a correct wetland system. We should have the right way to keep the light time and temperature. We need to make it informative and real-time monitoring. We could have a big wetland network to clean the water. We need more wetland.
E.Gorham. (1995). The Biogeochemistry of Northern Peatlands and Its. G M, MacKenzie F T., 页 169-187.
Friedlingstein PP, Betts R, et al.Cox. (2006). Climate-carbon Cycle Feedback Analysis: Results from the C4MIP Model Intercomparison. Journal of Climate.
Nitrification. (无日期). 检索来源: WIKIPEDIA: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrification
韩大勇. (2012年2月). 湿地退化研究进展. 生态学报, 页 31-32.
黄锦楼. (2013年1月). 人工湿地在应用中存在的问题及解决措施. 环境科学, 页 402.
栾军伟. (2012年6月). 国外湿地生态系统碳循环研究进展. 湿地科学, 页 235-241.
聂卓娜. (2005). 低温、低碳源对同时硝化反硝化污水生物处理系统的影响研究. 环境科学.
Garbage, a problem demanding prompt solution in China
By Bi Linshuang
My topic is garbage. Those are about, garbage classification, garbage disposal, garbage reuse and recycle. I’m going to talk about current situation in China, in Shanghai,and in Sweden. Then explain why garbage disposal is important and give my own opinion about how to deal with it.
Garbage problem now is a serious problem in China. The research shows that the stock of the garbage is more than 8 billion and the volume of garbage is growing at 5% each year (1.).In some economically underdeveloped areas, garbage is air stacked. So it pollutes the air,soil,and the water heavily. Till 2006,there are 467 garbage disposal plants, which disposal 85,670,000 tons each year;372 landfills, which bury 71,030,000 tons each year;69 incineration plants, which burn 11,380,000 tons each year, and 26 compost plants,which disposal 3,260,000 tons each year.(8.)(It’s the data 10 years ago but I can’t find the recent comprehensive data so I just put the old one. And I cant find the actual number how much electricity that garbage produce each year in China.)I’d like to focus more on the incineration plant because I’ll talk about more about it later. The first incineration plant was set up in Shenzheng in 1988.And,there are about 140 incineration plants in China now.
The current situation in Shanghai is that Shanghai has 6 garbage disposal plants, including 3 landfills, which disposal 6,400 tons of garbage each day,2 incineration plants which disposal 2,000 tons each day, and 1 biochemical treatment plant which disposal 1,000 tons each day(2.).
I’d like to talk something about the 2 incineration plants. One is Jiangqiao garbage incineration plant(3.), another is Yuqiao garbage incineration plant(4.).They are facing with their own problems.Jiangqiao garbage incineration plant’s actual daily capacity is the highest in China which disposals about 1500 tons of garbage each day and generating 180 million kilowatt each year. But because of the commercial development around the plant, its presence has an impact on more people and also brings negative impact to this area.Yuqiao garbage incineration plant disposal about 1000 tons and generating 350,000 kilowatt each day. This plant uses an advanced technique to deal with the waste drainage and reuse it for irrigation or cleaning. Although they both have bad smell and impact the residents around but they are all control the emission of dioxin which known as a toxic and harmful substances to human beings. And around China, the incineration plants are all facing the situation that people are take a contradictory attitude to them. People want incineration plant to disposal the garbage as long as them won’t set up in their neighborhood because people are worry about the emissions from the plant could do harm to their health.
I think they need a sustainable way to get a balance between garbag disposal and the citizens. And garbage classification is a good and also a necessary way.
Shanghai tried out garbage classification in 1996.But so far the collection and transportation system is not complete. Now the situation is that garbage are classifiable collecting but in order to reduce the volume,haulagemen remix all the garbage and compact the, and do the transportation .So in this case, garbage classification makes no sense.
That’s why we care about garbage, it’s a problem demanding prompt solution. Let’s do some comparison between China and Sweden.
In Sweden, less than one percent of Sweden’s household waste ends up in a rubbish dump. The rest is recycled in different ways. There some facts about waste in Sweden. In 2012, 2,270,000 tons of household waste was burnt, and that way turned into energy. The first incineration plant was set up in Stockholm in 1904.The 32 plants in Sweden today produce heat for 810,000 households and electricity for 250,000 private houses.Heavy metal emissions have been reduced by 99 percent since 1985,even though Sweden emits three times more waste today. In this case, Sweden is one of the world leaders.(5.)And it’s also a good model that China could learn from.
During this month in Sweden, I noticed the complete garbage classification system here. In the dormitory’s living room, there is a cabinet for garbage classification. And also, there are many in school, too
And, where are the garbage going to? My teacher told me that in school, the clean lady takes these classified garbage to the specific garbage can. How about ordinary people? What do they do about the garbage? Do they have a cabinet at home? The answer is yes. People do garbage classification at home and, take them to the garbage can, and then they are transported to the garbage disposal plant. I went to the garbage can to have a look and we also had a tour to the garbage disposal plant KSRR in Moskogen.
In KSRR,we saw how garbage are stacked to be disposaled.They have a complete chain called Project MOSA to deal with the garbage, for those recyclable they reuse them, for those unrecyclable they use it as fuel for the Cementa AB in Degerhamn.I think it’s a very sunstainable way to let garbage be reused.
So why is garbage classification so important? In my opinion, garbage classification is the foundation to reuse the garbage. And it will make garbage disposal more easier.2.The Importance of Garbage Classification
Let’s see how Swedish people do this. They separate their newspapers, plastic, metal, glass, electric appliances, light bulbs and batteries. And many municipalities also encourage to separate food waste. And all of this is reused, recycled or composted. What’s going on then? Newspapers are turned into paper mass, bottles are reused or melted into new items, plastic containers become plastic raw material; food is composted and becomes soil or biogas through a complex chemical process. Rubbish trucks are often run on recycled electivity or biogas. Wasted water is purified to the extent of being potable.(7.)In Sweden,50% of the household waste is burnt to produce energy at incineration plants. Waste is a relatively cheap and clean fuel and Sweden developed a large capacity and skill in efficient and profitable waste treatment. Sweden even imports 700,000 tons of waste from other countries. After burning, there are 15 percent of the weights before left. From the ashes, metals are separated and recycled, and the rest, such as porcelain and tile, which do not burn is sifted to extract gravel that is used in road construction. At last, about 1percent still remains and is deposited in rubbish dumps. The integral system and proven technique make garbage reuse and recycle possible and efficient.
- How Can We Solve The Problem?
So, what can Chinese government do about the garbage problem? And as a ordinary citizen, what can we do?
First, I think government should make a complete policy for the garbage chain, to guide enterprise and plant how to disposal garbage well. And also limit the maximum emission of the waste gas. Waste management systems must be developed with practical economic sustainability in mind. In other words, waste management should not become a target for regular public subsidies, but instead valorize the economic value of waste in the first place and burden the polluters with the cost of waste management.
Secondly, carry out environmental education in primary and secondary schools to make the new generation well educated in the importance about garbage classification and teach them how to classify garbage. If people are taught how to classify the garbage in their childhood,and it will become a habit to do so.When they grow up,they will teach their own child how to do it.So it will form a good general mood of society.
Thirdly, media should use more public service advertising to broadcast and popularize the knowledge about garbage classification.t A research shows that in China, among the citizens, only 9.4% know the concept of recyclable waste and unrecyclable waste clearly, 57.9% just hear about it, and 32.7% don’t know it at all.(6.)It’s thus clear that advertise garbage classification is extremely urgent.
Fourthly, I think the cooperation between enterprises should be strengthened. That is, garbage plant uses waste to produce biogas and fuel to support the industry such as the model of Cementa AB and KSRR. And municipal corporation and construction company could use those unburned, unrecyclable waste in road construction.
Fifthly, as ordinary citizens, we can do better in our normal life. Such as do garbage classification conscientiously. But if the whole society is in this good ethos, then the efforts of everyone will be more meaningful. So I think government plays a important role in it and I hope Chinese government can realize the importance of those garbage problems and make some policies as soon as possible.
In general, garbage is a big problem in China, and we have lots of model such as Sweden could learn from. I believe Chinese people could do better in the future and the new generation will learn how to do garbage classification, and I hope government could do something to improve the current situation. At last, I can’t find the official website of Jiangqiao and Yuqiao incineration plants, I don’t understand why, but I hope the company will make the information more transparent in the future.
Passenger ships are bad guys for the Baltic Sea and sustainability
– what can they do about their sewage waste?
Emelie Bergström 2015-08-12
Photo: Emelie Bergström
Passenger ships are important for tourism and make the economy grow for both cities and companies, but it also has a dark side – it is not sustainable. Ships are releasing sewage, oil spills and nutrients into the Baltic Sea which lead to eutrophication. For preventing sewage waste in the sea some legislation is made but more are needed. New laws that are supposed to prevent sewage waste in the sea are constantly postponed. Today there are some ports around the Baltic Sea that provides with facilities to take care of sewage from ships, but some of them are having problems with dealing with waste that are not controlled at ships. One of the most important findings is that there are many ship companies that do not want to deal with their waste and are leaving it out in the ocean instead. A conclusion here is that costumers and societies should get more information about passenger ships that are working for sustainability and the ones that don’t. For sustainability it should be legislated that all ship companies should be forced to hand in their waste at ports around the Baltic Sea and all ports need to provide facilities that can take care of sewage waste.
The aim of this study is to explore the issues with sewage for passenger ships in the Baltic Sea and what is needed for achieving sustainability.
Questions at issue
– What are the problems with sewage waste?
– How can passenger ships achieve sustainability?
– Which role are ports playing?
Bernes (2005) is pointing out the fact that Baltic Sea is one of the most trafficked seas in the world – 15 % of all ships are traveling in the Baltic Sea. This makes the sea very exposed to emissions, sewage, litter waste and oil spills. Today, ships are releasing emissions of CO2, nitrogen oxides, sewage waste oil pollutions and heavy metals which is affecting the Baltic Sea by eutrophication, low oxygen and toxic sediments. This leads to high mortality of birds and damaged habitats in the sea. The Baltic Sea has also a low residence time which means that the condition of the water does not change often because the water is not replaced for approximately 30 years. This leads to all sewage, oil spills and nutrients will, in the long run, end up in the sediment and will have an impact on the environment (Bernes, 2005).
Hopwood, Mellor & O’Brien (2005) are defining sustainable development as a link between environmental issues with socio-economic issues. Sustainable development was first stated by the UN in the Brundtland report where it was defined as future generation should not be affected by present generations living. As well as socio-economic factors and the environment are linked should it be considered as a regionally, nationally and globally responsibility because it all effects each other. One example of this is pollutions that will affect not only the country that are polluting but also other countries.
Passenger ships – Environmental aspects and legislations
As stated above, the Baltic Sea is a busy sea. According to Helcom (2015) there were 79 international cruise ships traveling in the year of 2014 and more than 50 % were able to bring over 4000 passengers. This led to a lot of sewage waste which demands facilities at harbors to take care of (Helcom, 2015) and ships to have systems for making it easier to hand in (Helcom, 2013). For be able to reduce problems that are linked with passenger ships something needs to be done in a sustainable way. Kern (2011) explains that because Baltic Sea is connected with different countries with water drainage basins that lead to the sea, and with even more countries affecting it, regional governance is needed for sustainability. That is why HELCOM was founded, a finish regional governance system, as first to work with sustainability in the Baltic Sea. After that there were a number of different organizations to work for a sustainable sea (Kern, 2011). One of the organizations that are working with legislations for ships and pollution in the Baltic Sea is the United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO) (WWF, 2010).
A consequence of sewage waste is that it leads to poor water quality for both humans and the environment with more nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) that lead to eutrophication of the sea (Helcom, 2013). Helcom (2013) mentions that there are waste systems for ships for dealing with sewage but it is not used by everyone. This could lead to problems with high levels of Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S); high levels of H2S are problematic as it can cause odour, health risks, and corrosion in pipelines and reduced efficiency of treatment plants (Helcom, 2013). The Ports of harbors can decide by themselves if they have what it takes to provide with facilities for all types of sewage but there are some guidelines and directives for passenger ships to follow (Helcom, 2013). The European Union (European Parliament, 2015) is now, for example, working on a legislation for ships that are over 5 000 tons to report their emissions to the ports within the EU and this legislation is expected to be taken into action within the year of 2018. However there are some exceptions, for example warships and fishing ships, but passenger ships are included, and the legislation has been postponed (European Parliament, 2015).
The busiest ports in the Baltic Sea at 2014 were the ports of Helsinki, Stockholm, St. Petersburg, Copenhagen and Tallinn. Sewage from passenger ships contains a mix of urinal and fecal waste (black water), dishwater and water from showering (grey water), but also sometimes oil and chlorine. If the sewage contains oil and chlorine it is hard and often more expensive for the ports to take care of it because it is classified as industrial waste (Helcom, 2013). Examples of harbors in the Baltic Sea that takes care of sewage waste are Stockholm’s port where the fee ships pay includes taking care of the waste, Klaipeda were the ships don’t have to pay any fee and Riga that offer to take care of sewage if ships pay per m3 of sewage (Helcom, 2015). At 2010 the ports of St Petersburn, Tallin, Riga, Klaipeda, Gdansk, Rostock and Copenhagen still lack port facilities that meet the demand of the cruise industry (WWF, 2010). In 2014 (WWF, 2014) some of the ports had solved this but for a few ports there were still no information about facilities and for others it was only possible to discharge an certain amount of sewage.
One of the biggest problems with sewage waste is that it is actually not handed in to the ports but left out at sea without anyone noticing, except from the environment (O’Connor, 2013). When it has been noticed that ships left sewage at sea they have been fined with millions of dollars but this is rare because Coast Gard supervisors don’t control what is released out at sea (O’Connor, 2013). Another problem with this is that even if ports can provide facilities, and even if it is illegal to discard sewage waste to the sea in some areas, it is still legal to discard it out at sea where there are no country boarders (WWF, 2013).
The World Wildlife Foundation did a research to see how many cruise ships, traveling in the Baltic Sea, could guaranty that they took care of their sewage waste and the report showed that not many ships did. WWF (2015) also showed that there were few ships that wanted to take this into consideration. Because of the sewage waste UN decided to make a legislation that will take action in 2019 were all passenger ships has to take care of their sewage. This has been an ongoing debate for years because cruise ship companies are resisting – even though passengers actually would prefer ships that not contaminates the sea with their sewage (WWF, 2015).
Passenger ships – Economic and social aspects
When it comes to sustainability, for passenger ships, social and economic aspects are linked. An example of this is passenger ships that travel between the island Gotland and the mainland of Sweden. One of the biggest ships that are traveling takes up to 1500 passengers (Rikstrafiken, 2010). Because ships are the only way of traveling for both tourists and locals it is an important factor for the economy of the city. It also makes it possible for people to travel with their cars and is now the only way for transporting cars over the Baltic Sea. The city constantly needs to considerate the economic factors with the environmental aspects. Tourists contribute to the economic growth by staying at the island and using the facilities that are offered. The harbor is used not only for passengers but to load and unload gods which is important for the city (Rikstrafiken, 2010).
Cruise ships are another type of passenger ships and Hultberg (2014) mentions the important role they are playing for societies. They make the economy grow for cities by increasing job opportunities and tourist interests. Number of tourists traveling by cruises has been developed since 1980 which has led to a growing economy for companies (Johnson, 2002). As mentioned before, this has also led to high amount of sewage in the Baltic Sea (WWF, 2015). When making legislations about sewage waste it leads to that someone has to pay for it. Because sewage waste often contains a mix of different substances and sometimes is classified as industrial waste instead of sewage waste it becomes more expensive for the municipality and ports to take care of the waste (Helcom, 2013).
What is done by ship companies today?
According to Ahlström, Moriera de Macedo & Fernandes (2014) Birka Cruises are one of the biggest cruise ship companies that are traveling in the Baltic Sea. The environmental manager of the company Birka Cruises the company has in an interview mentioned that the company is leaving their sewage and waste material at Stockholm harbor and that nothing is released into the sea. The year of 2015 legislation will be taken into action that demand ships to reduce their sulfur emissions which the environmental manager for Birka Cruises are referring to as an expensive cost which could lead to a higher cost of traveling for passengers (Ahlström, Moriera de Macedo & Fernandes, 2014).
Stena Line, which is one of the biggest ship companies traveling in the Baltic Sea, has now changed their fuel in one of their ships into methanol which according to Båtliv (2015) is an environmental friendly fuel. The ship is called Stena Germanica and is the first and biggest ship in the world driven by methanol fuel. It is used to reduce the emissions from CO2, sulfur and particles (by 99%) and is a step towards sustainability (Båtliv, 2015). In one of Stena Line’s reports from 2014 you can read that they have approximately 11 million of passengers per year (Stena AB, 2014). For achieving sustainability in all aspects they are cooperating and supporting different companies and one of them is the Ocean Health Index that are doing research about the world’s oceans (Stena AB, 2014). In their report there was nothing mentioned about sewage waste, but even it is today legal to release black water out at sea (outside country boarders), when there are ports with facilities for sewage Stena Line are using them (Stena Line, 2015).
Tallink Silja mentioned in an interview that they are only leaving their sewage at Stockholm’s harbor because they think that Sweden has the greatest treatment plant (Ahlström, Moriera de Macedo & Fernandes, 2014). Ahlström, Moriera de Macedo & Fernandes (2014) are also noting that because sewage has been released into the Baltic Sea for 15 years it is an important factor, and that is why Tallink Silja has made an environmental policy regarding their sewage waste.
Because of the Baltic Sea is a fragile sea but in the same time trafficked with a lot of ships it is important to adopt regulations and establish legislations. When ships are releasing sewage waste into the sea it leads to an even more fragile environment and for achieving sustainability all aspect must be included – such as the environment and socioeconomic aspects. Why we should care is because in the end it will affect everyone and for some people ships are the only way of traveling. Passenger ships are good for cities and societies economy with more tourists but ships need to take care of their sewage waste in a sustainable way. This needs to be done both by handing in the sewage to ports and by having system onboard that makes it efficient for ports to deal with.
For passenger ships to achieve sustainability it is important with legislations. When making legislations about the sea it is a complex situation because it is not only different countries that are involved but also companies. This means that a lot of people have to adopt and accept this. It could be one of the reasons why laws constantly are being pushed forward in time and why ships continue to release sewage into the sea – because they can. A problem as I see it is that even if costumers rather travel with ships that are environmental friendly, the ship companies do not always listening to this. If costumers still travel with these ships, maybe without knowledge about waste or maybe because it is the only way of traveling, the companies are not losing customers. Customers mean money and if companies are not losing money they don’t have to change. Another problem is that passenger ships need to have a system installed for dealing with their sewage waste, which costs money, and not everyone is willing to spend money on sustainability. This makes it even harder for the ports that want to provide with facilities because not every port can deal with this mix of waste that contains for example oil. I think companies and ports need to win something from not releasing their sewage and have facilities that take care of it. They need to realize sustainability is the only way to go for future business. Even if some ship companies are today using ports and/or are using technological systems for their sewage but it is not enough because for sustainability everyone need to adapt this. It is also a question of economy. If it is expensive to hand in sewage to ports, making systems onboard for sewage and adapting to new laws then it will be more expensive for costumers as well. For making it more acceptable it is needed information of what important role the Baltic Sea plays for economy, society and the environment. It is just as important to give information about what is done and not done by ship companies today;
There is a need to make information available to decision makers, ports and other stakeholders, on cruise ships operating in the Baltic Sea, with particular respect to their sewage treatment technologies, including needs to discharge sewage sludge/bio-residuals (Helcom, 2013).
A solution to the problem with everyone doing things their own way is making legislations that applies for everyone involved. Laws are needed for the whole ocean and also for all ships to have systems that are making it easier for ports to take care of their sewage waste. A problem with making legislations is that if EU are making a legislation, not all countries around the Baltic Sea are included – Russia for example. The new laws are also having a lot of exceptions which also could lead to more contamination of the ocean. Another thing that I found important is not only having legislations but also surveillance, because today there are none, and of course it is easy to cheat if no one is noticing.
- Sewage waste is an environmental problem that lead to eutrophication
- It is today legal to discard sewage waste in sea outside country boarders and laws are today not complying for the whole ocean – this is not sustainable
- Legislation and surveillance are needed for all ports, ships and areas of the Baltic Sea for achieving sustainability
- Legislation is an ongoing progress and are constantly postponed
- Passenger ships need to install systems for their sewage waste for efficiency and hand in sewage to ports without releasing it out at sea
- All ports in the Baltic Sea needs to provide with facilities that can take care of sewage
- Costumers should get more information about how ships are dealing with their sewage waste or not dealing with it
Ahlström, A. Moriera de Macedo, M. Fernandes, S. 2014. Rederiers hantering av nya miljökrav – En studie om Birka Cruises, Tallink Silja och Viking Lines arbete med ekonomisk och miljömässig hållbar utveckling. Kandidatuppsats. Södertörn: Södertörns Högskola.
Bernes, C. 2005. Change beneath the surface – an in depth look at Sweden’s marine environment. Naturvårdsverket: Stockholm.
Båtliv. 2015. Stena Line inviger världens första metanolfartyg. Online access. Available at: http://www.batliv.se/article.asp?newsid=8962#.Vb9aifntmkr [2015-08-03]
European Parliament. 2015. Ships’ CO2 emissions: MEPs approve new reporting rules. European Parliament News. Press release Environment.
Helcom. 2013. HELCOM interim guidance on technical and operational aspects of delivery of sewage by passenger ships to port reception facilities. A part of the 2013 HELCOM Ministerial Declaration. Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission.
Helcom. 2015. Baltic Sea Sewage Port Reception Facilities. HELCOM Overview 2014. Revised Second Edition. Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission.
Hopwood, B. Mellor, M. O’Brien, G. 2005, Sustainable Development: mapping different approaches. Sustainable Development. 13:38-52
Johnson, D. 2002. Environmentally sustainable cruise tourism: a reality check. Marine Policy. 26:261-270
Kern, K. 2011. Governance For Sustainable Development in the Baltic Sea Region. Journal of Baltic Studies. 42(1):21-35
O’Connor, M C. 2013. Cruise Ship Industry’s Environmental Record: Not Triumphant. Online Access. Outside Online. Available at: http://www.outsideonline.com/1915601/cruise-ship-industrys-environmental-record-not-triumphant. [2015-08-05]
Rikstrafiken. 2010. Långsiktigt hållbar linjesjöfart till Gotland 2015-2030 – Samrådsversion. Diarienummer: RT 2008/38
Stena AB. 2014. Stena AB Hållbarhetsrapport.2014. Online Access. Available at: http://www.stena.com/sv/about-us/Sidor/sustainability.aspx [2015-08-03]
Stena Line. 2015. Minska utsläpp till vatten. Online Access. Available at: http://www.stenaline.com/fakta-om-oss/miljo/miljo-arbete/vatten [2015-08-06]
WWF. 2010. Cruise ships continue to foul the Baltic Sea. Online Access. Available at: http://wwf.panda.org/?195090/Cruise-ships-still-dump-their-sewage-in-the-Baltic-Sea [2015-08-07]
WWF. 2013. Sjöfart. Online Access. Available at: http://www.wwf.se/vrt-arbete/hav-och-fiske/rdda-stersjn/sjfart/1133433-sjfart [2015-08-07]
WWF. 2015. Kryssningsfartygen fortsätter tömma sitt avloppsvatten i Östersjön. Online access. Available at: http://www.wwf.se/press/aktuellt/1594992-kryssningsfartygen-fortstter-tmma-sitt-avloppsvatten-i-stersjn. [2015-07-31]
Hultberg, J. Interpellation 2014/15:628 Kryssningsfartyg som förorenar Östersjön.
The darkside of cheaper clothes
A study about microplastics
- by Emma Holmen
The aim of this study is to discover the damage of microplastic from clothes and how to solve it.
The definition of microplastic is particles <5 mm according to Athur (et al, 2009). The global production of plastic have increased from 0,5 ton a year 1950 to 260 million ton a year 2008. Microplastic have the same size as the food for many marine invertebrates who miss judges them as food. The particles then cause problems like harming the gills. Plastic can also have toxic components; some with added toxic substances like brominated flame retardants and some are built by the toxic substance. Plastic can also absorb toxins, mostly the hydrophobic and organic ones which have higher affinity to plastic than the natural sediment. It can also harm organs, cause inflammation, problems in energy storing and reproduction.
Plastic particles have also been found higher up in the food chain like fishes but it’s still not clear if it’s from prey or direct intake. The Baltic is more vulnerable to the threat of microplastic than other seas because of the slow water exchange (Magnusson, K. Norén, F. 2011) (Broeg, K. Elfwing, T. 2015).
The sources of microplastic can be divided into primary- and secondary sources. Secondary sources means makroplastic that have been broken down to microplastic and primary source means that microplastic have been released as they are, for example the ones in cosmetics. In a study, sediment from 18 places around the world where exanimated and found that the sediment near cities had more plastic fibers (see table 1).
Table 1. The plastic fibers found consisted by this
The study also found that clothes made from polyester released 100-300 plastic fibers each wash. Worst is fleece that released < 1900 fibers each wash. Other primary sources is water from industry when the microplastic is not removed in their own cleaning system and cosmetic which is washed down in the bathroom (Naturskyddsföreningen). But when it reaches the treatments plants, there is no step to remove the microplastics and 10-30% is going out to the Baltic. This is about 13-39 tons/year (Broeg, K. Elfwing, T. 2015).
Along the German cost in the Baltic sea where microplastic found as 0–7 particles/kg dry sediment found and 2–11 fibers/kg. Big sources to microplastic are Industrial discharge sites like paper recycling plant and sewage treatment plants but also ports (Stolte et al. 2015).
Polyester: A thermoplastic and a product of an acid and an alcohol. The original substance that polyester are made from is crude oil.
Viscose: This fabric is made from cellulose which is put into NaOH. White flakes is forming and are mixed with carbon disulfide. This is dissolved in NaOH and viscose and water are formed (Olsson et al, 2009).
Modal: Similar to viscose and is also made from cellulose (Blingo).
Economic and social aspects
In India 60% of all plastic is being recycled but the workers are working under extreme conditions and are often not aware of the danger with plastic. There are many toxic chemicals in it and can harm the people who are exposed to it. For example are a lot toxic substances released during the plastics lifecycle and the consumption is on the rise. In 2011, 200 million tons of plastic was made and by 2020 the production is likely to increase with 100%. Today 4 % of the total oil consumption is used to make plastics. (Klar, M. 2014. et al).
Polyester contains styrene which is a clear liquid. It enter the body through inhalation and 90% of the inhaled styrene is absorbed and causes a series of health problem (Hela, Sl. Elshafy, W. 20 12) During the past 10 years the consumption of clothes have increased with 60% and one of the reason is that the prices have declined. The clothing companies often order their clothes from different suppliers so they easy can switch to the cheapest. This puts a lot of pressure to keep the costs down and one way is to push the workers to work long hours with low wages (Fairtrade Sverige. Rena Kläder, 2011). The reason to use polyester is because it is cheaper than for example cotton (ITC) but also that it’s easy to bled with other materials and looks and feels good (Bain. 2015).
How can we solve it?
Fiber from clothing
To get rid of the fibers from clothing the washing machines should have a filter that is cleansed every now and when similar to what we already have in the dryers. The ordinary person can try to reduce their washing of certain clothes like fleece. Naturvårdsverket also want the government to put more pressure on treatment plants and washing machine manufacturers.
Microplastic in cosmetics
Naturvårdsverket want to forbid manufacturing, selling and importing cosmetics with microplastics within the European Union. And that consumers should have the ability to see what’s in the products (Naturvårdsverket).
Baltic eye think it is time to phase out microplastic in all Baltic countries and start HELCOM’s regional action plan (RAP) immediately (Broeg, K. Elfwing, T. 2015). HELCOM was established 40 years ago to protect the environment of the Baltic. The members are Denmark, Estonia, the European Union, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania,Poland, Russia and Sweden (HELCOM).
Some goals from RAP are “Concentrations of hazardous substances close to natural levels, all fish safe to eat, Healthy wildlife, ” and this will be achieved by locating sources, ban or restrict use of identified hazard substanses, information and more (HELCOM, 2007).
Searched for articles on OneSearch at Linneaus universities library webpage, Google and searched for books in the library. In order to do the survey, ten clothes where picked out in each store and the main fabric as well as the country of manufacturing was noted. Only women clothes where allowed and the clothes had to be for the upper body and meant to be worn direct on the skin. The reason is that these clothes are being washed the most. When the survey was made clothes from as many places in the store as possible was used. The clothing companies used was Bikbok, HM, Kappahl and Flash. The reason to pick this one’s was to have too kinds of target customers. Bikbok and HM is aiming for a younger audience and Kappahl and Flash are aiming for a more mature one. The result was compiled by Google Sheets in pie- and bar graphs.
Since Kappahl and Flash are aiming for more mature costumers with more money they will have to focus more on quality like good fabrics. Especially since they are a bit more expensive, people expect to get more for their money. Flash is the store with highest prices and smallest store to get a more exclusive image. So they should have the highest percent of clothes made from non-plastic materials then Kappahl in the middle and Bikbok and HM will have the least non plastic materials.
Graph 1. The main fabrics are the material with the highest percent in each clothing.
Graph 3. To calculate the average garment the percent of all fabrics was added and then divided by ten.
Graph 4. The main fabrics are the material with the highest percent in each clothing.
100% of the clothes from Bikbok was made in China.
Graph 5. To calculate the average garment the percent of all fabrics was added and then divided by ten.
Graph 6. The main fabrics are the material with the highest percent in each clothing.
Graph 4. The main fabrics at the clothes in HM
Graph 8. To calculate the average garment the percent of all fabrics was added and then divided by ten.
Graph 9. The main fabrics are the material with the highest percent in each clothing.
There was no information about the country of manufacturing at Flash.
Graph 10. To calculate the average garment the percent of all fabrics was added and then divided by ten.
Graph 11. Percent of clothing med from 100% non-plastic materials
Since the plastic industry constantly are expanding it’s crucial to investigate the risks that comes with it. It’s important to remember that what is harming for the environment also harms us. Partly because we are a part of the environment but also because we are highest up in the food chain. The toxins that animals digest will pass over to us when we eat them. One solution would be to stop eat animals from the water but do we really want that? Do we really want poisonous lakes and seas in the future? Where no one can swim or eat the fishes from them.
Even though Fleece are releasing more plastic fibers each wash, it’s my believe that ordinary clothes made from polyester are a bigger threat. Ordinary clothes is often used ones and then washed, so if you us a T-shirt made from polyester ones every 2nd week. In one year that T-shirt will have been washed 26 times and released 2600-7800 fibers and the fleece jacket is maybe washed ones every 2nd or 3th year.
Even though the treatment plants don’t have a certain step to remove microplastic whey are still removing 90-70% so they already have the tools but have to be better in using them. To get peple to clean a filter in the washing machine themselves is a good idea but tricky to accomplice. First a law that requires washing machine manufactures to have a filter must be implemented in all Baltic countries. Including the imported machines. Because oneone wants to buy a machine with more work in our stressful time. Information must reach all households about how to clean it property so people not just wash it down the zinc and it will end up in the Baltic anyway. But it is also important for people to understand why they have to do this. Otherwise people will just get anger, protest and vote for patries that don’t care for the environment.
EU see free competition as important and conducts a politic which they think don’t distort the competition. Support from the government is forbidden, it distorts competition against the common interest (EU). “Trade barriers are all types of government actions that prevent or obstruct trade in goods and services import and the export” (Kommerskollegium). The proposal to forbid selling, importing or manufacturing cosmetics that contains microplastics inside the EU is a strong one. But will meet al lot of resistance since EUs main goal is to promote economy and make trade easier not the other way. Oli is already starting to become a shortage, so is it wise to use 4% to make plastic?
Economic and social effects
To be able to sell clothes in the EU, the companies have to prove that the workers are working during good circumstances. And inspections are to be made to make sure they follow the law. Otherwise good conditions won’t be able to succeed since people always will go for the cheapest stores, and companies should not have to choose between good prices and good working conditions. Cause even if a company want good conditions it will never be able to compete with the ones who don’t. Information is also important since companies don’t want bad publicity, and the consumers must be able to make a choice while knowing all factors. But it’s my opinion that laws are the most important step. Even thought people have the right to know where and how their clothes are made, there will always be people who don’t care, or cares but ones you are shopping maybe you get a bit mingy which is human. You can’t expect people to be involved in all the problems in the world. The people of today are living stressful lives with tons of problems on their mind. I also believe that this issues are to big to put on the little person with bills to pay every month.
To get a more accurate result of the fabrics in clothes the correct way would have to test all of the clothes or at least more than ten. Limited time did however this not possible.
In this study the hypothesis was correct since Flash was the store with lowest percent plastic the average garment and the highest percent of non-plastic fabrics, even though it was lower when expected. It was also surprising that Bikbok was so much lower than HM. The hypothesis was that they would be equal. This could be due to all of the criticism against HM lately and this shows that the consumers have to power to change.
- Stricter laws
- Information to the people
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