The Baltic Sea is one of the most polluted seas in the world. This is partly down to human activity – the Baltic Sea Region is home to 85 million people, along with industries and vast agricultural areas; and partly physical geography – the Baltic Sea is almost completely enclosed, meaning pollutants that enter it tend to stay there.
One of the biggest pollution problems is eutrophication, mostly caused by run-off of elements like nitrogen and phosphorus from farms and fields. In the sea they cause marine plants to grow so much they unbalance ecosystems, harming biodiversity and even creating dead zones on the seabed.
But on land, these nutrients are essential to agriculture; and in the case of phosphorus finite, non-renewable resources.
Watch a new film about how the BONUS RETURN project is seeking ecotechnology solutions that can recapture waste phosphorus before it reaches the sea, and turn it back into a productive resource, keeping it in the Baltic region economies.