Posted 30 сентября 2021,, 07:06

Published 30 сентября 2021,, 07:06

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:36

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:36

From chemical weapons to household garbage: the Baltic Sea turns into a poisonous puddle

30 сентября 2021, 07:06
The Baltic Sea is one of the most polluted in the world. Food waste causes phytoplankton bloom, which draws oxygen from the water, the water becomes dark and cloudy. Garbage and industrial chemicals are destroying the entire ecosystem.

Of particular concern to environmentalists is the ammunition with chemical weapons lying at the bottom of the Baltic.

Gennady Charodeyev

According to Euronnews, citing Marie Sepp, who heads the CleanEST project, which is funded by the EU LIFE program, the volume of food contaminants in the Baltic has decreased by about 50% over the past 30 years. Now the focus of environmentalists' attention has shifted from food waste to "toxic substances, garbage, drug residues, shipping and alien fish species".

This is a typical example: the Purtse River is polluted with toxic chemicals from old industrial plants. In Soviet times, there was a tire repair plant here, where fuel waste was discharged directly into the ground. To stop water pollution within the CleanEST project, 14 thousand cubic meters of land were removed from here.

According to Olav Ojala, an adviser in the water department of the Estonian Ministry of the Environment, “oil products do not remain in the ground, but end up in groundwater, rivers and the sea; they contain toxic and carcinogenic chemicals. The longer they stay in the ground, the more they spread to the environment”.

Local experts understand: it is necessary to identify and purify all polluted waters so that they cannot end up in the sea. The bottom of the Erra River, which flows in the northeastern part of the country, is covered with a half-meter layer of oil products. In the near future the river bed will be cleared. This smelly and sticky substance appeared here as a result of industrial activities. In the old days, the oil shale distillation plant located there often dumped slag directly into the river. Its shores are still covered with petrified bitumen.

“Our research has shown that there are about 40,000 cubic meters of this substance in the river”, - says Raimo Jaaksoo, project manager of the Water Department. "It will be recovered and disposed of in a hazardous waste landfill."

Euronews gives another example. The Curonian Spit is a narrow sandy peninsula located on the territory of Russia and Lithuania. The fragile beauty of the national park located here is a good example of successful international cooperation in the field of nature conservation.

In September 2020, the European Union announced its intention to continue work to restore the ecology of the Baltic Sea. The international conference "Our Baltika" was attended by members of governments, scientists, public figures and industry representatives.

European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius chaired: “Only a year has passed since the conference, but I am very proud of this historic event, which brought together not only ministers responsible for the environment - they usually do not need to be explained what environmental crisis - you need to convince other relevant ministers. Therefore, I am glad that the Ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries also signed the joint declaration. And three weeks after that, at a council meeting in Luxembourg, we agreed to limit the fish catch and quotas in accordance with the recommendations of scientists. In my opinion, this speaks of some progress. "

CleanEST project employee Vallo Kyrgmaa has constructed water treatment platforms, which he calls “floating islands”. In fact, this is a support on which the same plants grow as on the shore. Thus, they purify the water. This method is called phytoremediation: the roots of the plants act as a natural filter, removing pollutants from the water. The roots of these irises produce a chemical that promotes the growth of beneficial microbes. These microbes are able to neutralize nitrates by moving them from the water to the atmosphere.

Cleaning up rivers, protecting fish populations and restoring biodiversity - all these measures make the Baltic Sea cleaner, Euronews said.

The situation in the Baltic Sea for Novye Izvestia comments the President of the International Fund World Ocean, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor, Vice Admiral in reserve Tengiz Borisov :

- I just want to ask the authors and participants of the European Union program LIFE: have you heard anything about 300 thousand (!) Tons of chemical warfare agents - mustard gas, lewisite, arsenide and adamsite from the German arsenals of the First and Second World Wars, lying at the bottom of the Baltic seas? By mutual agreement, they were drowned by representatives of the consort countries in the Second World War. Leaks from the containers in which they are stored threaten more than 40 million people living in the Baltic region.

It cannot be said that no one in the world knew anything about the dumping of ammunition with toxic substances, since May 1945. Although all this was done in secret, and a few witnesses signed a nondisclosure agreement. But in 1997, on the personal instruction of the President of Russia, a closed conference was held in Norway with the participation of representatives of NATO countries, as well as Poland, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia on the issue of German chemical munitions dumped in the Baltic Sea. After the report of the Russian delegation, the meeting participants asked to take a break, contacted their leaders, after which they stated that they were not authorized to negotiate such an important problem, and asked to postpone the meeting for a month and a half in order to have time to sort out the problem. However, neither after a month and a half, nor, after almost 25 years, no one got in touch, the expert noted.

“Ammunition with chemical weapons was dumped in four places,” say the staff of the Atlantic Branch of the Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences. - Moreover, there are no less than 42 such underwater burial grounds and no more than 65. Today, the exact coordinates of the last refuge at the bottom of 33 ships are known. The location of the others is still unknown, although they must be located close to each other".

“The prospecting work was carried out from the board of the Professor Shtokman vessel and for the first time using a special remotely controlled deep-sea vehicle,” said Tengiz Borisov. - We have established that chemical substances are buried in huge volumes in the Skagerrak Strait. The shells are scattered over an area of about 10 square kilometers. In the surveyed area, at depths of up to 215 meters, numerous “chemical delayed-action mines” were found. The television cameras clearly recorded: hatch covers on the ships sunk by the allies were torn off, the sides were broken and, most importantly, shells and aerial bombs were still in the holds. They are there in bulk. Areas of damage to the casing of the aerial bombs are visible.

"We have to admit that the ammunition, "stacked" by the Americans and the British in the holds, is a delayed-action mine. Taking into account the rate of corrosive wear of shells in seawater known to us, ranging from 0.1 to 0.15 millimeters per year, it can be predicted: the upper rows will push through their weight the thinner hulls below the ammunition”, - said Vice Admiral Borisov.

According to Professor Arnold Pork, President of the Estonian Clean Baltic Fund, in the event of an explosion, the budget losses in countries specializing in the extraction, processing and export of seafood will be incalculable. According to some forecasts, even if Russia is excluded, the Baltic countries may miss up to 30 percent of their total gross domestic product. The boundaries of the affected area will be blurred, since there are no closed ecosystems. And the circulation of water in nature will inevitably spread the infection to other regions of the planet.

Here is the opinion of the staff of the laboratory of genome variability of the Institute of General Genetics named after N.I. Vavilov Russian Academy of Sciences:

- Approximately half of the German arsenal of chemical warfare agents buried under water is mustard gas (or mustard gas), which with a high degree of efficiency causes damage to hereditary structures - genes and chromosomes, i.e., leads to mutation. This was established back in the late 1940s in England by Charlotte Auerbach and at the same time in the USSR by the scientist Iosif Rapopport.

Even the ingress of individual mustard gas molecules into the body can lead to harmful consequences - mutations in the body cell. For the current generation, such a situation threatens an increase in the number of oncological diseases. It can also lead to an increase in the incidence of miscarriages in women and the emergence of children with various hereditary defects.

Any attempts by Russia to offer the world community a solution to the problem by isolating ships with chemical weapons directly at the bottom immediately encounter desperate resistance from the West, which for one reason or another does not want to discuss this threat.

According to Borisov, there are technologies that were developed by Russian specialists from the Rubin Central Design Bureau of Marine Engineering and other organizations that took part in the development of technologies for isolating the Komsomolets nuclear submarine. They are also suitable for isolating chemical munitions at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

According to the World Ocean and Clean Baltic funds, in total the following are flooded in the Baltic Sea and straits:

71,469 250 kg mustard gas bombs;

14,258 250-kilogram and 500-kilogram bombs filled with chloroacetophene, diphenylchloroarsine and arsine oil;

8027 50 kg bombs, equipped with adamsite;

408,565 artillery shells of 75 mm, 105 mm and 150 mm caliber, loaded with mustard gas;

34,592 chemical landmines for 20 kg and 50 kg;

10 420 smoke chemical mines of 100 mm caliber;

1004 technological tanks containing 1506 tons of mustard gas;

8429 barrels containing 1030 tons of adamsite and diphenylchloroarsine;

169 tons of technological containers with toxic substances, which contained cyanide salt, chlorarsin, cyanarsin and axelarsin;

7860 cans of cyclone gas, which the Nazis used in extermination camps to kill prisoners.