Human pharmaceuticals that are not broken down in the body are excreted via urine and faeces and enter our wastewater treatment plants. This is quantitatively the most important source of environmental exposure to human pharmaceuticals used in healthcare. At the wastewater treatment plants, the pharmaceuticals can have three possible destinations. They are either broken down or they end up in the purified outgoing wastewater (surface water) or in the sludge. Some of the sludge is applied to cultivated areas. The advantages and disadvantages of returning nutrients contained in sludges into the nutrient cycle are a topic of debate. One of the arguments against application is that the sludge contains many chemicals, including pharmaceuticals. For veterinary pharmaceuticals, the spreading routes are more complex, and some veterinary pharmaceuticals are spread predominantly on agricultural land. Åland lacks statistics on the use of antibiotics, and an assessment is needed. Using the results and the new directives on the monitoring of pharmaceuticals as a starting point, a strategy may need to be prepared.
Objective of the measure:
It is important to examine and minimise the risks related to the emissions of harmful substances that have adverse effects on the functioning of the marine ecosystem or the use of fish or game as food. An assessment on the use of antibiotics has been carried out during the period, but no direct strategy has been linked to it. Such a strategy must be prepared by those who prescribe pharmaceuticals, hospitals, health centres and pharmacies. In addition, an assessment relating to certain pharmaceuticals and drugs found in wastewater has been carried out.