The Baltic Sea is particularly sensitive to eutrophication, and it is important to reduce both wastewater discharge and emissions into the air. Nitrogen oxide emissions from maritime transport account for a significant share of total emissions, as does wastewater discharge from international shipping.

The Parliament of Åland and the Government of Åland have long worked in many ways for the adoption of bans on wastewater discharge from vessels and especially from passenger ships into the Baltic Sea. HELCOM has coordinated the work of the Baltic coastal states to achieve this ban.

The ban means that all passenger ships (including cruise liners) must either discharge all sewage at port reception facilities or be equipped with on-board sewage treatment equipment by which the amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus can be reduced to the required level. RoPax ferries between Sweden and Finland have discharged all sewage at ports on a voluntary basis since the late 1990s. The regulations will be applied to new vessels as of 2019 and to existing vessels as of 2021 in the Baltic Sea, with the exception of Russian waters.

Objective of the measure:

Although considerable efforts are already being made at the international level, it is important to continue to promote the adoption of wastewater discharge bans at the international level and to investigate the possibilities of reducing wastewater discharge from pleasure boats. Åland continues to support the HELCOM collaboration to designate the Baltic Sea as a NOx emissions control area (NECA) in the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

PROGRESS: underway