Integrated assessment of pollution in the Baltic Sea

Galina Garnaga


Aquatic systems are a complex and variable with multiple environmental factors acting. That is why integrated approach is needed for their ecological status assessment. HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan and EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/EC) address hazardous substances and show the need of integrated view of the situation.
The paper describes the vulnerability of the Baltic Sea ecosystem and contaminants of specific concern like heavy metals, oil hydrocarbons, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, chlorinated hydrocarbon compounds, organotin compounds and others. The effects of pollutants on aquatic organisms are reviewed. Integrated assessment of the state of the aquatic environment is discussed and biological-effect methods are shown being important elements in environmental research as they can indicate links between contamination and ecological responses. The paper concludes that integrated monitoring of hazardous substances and their effects are an important step forward to reach one of the future goals – Baltic Sea life undisturbed by hazardous substances.


Baltic Sea; pollution; contaminants; biomarkers; integrated assessment

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ISSN 0235-7224 (Print)
ISSN 2029-0586 (Online)