The Swedish EPA coordinates the Policy Area Hazards within the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) with the support of the Swedish Chemicals Agency and the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management.
Hazardous substances pose a manifold and multifaceted risk to the environment and human health. Industrial emissions to air and water continue to be major sources of hazardous substances to the environment; however, the contribution from sources like consumer products, waste and historically contaminated sites is of equal concern.
Because of its natural features the Baltic Sea is particularly vulnerable to pollution. The task to protect the Baltic Sea from pollution by hazardous substances requires joint efforts by the bordering countries and stakeholders at all organizational levels. A wide range of legislations and international policy agreements has been progressively implemented to protect the Baltic environment from chemical pollution. As environmental regulations, conventions and other initiatives proliferate, so do the challenges of implementing them.
PA Hazards provide a platform for cooperation. We contribute to regional policy development and act as a link between policy and actions to reduce the input of hazardous substances to the Baltic Sea.
PA Hazards contributes to the EUSBSR objective ‘Save the Sea’ and primarily the sub-objective ‘Rich and healthy wildlife’.
The work within PA Hazards is focused around four actions. These actions are primarily implemented by so called flagships. Flagships can be single projects or a set of activities that translate the actions into concrete activities, by e.g. developing key solutions, new methodologies or new forms of cooperation. Flagships should have a high macro-regional impact.
PA Hazards organizes workshops for capacity building and increased knowledge transfer between relevant national authorities in the Baltic Sea region, e.g. on interlinks between the EU legal frameworks and harmonization of marine monitoring.
We also produce reports that highlights areas of common interests for regional and national stakeholders, for instance on national responses to highly fluorinated substances (PFAS) in the environment. Moreover, we also aim to facilitate policy dialogues on issues of specific relevance for the Baltic Sea region, e.g. dioxins and pharmaceuticals in the Baltic Sea.
PA Hazards has close cooperation with the Policy Area Nutri of the EUSBSR, dealing with the problem of eutrophication of the Baltic Sea. Other areas in the EUSBSR relevant for PA Hazards include e.g. innovation (PA Innovation), bioeconomy (PA Bioeconomy), clean shipping (PA Ship) and climate adaptation (HA Climate).
PA Hazards also has a close cooperation with the Helsinki convention (Helcom).