Public awareness on a spotlight with Russia in the South-East Finland

News 2019-06-12 at 10:21

The environmental awareness of the local public in the study area is increasing the Seleznevka (fin. Rakkolanjoki) and Virojoki Rivers due to the Water meets people – learn, act and influence SEVIRA funded by The South-East Finland – Russia CBC 2014-2020 programme.

Several events to support environmental awareness and public river monitoring have been arranged, which also have received media attention. On 19th March there was organized the international seminar in Vyborg town devoted to the beginning of transboundary project. April 3rd the training for teachers, who leads school’s river monitoring in Leningrad oblast, was held in St.Petersburg. In May 21st and 22nd field trips with the Virojoki and Joutseno schools were organized. The multistakeholder seminar on the quality of nature waters and solutions to reduce nutrient load to rivers was held in 23-24 of May in St.Petersburg. The dialogue among non-governmental organizations, scientific experts, rural communities municipal authorities, activists and farmers was established, and challenges and solutions were discussed, for more details

Over 100 students, 50 regional stakeholders and tens of teachers have joined these activities across borders. The Etelä-Saimaa magazine wrote on 21st May that students had a change to do survey using electrofishing equipment with the ELY-Centre (KASELY). Hundreds of different aquatic macroinvertebrates were caught with hand nets and a small trout was caught in electric fishing even this was not the best time for doing this survey. We believe that people become more aware of impact of human activity to the state of the whole Gulf of Finland and the Baltic sea. Thus one day we shall see a lot more trouts in these rivers.

Material has been produced and disseminated to promote public awareness. The international handbook for public river watch was presented at the seminar on 19th March. Teachers have received nitrate strips, water backpacks and they have marked on the map the locations of scheduled measurements in the basin of Seleznevka river and Vyborg Bay. We hope that we can develop a collaborative site that works for both Russian and Finnish people; a new Wiki service will give us some new ideas to take step forward, beta version is now available. Materials are also available on the established web-pages in Russian and Finnish.

Citizen surveys are well underway to understand better what people think about environmental issues in Russia and Finland. The first survey for the Seleznevka (Rakkolanjoki in Finnish) has been planned and is ready to be implemented during this summer. The citizen surveys will be carried out to raise knowledge about eutrophication, and to find out the public’s willingness to take part themselves in monitoring actions and in reducing diffuse loading. We are looking forward for these results to develop better services, materials and events to promote cooperation in the South-East Finland with Russia.


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