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Evaluation of the Swedish national monitoring program for harmful substances
Finnish Environment Institute SYKE.
Responsible organisation
2002 (Swedish)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [sv]

The Swedish national monitoring (tradition) for environmental pollutants is widely considered as one of the most comprehensive in Europe. First monitoring related studies began in 1960s and the national monitoring program (PMK) was officially started in late1970s. The monitoring system has been developed gradually, according to discovered effects/threats of toxic contaminants to the environment, but the focus has been on concentrations. The future will set new kinds of demands for monitoring. Already the program has undergone substantial changes since 1995. In addition to monitoring of existing contaminants, data are needed to predict the possible harmfulness of new chemical substances before they can cause damage in the environment. The concept of risk is introduced to the objectives of monitoring in the 1999 paper. Persistent brominated flame retardants (PBDE) are an example of new substance group, which should be monitored more extensively in biota, not only in precipitation. A relevant way to decrease monitoring intensity of “old sins” including mainly organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), should be a focus for both scientific and policy discussion. Some of the OCPs have reached low levels often below critical limit for aquatic biota. Many time series have shown most of their “slope” already in 1970s and 1980s. This means statistically that you would need more time and data to show significant changes in the future. The importance to show significance has to be put in perspective if the environmental quality standards are not violated. Many of the “old sins” like PCBs and related substances dioxins should be monitored also in near future because of their toxicity to biota and human in the Baltic Sea and in the circumpolar regions. Elevated dioxin levels in fish is a main reason that the EU Commission has decided to ban all commercial use of herring and Baltic salmon after 2006. It is recommended to continue with collection of traditional long-time series of biota into the environmental specimen bank (ESB) for retrospective monitoring studies of new unknown chemicals. At the same time, new matrices should be studied. In the Baltic Sea environment, tissue samples (subcutant fat) from seals during legal hunting or when found dead, could be stored and studied. Sediment studies should be utilized fully for mass balance and modeling work. In the freshwater environment, pike should be considered more extensively as a top consumer, especially for Hg monitoring. In the terrestrial environment, the herbivorous reindeer, moose and small rodents are not the best indicator species for organic persistent pollutants. For that reason, top consumers (predators) like pine marten (Martes martes L.) or common shrew (Sorex araneus) should be considered. Evaluation of the regional monitoring showed that quality and efficiency of monitoring in the counties gave picture of large variation. Monitoring is well coordinated at least in those counties that have had common projects with EPA. The counties have many monitoring projects of their own. Vast amounts of samples are taken every year. The geographical coverage of local monitoring could be better. If the meaning really is to have a regional monitoring system that will complete the national monitoring, it will require more common planning and coordinative action by the Swedish EPA. Evaluation of the international reporting showed that Sweden and Finland are signatories/reporting to same international agreements/programmes relevant to contaminants. It was proposed that razorbill (Alca torda L) eggs should be an additional common indicator for monitoring of contaminants in bird colonies in the Baltic Sea area (HELCOM). It was also considered that POPs should be measured at some IM stations in several compartments (deposition, sediment traps, biota). The data analysis and reporting should put more weight on the metals stored in the soil (humus) and risk associated with that (mass balances and modelling) (ECE/LRTAP). The project "Global Network for monitoring of Chemicals in the Environment" seems to be a forum, to which Sweden, and other Nordic countries, could have plenty of information and experience to give (UNEP POP). In a circumpolar perspective, few lakes with very long-term data (Abisko, Storvindeln) and “master” station at Pallas could represent sufficiently the “clean northern Europe” (AMAP). The so-called Priority Substances (PS) within the Water Framework Directive will be a part of international reporting in near future. Swedish (and Danish) screening programmes have already been started which will benefit all Nordic countries (EU WFD). The review of Swedish-Finnish co-operation pointed some former and on-going projects on contaminants. One major project is the Bothnian Bay Life -project aiming to establish common database for physical and chemical properties of marine and river water (incl. heavy metals and loading data). Readiness to study and monitor oil pollution should be of interest because of 4 to 6 fold increasing transportation of oil in the Gulf of Finland in 2003 - 2006. It was also supported the possibilities of the Pallas “master” station which should be utilized more and enhance monitoring and research of airborne contaminants both in terrestrial and in aquatic biota. Environmental problems (air pollution, climate change, loss of biodiversity) are more and more understood to link together, and so should be the monitoring activities. The aspect of integrating presently separate monitoring networks on larger (than small catchments) geographical area, should be discussed. Also it is worth to note if some of new EU WFD directed priority chemicals could be screened and monitored together in the common sea areas and the boundary areas of Sweden and Finland – this matter should also be a target for discussion and planning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Finnish Environment Institute SYKE , 2002.
Keyword [en]
oceans, environment, inlandWaters
Keyword [sv]
Finland, Sverige, SYKE, regional, samarbete, Miljögifter, miljöövervakning, Naturvårdsverket, nationell
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:naturvardsverket:diva-358Local ID: 9b5d9cd5-b0ef-47ed-a2ae-090c54642833OAI: diva2:657923
Available from: 2013-10-21 Created: 2013-10-21

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