APP4SEA and Circular Ocean projects, both funded by NPA programme, joined forces and organised a seminar dealing with various aspects of marine pollution in the beginning of November. Oulu had washed its face after previous week's snowfall and temperatures reaching as low as -15 degrees, and greeted the visitors with mild autumn temperatures, occasional sunshine and even polar lights during the evening.
The weather was not arctic, but cold chilling facts played the main role in the event. The litter issue of oceans is in the focus of the Circular Ocean project (www.circularocean), and their key aim is to promote recycling of used fishing nets and turning them into new commodities. Plastics in oceans are a big threat for fish, bird and marine mammal populations, which have their implications also for human population. Getting rid of these environmental hazards and turning them into business opportunities for local enterprises once they have served their purpose in fishing, should not be that difficult, as was told in several presentations given by partners of the project. The challenges of oil spill response and removal in Arctic conditions were highlighted in presentations given on behalf of the APP4SEA project. Oil, whether it is in its liquid form or solid as a plastics, is a serious threat for marine environment.
There were also a few guest speakers, who threw took a different look at the marine pollution issues. Katariina Ala-Rämi from the Center of Maritime Studies at the University of Turku pointed out the pecularities of the Baltic Sea in her presentation. Low salinity, shallowness of the sea and ice cover during winter makes the marine environment stand out from other water systems. Samuel Hartikainen from University of Eastern Finland brought the inland waters into the discussion and especially the micro- and nanoplastics pollution studies that has been carried out in Eastern Finland around City of Kuopio. Amanda Sundell shared the story of DROPP, which is a Finnish social enterprise that donates its profits for the improvement of the Baltic Sea.