Stormwater drains will be marked in Tallinn during the campaign “The sea starts here”

Starting today, August 25th, the “The Sea Starts Here” campaign will begin. The aim is to improve the health of the Baltic Sea through rainwater hatches into bodies of water and by reducing the amount of small waste reaching the Baltic Sea. The campaign will reach 15 Estonian cities and bring a message to people – waste, which lands in rainwater hatches will eventually reach the Baltic Sea.

Cigarette butt pollution, which has been the focus of attention, is the main source of plastic waste pollution in the Baltic Sea - almost a billion smoke cubits enter the streets and rainwater sewers every year in Estonia. The reason why cigarettes end up in the sea is either the lack of a rainwater collection chamber or the rapid breakdown of the cigarette butts into small parts that the collection chamber cannot contain. Unfortunately, the rainwater does not pass through the water disposal plant or filters, but reaches the nearest body of water.

When cigarette butts are released into water, decomposition is accelerated even further, and soon the cigarette butt has broken down into up to 12,000 fibers - microplastics that can reach through the food chain to the food menu of every human. Cigarette butts that end up in the Baltic Sea are a problem due to both their plastic content and the leakage of toxic chemicals into the water.

Tallinn, which is a candidate for the European Green Capital 2022, the manhole covers are marked by city districts. In cooperation with the Port of Tallinn, nearly 30 rainwater hatches in the Old Port will also receive the marking. The signs will also be drawn at Tallinn Airport. Both partners are also participating in the campaign "Cigarette butt’s place is in the trash" launched by Tallinn last week, which also draws attention to the problem of garbage in the Baltic Sea. A total of 310 rainwater manhole covers are marked in Tallinn.

 As a part of the campaignf the campaign, rainwater manhole covers will be marked in different parts of Estonia with the message “The sea starts here”. In addition to the message, the asphalt is marked with a visual sign to prohibit the dumping of garbage into the rainwater hatch and a reference to local water inhabitants (fish, seals). The exact wording depends on the city and the local body of water.

Cigarette butts are also one of the largest polluters according to global studies, and therefore prevention and a change in people's behavior is essential. A similar campaign has been practiced by several European countries, which has led to a significant increase in public awareness and a reduction in pollution.

The "Sea starts here" campaign is supported by the Environmental Investment Center. More information: www.merialgabsiit.ee.

Tallinn, as a finalist of the European Green Capital 2022, together with partners, will bring the fight against cigarette butt’s pollution from both the private and third sectors into sharp focus. A number of activities are planned, culminating in World Harvest Day on September 19th.

Read more about applying for European Green Capital 2022: www.tallinn2022.ee