Coastal pollution

Behavioural guidelines for the people in the area of the disaster:

  • people living in and around the polluted area should restrict the freedom of movement of their domestic animals
  • we ask that the planned social events be postponed if possible
  • in households in the area of pollution, contact the local authority in case of problems and for the satisfaction of primary needs

In the event of extensive coastal pollution, emergency situation is defines as the events identified when (oil) pollution is on the coast and its elimination is a technically complicated process requiring time and resources, thereby causing significant damage to the natural environment (cleaning work starting from 5 tonnes or beach strip(s) totalling a total of more than 20 km and cases where cleaning takes more than 7 days).

Such coastal pollution causes a great deal of damage to the environment, both to wildlife and inanimate nature, and to the economic capacity and reputation of the polluted region may deteriorate.
The sustainability of a number of vital services can be disturbed for longer periods: maritime transport, port operation, and rescue operations due to the engagement of special equipment, human resources, and management resources.

The emergency situation is closely linked to the large-scale marine pollution abatement capacity, as in most cases, marine pollution transitions to extensive coastal pollution if the marine pollution cannot be detected, eradicated, or localised.

Dangers causing extensive coastal pollution: marine pollution, discharging of ship emissions (including bilge water and ballast water), pollution extending beyond the port waters, pollutions extending from the places of refuge (e.g., Kunda port of refuge). One of the common most types of marine accidents in the Baltic Sea is running aground.

Examples of marine pollution incidents near Estonia in the past 20 years:

  • 1993: tanker Kihnu ran aground in Kopli Bay – leaked 100 tonnes of fuel oil;
  • 2000: tanker Alambra in Muuga port – 250 tonnes of crude oil;
  • January 2006: pollution of the north-western coast, 10 tonnes of petroleum products were gathered from the beach; 4,000–20,000 birds died, polluted 35 km of the coastal strip – extensive coastal pollution;
  • March 2006: cargo ship Runner4 sunk – 100 tonnes of petroleum products.

In January 2006, one of these cases developed into a coastal pollution incident. The rest also had a risk of coastal pollution, which however did not materialise.