State of the Environment

State of Aquatic Environment

The monitoring programme covers the Norwegian, Finnish and Russian border region, the water from which follows different routes to reach the Northern Arctic Ocean.

The border region is located on the eastern and northeastern side of the Maanselkä water divide that curves from southeast to north.

The most significant human impacts on the waterways is the sulfur and heavy metal loading of the Pechenga region’s mining and metallurgical industry, as well as regulation of Lake Inarijärvi and the River Pasvik. Similar to other Arctic regions, this border region is also exposed to long-distance aerial transport

Long-range aerial
transport of pollutants

Long-range aerial transport of pollutants means that the harmful substances in the air are transported far away from the emission sources by winds. For example heavy metals and sulfur dioxide are capable of long-range transport. The Arctic is especially recognized as a receiver of transported environmentally harmful substances.

of harmful substances.

Almost all environmental loading will eventually end up in a waterway. Some of the loading will access the waterway directly in, for instance, the form of industrial wastewater. The downstream sections of the River Pasvik are exposed to expansive mining activities and emissions of metallurgical industry that threaten the wellbeing of fish and other organisms. One of the most polluted waters is the relatively small Kolosjoki River that flows into Lake Kuetsjarvi, as the wastewaters of the smelting plant run into the mouth of the river. Another very badly polluted area is in the immediate vicinity of the facilities of the mining and metallurgical industry.

In addition to direct loading of sewage, pollution is also airborne. Airborne pollution is deposited either directly or via soil into the waterways, and some is spread over a large area with long-distance aerial transport. The airborne pollution eddying through the Inari – Pasvik River region have the most significant impact on the small lakes, which are away from direct loading, as well as on regions located upstream from the emission sources, or on water bodies which do not have a waterway to the Pasvik River.

In addition to direct or airborne loading, also pollution of the soils is washed away into the waterways as either surface runoff or through the soil.

The impacts of agriculture and forestry on the waterways of the region vary between countries. On the Finnish side of the border the majority of forests are located within conservation areas and the impact of forestry on the environment is minimal. There are fewer protected forest areas in Norway and Russia compared to Finland, and forestry is more commonly practiced. There is very little agriculture on the Finnish and Russian sides of the border, but there are some farms near the River Pasvik in Norway.

More information about state of aquatic environment can be found from these releases:

Stebel, K., Christensen, G.N., Derome J. and Grekelä I. (editors). 2007.
State of the Environment in the Norwegian, Finnish and Russian Border Area. The Finnish Environment 6/2007

Carolyn Symon (Environmental Editing Ltd)
Paatsjoki-ohjelma – Yhteistyöraportti 2008

Puro-Tahvanainen, A., Zueva, M., Kashulin, N., Sandimirov, S., Christensen, G.N. and Grekelä, I. 2011.
Pasvik Water Quality Report. Environtal Monitoring Programme in the Norwegian, Finnish and Russian Border Area

Ylikörkkö, J., Zueva, M., Kashulin, N., Kashulina, T., Sandimirov, S., Christensen, G., Jelkänen, E. 2014
Pasvik Water Quality until 2013

Puro-Tahvanainen, A., Aroviita, J., Järvinen, E.A., Kuoppala, M., Marttunen, M., Nurmi, T., Riihimäki, J., Salonen, E. 2013.
Inarijärven tilan kehittyminen vuosina 1960-2009

Images: Lapin ELY, Esko Jaskari