TALLINN - Researchers are carrying out additional studies on an open sea research vessel in order to get an objective overview of the impact that the construction of the Nord Stream gas pipeline is having on the Estonian maritime environment, reports National Broadcasting. The Ministry of Environment stated that the extra screening studies are mostly planned to take place on the route between Tallinn and Helsinki and in the maritime areas in the Estonian economic zone east of the route. These are the areas where most remarkable disturbances in the bottom sediments are foreseen and the ministry is of the opinion that the Nord Stream project’s own screenings do not focus sufficiently on these impacts.
In order to map the state of the maritime environment in the Gulf of Finland before the installment of the pipeline, the researchers of the Maritime Systems Institute of the Tallinn Technical University, in co-operation with the Estonian Maritime Institute of the University of Tartu, started the studies already in May.
In the course of the first stage of research scientists collected samples of bottom sediments to determine the levels of heavy metals and dioxins, assessed the state of the bottom habitation in the immediate vicinity of the pipeline’s route, measured the parameters of the water pillar and the quality of water. Levels of dioxins in the fish caught in the Gulf of Finland will also be analyzed.
Further screening will take place during the installment of the gas pipeline as well as immediately after that, measuring the quality of water and installing buoy screening stations that will forward data on the current velocity, turbidity of water, level of oxygen, temperature and amount of salt in the water during construction.
After a couple of years, the scientists are also planning to investigate the longer-term impact of the project. The research will be carried out in compliance with the construction schedule of Nord Stream and is financed by the Center for Environmental Research. The cost of the project, which will last for several years, will amount to over 4 million kroons (256,400 euros).