World Water Day and International Baltic Sea Protection Day

In 1997, as part of the World Water Day, the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) designated 22 March as the International Baltic Sea Protection Day.

The Helsinki Commission works to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution through intergovernmental co-operation. HELCOM is the governing body of the "Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area"​ – more usually known as the Helsinki Convention. HELCOM has 10 Contracting Parties: Denmark, Estonia, the European Union, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and Sweden.

The International Baltic Sea Protection Day was established to draw the attention of the international community to problems related to its protection.

The Baltic Sea environment is particularly vulnerable to degradation. All untreated sewage produced by countries in the Baltic Sea region, including industrial sewage, flows into this relatively small sea.

Apart from the municipal engineering, the waters of the Baltic Sea are also endangered by wind energy, maritime transport, tourism and recreation, agriculture, fishery, gas pipelines and the extraction of raw materials. All this makes the Baltic Sea one of the most polluted seas in the world.

One of the most effective ways to protect the environment in the Baltic Sea is to reduce the emission of pollutants and the exploitation of its resources, for example by reducing the use of artificial fertilizers in agriculture and by treating wastewater more effectively.

The Interreg South Baltic Programme supports over 10 projects which focus directly on the protection of the Baltic Sea water, including such projects as Less is More, Morpheus, Live Lagoons, WASTEMAN, COASTAL Biogas and others.

We should bear in mind, that the Baltic Sea catchment areas cover sometimes entire territories of the countries situated within the Baltic basin. We all have an influence on what flows into the sea.

What can we do to protect the Baltic Sea and nature every day? Simple actions count!

  • Give up plastic bags, straws, stirrers, cups and other disposable plastic items,
  • Wear reusable face masks and shopping bags,
  • On the beach, do not approach wild animals, do not climb the dunes, do not destroy the wildlife, take your litter with you,
  • Buy responsibly: always choose fish and products that are seasonal, local and preferably organic.


How the Interreg South Baltic Programme celebrate World Water Day and the International Baltic Sea Protection Day? To make people talk about water and its meaning to the world, we launched a mini quiz on Facebook, encouraging readers to share their thoughts and stories by answering a simple question: what does water mean to you?

We received 3 short stories with different perspectives but one common clue: they all show how crucial part of our lives water is.  

Water means a lot to me. First of all water, so does the breath, means life. One of my daily routines is drinking a glass of hot water with lemon in the morning. I also try to drink at least one litre of water during the day. Water also gives energy. I’m a fan of a cold shower, this morning habit, which I took over my grandma, energizes me up and make me feel better. At last, but not least, I’m a “sea girl”, I love the Baltic Sea and can’t imagine living in a place without this beautiful sea sound and view to the horizon.


Water has always been crucial for each organism. I try to start and end each day with it as I instantly feel a lack of it in my body that has a big impact on me. In addition, water seems to be a vital dimension of my summer holiday and many of my beloved sports.


Water is the basis of life in every living organism. It is what we all need to survive. When I was younger I didn't think about water every day. It seemed so obvious, so easily accessible that I did not pay attention to it and I assumed it would always be there. I think this attitude was kind of spoilt some point I decided to change that.. Caring for clean water, clean air, and access to these natural goods that keep us in balance should be a priority for all of us because water is a synonym for life. There is no woods, no food, no singing birds, no us without water.


All the 3 stories were awarded a set of the Programme’s promotional materials related to water.


graphic dedicated to World Water Day