No Access to the Water!

Access to the water was prohibited by security officers Access to the water was prohibited by security officers Author: Junna Maltseva.

July, 6th Russian “Friends of the Baltic” team of Race for the Baltic moved from St.Petersburg to the West along the Southern shore of the Gulf of Finland. During this day we found out that to find the access to the shoreline can be a challenging quest even if you are living just near the coast.

Our way lied along the Peterhof highway, which goes along the coastline in 1 to 5 km from the water. On our 25 km long way along the coast our team could not get access to the Gulf of Finland because of various construction works. Even in the coastal areas outside the city limits, which formally have the statuses of cultural heritage area, the access to the water was either prohibited by security officers upon the order of the proprietors (like near the National Congress Palace in Strelna) or just closed with fences or another barriers, like in Mikhailovka and Znamenka manors.

In other places, where people can get access to the water, the area is usually not suitable for swimming and recreation. According to some estimations if you divide the whole length of beaches in St.Petersburg by the number of the citizens, the result will show that there is only 1 cm of beaches per person in the city!

Every year more and more coastal wetlands are being destroyed because of construction of ports, industrial enterprises of residential houses. There are several projects of designed costal nature reserves (like “South shore if the Neva Bay”) which were developed for several years ago, but they are not approved up to nowadays. It gives a chance to the new investors coming with new construction projects, but leaves no chances for natural inhabitants to survive.

During our ride we have crossed rivers Dudergofka, Kikenka, Strelka, Shingarka, flowing from the cleanest springs of Izhora Plato to the Gulf of Finland. These Izhora springs feed the unique fountain system of world-famous Peterhof park for around 300 years now. All fountains in Peterhof play without any electrical or mechanical power – brilliant architects of XVIII century used the system of interconnected vessels while creating the park ensemble. Peterhof hydrosystem of natural and artificial rivers, ponds and canals was damaged during WWII, but was restored after the war. But unfortunately now is suffers from the pollution coming from poultry farms, manure banks up the rivers. Thus the wastewater in coastal municipalities receive too much nutrients and bring it further to the Gulf of Finland, increasing the euthrophication process.

The collaboration between several municipalities along the rivers seems to be the only one efficient method in order to achieve good water status in these rivers and reduce the amount of nutrients flowing down to the Gulf of Finland. The Water Code of Russian Federation grants the access to the coastline to all people. This right should be protected and violations should be monitored by the local government.

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Yandex citirovania