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Ilmatsala river polluted
Friday, March 12, 2004

One of the most polluted rivers of the Peipsi sub-basin is the River Ilmatsalu and therefore it is facing severe European measures - the water body, currently evaluated as non-satisfactory, must be in a good condition by the year 2015.

According to the opinion of Peeter Marksoo, who is drawing up a management plan for Lake Peipsi sub-basin in connection with the EU requirements, the phosphorus and nitrogen content as well as the level of organic pollution is too high in the River Ilmatsalu.

An insufficient amount of samples have yet been taken from the river and the condition of the river requires further study. According to Marksoo’s opinion the state of the river is affected by a fish farm and the intensive farming system.

Requirements for amelioration of the condition of the River Ilmatsalu will also be set out in the Lake Peipsi sub-basin management plan to be completed next year. Marksoo did not exclude that these measures might set limits to the economic activities of some of the entrepreneurs operating in the vicinity of the river. Lauri Aaspõllu, a partner of OÜ Ilmatsalu Kala, derided suspicions around the pollution of the River Ilmatsalu. According to Aaspõllu, carp farming purifies nature. «The outgoing water of the Ilmatsalu fish farm is cleaner than the incoming water,» he assured. «All this can be proved by laboratory tests.» However, Aaspõllu and Maarsoo do agree that the water of the River Ilmatsalu is very polluted indeed, even before the fish farm on the lower reaches of the river.

In Aaspõllu’s opinion, the residual pollution, dating back to the Soviet regime, rather than the agricultural manufacturers currently operating in the vicinity of the river should be blamed for causing the pollution. He added that, to a great extent, the six reservoirs also located upstream from the fish farm and the people living on the shores of the reservoirs are responsible for the problems of the River Ilmatsalu. There have been attempts to dredge the reservoirs-artificial lakes but they are still being overgrown. In the course of the last dredging, the lake sludge was activated and it released supplementary pollution.

Summarised from Nils Niitra’s article published in the Postimees newspaper on 12 March.


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