Scientists investigate the impact of the gas pipeline on the sea

The Ministry of the Environment commissioned additional research in the Gulf of Finland to obtain an objective overview of the impact of the Nord Stream gas pipeline on the Estonian marine environment.

“The envisaged large-scale construction of the gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea could cause significant damage to the Estonian marine environment,” said Jaanus Tamkivi, Minister of the Environment. “The developer does conduct environmental surveys, but it is insufficient for Estonia.”

According to Tamkivi, marine studies are urgently needed in the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland and alongside the length of the Gulf, where the construction can be expected to have the strongest impact on the marine environment. “Our additional surveys should cover the Tallinn-Helsinki line and the marine areas, located eastward of that line in the exclusive economic zone of Estonia,” Tamkivi specified. “These are the areas with the largest extent of expected disturbances in bottom deposits, which, in our opinion, has not been sufficiently covered in the surveys of the Nord Stream project itself.”

The researchers of the Marine Systems Institute at the Tallinn University of Technology, in cooperation with the Estonian Marine Institute at the University of Tartu, started their surveys in May in order to record the condition of the marine environment in the Gulf of Finland before the start of construction of the gas pipeline. They can use the research vessel Salme of the Marine Systems Institute, which has been furnished with the necessary equipment.

During the first stage of research, the scientists collected samples of bottom deposits to determine the heavy metals and dioxins content, assessed the condition of the bottom biota in the immediate vicinity of the pipeline route, measured the properties of the water column and the quality of water (temperature, salinity, oxygen content, turbidity, nutrient content, etc.). They will also analyse the dioxin content in the fish caught from the Gulf of Finland. This all is required to record the pre-construction status.

Further surveys will be conducted during and immediately after the installation of the gas pipeline. The surveys will include measurements of water quality and installation of survey buoys, which will transmit information on the speed of currents, water turbidity, oxygen content, temperature and salinity during the construction of the gas pipeline. There will also be a repeat survey of the deposits and biota, comparable to the pre-construction survey. Additional plans include studying the long-term impact of the gas pipeline after a few years.

The research will be conducted according to the construction schedule of the Nord Stream gas pipeline and it will be financed by the Environmental Research Centre. The cost of this multi-annual project will be over four million Estonian kroons.

Source: Estonian Ministry of the Environment


Unemployment decreased first time in 2 years

According to Statistics Estonia, in the 2nd quarter of 2010, the estimated number of unemployed persons was 128,000 and the unemployment rate 18.6%. Unemployment decreased for the first time after a continuous growth of nearly two years.

The number of unemployed persons, which had continuously been growing since the second half of 2008 and risen to a record high 137,000 persons in the 1st quarter of the current year, decreased by 9,000 persons in the 2nd quarter. The unemployment rate fell from 19.8% to 18.6%. Compared to the same quarter of the previous year, when the unemployed persons numbered 92,000 and the unemployment rate was 13.5%, unemployment was still remarkably bigger in the 2nd quarter of the current year.

Above all, unemployment is a problem among men. Two years ago, the unemployment rate of men as well as that of women were around 4%, but further on unemployment increased especially rapidly among men. In the 1st quarter of the current year, the unemployment rate of men rose to 25.2%. In the 2nd quarter, the unemployment rate of men decreased to 22.6%, but was still considerably higher compared to the unemployment rate of women (14.8%).

Unemployment rate by sex, 1st quarter 2005 – 2nd quarter 2010

Diagram: Unemployment rate by sex, 1st quarter 2005 – 2nd quarter 2010

The number of new unemployed persons was decreasing in the last quarters, but long-term unemployment was still growing. In the 2nd quarter, 58,000 unemployed persons had been looking for a job for one year or more (long-term unemployed), of whom 19,000 had been looking for a job for two years or more (very long-term unemployed). The share of long-term unemployed persons among unemployed persons increased to 46%, the share of very long-term unemployed persons to 15%. The number of persons who had stopped seeking a job or discouraged persons was also bigger in the 2nd quarter than in the 1st quarter (9,000 and 7,000 respectively).

In the 2nd quarter of this year, the estimated number of employed persons was 559,000, which is by 5,000 (0.9%) smaller than in the previous quarter. Employment increased due to seasonal and other temporary jobs typical of the 2nd quarter. The growth in employment was most influenced by the increased number of persons employed in manufacturing; accommodation and food service; real estate; and arts, entertainment and recreation activities. In the 2nd quarter of the current year compared to the same quarter of the previous year, the number of employed persons was by 34,000 (5.7%) smaller.

The unemployment rate is the share of the unemployed in the labour force (sum of employed and unemployed persons). The estimates are based on the data of the Labour Force Survey. Statistics Estonia has been conducting the Labour Force Survey since 1995 and every quarter 5,000 persons participate in it. The Labour Force Survey is carried out by statistical organisations in all European Union Member States on the basis of harmonised methodology.

Source: Statistics Estonia