Browsing by Subject "environmental problems"

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  • Kuukka, Juho J. (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The use of plastics has remarkably increased during the last 50 years. Due to its multi-use possibilities, durability and low cost the use of plastics is expected to double within the next twenty years. Despite the many benefits of plastics, the negative impacts to the environment, such as marine plastic, have raised the public attention and accelerated the demand for legislative action. To respond to these challenges, the European Commission (EC) engaged in developing a set of policies, such as the action plan for circular economy in 2015 which aimed to reduce the use of plastics and to enhance the recycling and reusing of plastics already in circulation. In 2018 the EC introduced a set of revised directives regarding the extended producer responsibility (EPR). I wanted to understand how this revised EPR scheme would be implemented into national legislation, and how it would be confronted by organisations such as ones dealing with wood products. Additionally, I also mapped the potential managerial implications for stakeholders resulting from the implementation of the scheme. I operationalised Primmer's (2011) framework of institutional adaptation which builds on two complementary strands of literature; policy implementation and organisational adaptation. The two focal research questions that derived from the framework were: How did the involved actors recognise and perceive the challenges in 1) implementing and 2) adapting to the extension to the existing EPR scheme in the use of plastic packaging of wood products? The data were collected by conducting seven semi-structured interviews with representatives of stakeholder organisations. The insights were explored and reported from these data via the means of qualitative content analysis. Considering the complexity of policy and the diversity of organisations across Finland – and the European Union, legislators are in a rush to implement the new requirements of the directives into the national legislation. Based on my studies the involved actors recognised the various challenges in the implementation and adaptation processes. There were also expectations that the policy will drive learning and innovation among organisations. Currently, legislation is the major driving factor in the development of plastic recycling and EPR schemes can be a robust legislative tool in attaining the targets, when developed and maintained accordingly.
  • Nygård, Henrik; van Beest, Floris M.; Bergqvist, Lisa; Carstensen, Jacob; Gustafsson, Bo G.; Hasler, Berit; Schumacher, Johanna; Schernewski, Gerald; Sokolov, Alexander; Zandersen, Marianne; Fleming, Vivi (Springer Link, 2020)
    Environmental Management 66(6) (2020)
    Decision-support tools (DSTs) synthesize complex information to assist environmental managers in the decision-making process. Here, we review DSTs applied in the Baltic Sea area, to investigate how well the ecosystem approach is reflected in them, how different environmental problems are covered, and how well the tools meet the needs of the end users. The DSTs were evaluated based on (i) a set of performance criteria, (ii) information on end user preferences, (iii) how end users had been involved in tool development, and (iv) what experiences developers/hosts had on the use of the tools. We found that DSTs frequently addressed management needs related to eutrophication, biodiversity loss, or contaminant pollution. The majority of the DSTs addressed human activities, their pressures, or environmental status changes, but they seldom provided solutions for a complete ecosystem approach. In general, the DSTs were scientifically documented and transparent, but confidence in the outputs was poorly communicated. End user preferences were, apart from the shortcomings in communicating uncertainty, well accounted for in the DSTs. Although end users were commonly consulted during the DST development phase, they were not usually part of the development team. Answers from developers/hosts indicate that DSTs are not applied to their full potential. Deeper involvement of end users in the development phase could potentially increase the value and impact of DSTs. As a way forward, we propose streamlining the outputs of specific DSTs, so that they can be combined to a holistic insight of the consequences of management actions and serve the ecosystem approach in a better manner.
  • Kuprijanov, Ivan; Väli, Germo; Sharov, Andrey; Berezina, Nadezhda; Liblik, Taav; Lips, Urmas; Kolesova, Natalja; Mannio, Jaakko; Lips, Inga; Junttila, Ville (Macmillan, 2021)
    Marine Pollution Bulletin, 170 (2021), 112642
    Contamination by hazardous substances is one of the main environmental problems in the eastern Gulf of Finland, Baltic Sea. A trilateral effort to sample and analyse heavy metals (HMs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and organotins from bottom sediments in 2019–2020 were conducted along with harvesting historical data in Russian, Estonian and Finnish waters. We suggest that the input of organotins still occurs along the ship traffic routes. The tributyltin content exceeded the established quality criteria up to more than 300 times. High contamination by PAHs found near the ports, most likely originate from incomplete fuel incineration processes. The Neva River Estuary and Luga Bay might potentially suffer from severe cadmium contamination. The high ecological risk attributed to the HMs was detected at deep offshore areas. The simulated accumulation pattern qualitatively agrees with field observations of HMs in sediments, demonstrating the potential of numerical tools to tackle the hazardous substances problems.
  • Sademies, Jenni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    In my thesis I analyzed the ongoing discussion about the relationship between economic growth and the environment by the means of content analysis and discourse analysis. As the continuously growing use of natural resources has a connection to many environmental problems, the functioning of the economy is essential when discussing the alternative solutions to environmental problems. I wanted to investigate what the discussion about the relationship between economic growth and the environment includes, and what kind of phenomenon is economic growth represented as. Theoretical frameworks I used were the environmental discourse analyses of Hajer (1995) and Dryzek (2005). I also paid attention to the organizations behind the discourses by classifying the writers due to the organization they represented. The material I used were texts published in the Internet, with no limitations concerning the form of the publication or the publisher. The only limiting factors I used, were the search terms. The material was taken from a database called “Economy and the Environment” (translation from Finnish), and it was not originally collected for this thesis, but for any scientific or educational purposes. I analyzed three discourses in the discussion concerning the relationship of economic growth and the environment: “Belief in growth”, “Green growth” and “Growth critique”. In Belief in growth, economic growth was an intrinsic goal. Pursuit for higher material standard of living was unquestionably a good thing. Belief in growth seemed to be the discourse especially for business interest groups. There were quite many academic writers too, but the academics were not mainly writing in belief in growth discourse, but were also presented in great numbers among the writers of all three discourses. In Green growth discourse economic growth was not an intrinsic goal, but was considered necessary for financing the welfare state. There were hopes that technological development, ecoefficiency and a transformation towards service and information economy would lessen the adverse environmental effects of economic growth. Technology had a major role in Green growth, and it was even seen as a major force itself, solving environmental problems without any role from the users. Amongst the writers of Green growth, Officials and members of the political Green party of Finland were presented in large numbers. In Growth critique discourse endless economic growth was seen impossible on a finite planet, and the ongoing strive for economic growth was seen to cause environmental and social problems. The discourse wanted to change our economic system, so that the pursuit for growth could be abandoned. Abandoning the pursuit for growth was seen also as a question of global equality: the rich countries were hoped to abandon the pursuit for growth, so that the developing countries would have resources left for growth. Compared to other discourses, amongst the writers of Growth critique, NGO’s, social movements, and civilians were presented in large numbers. The discussion about the relationship of economic growth and the environment constituted as a whole in such a way that in the discourses there were expressed opinions about other discourses and their writers. On the other hand, the discussion included many disconnecting elements. This was for example due to the underlying perceptions of environmental problems, and the nature itself, which differed clearly among the three discourses. This finding is convergent with the discourse analyses of Hajer and Dryzek. In Belief in growth environmental problems were local, and mostly described as pollution, which can be removed with the means of cleaning technology. Nature, in this discourse, was a collection of elements which can be used and organized by humans how ever needed. Also in Green growth environmental problems were mostly described as pollution, but the existence of other kinds of environmental problems were recognized as well. In this discourse the global scale existed, as there was a lot of discussion about climate change. In Growth critique environmental problems were seen as one big global crisis, caused by the excessive use of natural resources by humanity. In both, Green growth and Growth critique, nature was seen as a system of which humans are strongly dependent on. The weakest points in the discussion were related to the use of concepts of economics and environmental sciences, and weakly justifiable arguments. In Growth critique, some complicated concepts of economics and environmental sciences were used, which seemed to be poorly understood by the writers of other discourses. Green growth seemed to be suffering of a lack of historical perspective, especially considering the discussion about ecoefficiency, where strong presumptions about the significance of ecoefficiency in reducing the adverse effects of economic growth were made without any historical perspective. In Belief in growth there was incoherence with the concept of economic growth, and means and ends got mixed in the discussion about economic growth and wellbeing. In both Green growth and Belief in growth there were very weakly justified arguments about hopes for information technology and services creating immaterial economy. Interesting topics for future research in Finnish environmental discourse would be the discourse of Green politics, discussion about immaterial economy and the weaknesses in the arguments related to ecoefficiency.