Blog texts in English

This year's AWARE Helsinki was a great success
Thank you to all, who had the courage to dive. Thank you to all those brave, who took care of everything practical and messy and hurried and harried on the shore during the event. Thank you to Tikke Tuura, who made such a staggering art work of all the trash. Thank you to our great specialists Minna Sarantola-Weiss and Jaana Tyynismaa for their excellent comments. Thank you to our super band Dimjami for great music. Thank you to all, who made this possible, companies, organizations, associations, divers, friends and all helsinkians, who came to see and help with our project.

Let's do this again next year!
We got some wonderful comments from from people, who came to AWARE. One example here: "It was the wisest thing in a long time to take the children to this event. The children's faces and comments were really serious, when they saw what amount of trash was brought up from the bay.  The damages of the debris were well explained and became very clear. This the most effective environmental lesson ever! Thank you!" Päivi Nieminen



All Helsinkians are warmly welcome to help clean up the sea and build together with artist Kristiina (Tikke) Tuura something interesting of all the debris the divers clean up from the sea.
Come and listen to good music by our band Dimjami. 
Come and listen to interesting comments from our specialists. They will tell us about the history of the debris, about what the found things can do in the sea and what is good, ecologically sustainable design. 
You will learn about ways your daily choices can help and protect the Baltic Sea. 
You are all warmly welcome



 Time: Saturday 6th September at 11:00 - 15:00

Place: Tokoinranta
Address: Eläintarhantie 12
GPS: Lat - Long 60.179929, 24.940943

To all those coming to dive:  the following info is necessary.

 Equipment: You need to have ALL your gear with you. There are no rental equipment or tanks available at the site.
Helsingin Sukelluskeskus (HSK) offers full rental equipment set for 15 euros and tank fill for air for free.

Equipment reservations and rentals: directly to HSK or phone 045-1300805. Visiting address: Lauttasaarentie 15

When you arrive: you have to register at the registration desk, remember to bring your dive licence and insurance cards along!

How to arrive by car: At the same time there is a Tough Viking triathlon race going on in the area, so all cars will be directed by our officials to the dive site, where you can unload you gear. The cars must be parked on the other side of Eläintarhantie, where there is a large parking lot available.

Food and drink: Wärtsilä offers beverages and snacks at restaurant Piritta to all the divers.

Evening party to all divers: remember to sign in on the evening's party (same evening, Saturday 6th) at 19:00 at restaurant Virgin Oil. During the party, we have a lottery for all those, who were diving in the AWARE-event. Registration to HSK e-mail: or phone 045-1300805. You can see the menus available at our facebook page or you can ask about them, when you register. OBS! latest registration to dinner 29.8.
We need volunteer officials to following tasks:

1. Traffic management 

2. Registration desk

3. Clerks to record all the debris (this year we collect detailed data of all the debris found, the clerks will receive detailed instructions of how this is done). This year's debris balance will be sent to the AWARE-foundation, which will add this data into a large international database, which is available for researchers.

4. Assistants to watch over divers' equipment after unloading from the cars.

5. Assistants to the pier area to watch over the divers and assist them in entering and exiting water
6. Assistants to transfer the debris to our specialists, who will tell the public about the found object and from there to artist Tikke Tuura, who is making an installation of the debris.

Volunteers do not have to be divers, all enrollments to HSK e-mail: and thanking you so kindly in advance for your important contribution to the event!



Why is rainwater in a city so dangerous?

How often when walking in a city during a rain do you think about, where does all the rainwater, the trash from the streets, the spilled oil from cars, cigarette butts, dog poo and all the stuff that I don't even want  talk about here - where does it all go?

In Helsinki central area there is a so called common sewerage. This means that all sewerage water coming from housing and buildings as well as all the rainwater going into rainwater sewerage is going via the same mainlines into a water treatment plant. During rains the water amounts increase considerably, which can cause problems. Also sand and other materials can block the rainwater sewerage. If all water cannot run through the pipings, some of it will be led directly into the local environment. However this is quite unusual in the Helsinki area thanks to better pipework and treatment plants, but not unheard of.

For the central Helsinki this sounds all nice and good, but the actual fact is that the main part of Helsinki area's rainwaters are included in a so called separate sewerage system.

Outside the city center all rainwater sewerage is separate from that of household waters and house piping. Thus all rainwater is led directly into local ditches, brooks or directly into the sea. The main part of Helsinki rainwater piping is in a so called separate sewerage system. This separate sewerage does make the water treatment plants' operation much easier.

If politicians and communal technicians are asked, they mainly consider this solution a most functional one and we are not forced to pay additional taxes, in order to get rain- and street waters cleaned as well.  One might ask, what could we leave undone instead, if the sewerage system would collect a larger part of rainwater into water treatment plants? One might also ask how much cleaner would the Helsinki area's waterways become if this was actually done? How many of the beaches now closed down due to cyanobacterium, could actually be open? I claim that this a point where political 
interests, such as one's own conspicuousness, efficient lobbyists, who urge on with most peculiar solutions, such as we can at the moment wonder in the Guggenheim scheme, play a very important role. Has there ever truly been any estimates done about how much the city might benefit from rain water treatment? How many less allergy treatments, how much less car driving for finding a nice shore line spot, how much less irritation and discontent would we earn instead?

On the other hand via the rainwater sewerage the city's brooks obtain water, which enliven our environment. All the trash and dog poo is washed out into these brooks. For example one should never wash a car on an asphalted court yard, as all the detergent will run into the rainwater sewerage and from there into the nature. Everything you drop on the streets or spill on the pavements will strain the city brooks and sea - our own urban environment. These are things, in which everyone can make a important act in environmental protection.  But in order to get clean rainwaters into our waterways this might not be enough.

Why are street waters so dirty?
The waters rinsed down from the streets contain several kinds of impurities. An important load comes from the particles which are rinsed from the air with the rain. This is caused by fossil fuel usage in energy production and from the industrial and traffic emissions. The traffic causes also directly different kinds of loads on the streets - for example oil, dust which is caused by brake pads and other eroding parts and particles due to metal erosion. The particle emissions caused by one car are rather small, but all the traffic in cities causes enormous amounts of particle loads. In winter the salt used to prevent the ice on the roads and the dust loosened by the studded tires cause big amounts of particle loads and dirt. Very important street water messers are pets, as the main part of the bacteria in the street waters is caused by pet poo. All litter dropped on the streets, pet poo and even plant remnants (cut grass, tree branches) are transported by the rainwaters into the brooks and from there in Helsinki's case into the sea, one of the finest environmental features of our city. 

Would it not be better to invest in efficient information about why one should not litter the streets and why  the development of a common sewerage system despite the costs, are in the long run real environmental acts?

Are plastic corks food mummy?
I've been foaming about plastic problems before, well sorry guys here's more. The problems with plastic are many, but especially complicated are the facts that plastic does not decompose, it looks interesting and often even resembles the foodstuffs of some animals (sea turtles, birds etc.) and as the natural food resources are fast disappearing, well plastic seems like an option. Also sometimes it almost looks like a good idea to have birds using plastic in their nests, but well the chicks don' t understand that you really should not swallow that stuff. This film says it all.

Midway Island north Pacific 

The world map according to Trasher
This is what this whole blog is about; the trash we throw into the waterways all over the world. It's actually not that difficult to point a finger...just take a mirror and you'll see one right there.
We will try to make a change, and this year's Helsinki AWARE is a step in that direction. Join us on Saturday 6th from 11.00- 15.00 at Tokoinranta and we'll contribute something impressive from Helsinki onto this map
Debris Map

Throw em with an egg this easter
It's the chocolate over eating season approaching again. How about showing your fantastic farsightedness and intelligence this year by offering different kinds of easter eggs. You have plenty of choice  AND you can choose a rabbit, in honor of easter, if you feel like it or even better, if the recipient is someone, who really likes rabbits.

Do you know how much plastic goes around in your body?

These tiny plastic granules, or pieces can be found in the most surprising products; toothpaste, facial cleaning lotions, baby products. No one know exactly, how these microscopic pieces of plastic effect humans and animals. Plastic does not decompose, but it becomes brittle and specially, when it gets into water - breaks into smaller and smaller fragments. The end result could be that these microscopic  particles will penetrate into the bloodstream and thus into inner organs - definitely. What happens after that?

list of products containing micro granules

World's biggest manta ray sanctuary to Indonesia
This is such good news for a beautiful, docile animal, who really has no way on defending itself. As sharks are already disappearing with such alarming speed that many species cannot be saved; the manta ray has become an object of relentless poaching! I do not know all the reasons for the drawing for shark fin soup, medicine and whatever. Of course money is the big, big issue. Poaching will continue as long as the countries, where there is an ever increasing demand for these product: do nothing in practice. China is the leading buyer of illegal shark fins, and now even manta ray fins. As many shark species are hard to catch, due to the decreasing numbers, the poachers are finding alternatives, and manta rays are easy to catch. They are rather slow, and very docile. You can actually rub their bellies, while they pass you by on their feeding expeditions. DO not touch though. I have seen screaming red, inflamed hand marks on the underside of a manta ray. Human hands are not clean, and we have a special collection of bacteria on our skin, which protects us, but can be infectious to manta rays.  We all can act and protect the marine life, do not throw litter in the sea, not even a cigarette stub. Do not buy tuna in cans, or even otherwise actually. I don't know one single large marine animal anymore, which is not under threat of extinction. Thank you Indonesia!
World's largest manta ray sanctuary in Indonesia

Who did you say was the killing machine?
There really is nothing to add to the pictures behind this link, except maybe that we really should stop this and please scroll the pic all the way down. Even in the Nordic countries people can do something with their own choices; do not buy tuna, get cottage cheese instead if you need the protein.

humans versus sharks

Tha Atlantic shark face extinction

The ugly journey of trash - into the stomach

No one knows exactly how much trash finds its way into the waterways, bit the estimates are at the moment are over six million tons per year. One reason for the divers' AWARE-campaigns is to collect more precise information of, what type of debris is thrown into the seas. Every piece of trash the divers bring up is documented, and this data is forwarded to AWARE-foundation, from where the data collected from all over the world is available for researchers. Also AWARE-foundation can use this data to pressure communities and even governments to examine their waste treatment and to improve it.

The Baltic Sea oxygen levels are still very poor

There is a lot to be done, the agricultural discharges are way too high, also the cities on the Baltic catchment basin do not really take properly care of their sewage and even less about the rainwater and other surface discharges. Also people's own choices can make a huge difference.
Baltic Sea oxygen levels this winter

Do you want to know what's on Helsinki area's sea floor?

The Helsinki area's sea bottom in filled with garbage!! And I mean really full. Last year 20 divers gathered within less than four hours with zero visibility and mainly by touch a dolly more than half full of trash, junk and dangerous refuse. In addition to the hundreds of beer and booze bottles, the divers lifted up two car batteries, broken motorboat windows, a metal buggy, fish line, plastic rope, pieces of piping (the metal alloy not identified), plastic bags, plastic covered cable, plastic containers, cans etc. The chemicals and heavy metals, which have dissolved into the water can be felt on everybody's body, if you just dip into this kind of water, and believe me, it isn't healthy and is easily absorbed through the skin.

Let's make an about-turn! Come to a really good event, where we clean up the sea shore and - floor in Tokoinranta, Helsinki to make a change in the situation. Let's make the Helsinki shores and waters a real object of pride and joy for everyone in Helsinki!

As you can see, the unhappy fact with world oceans is that you don't find new fish species in deep oceans anymore - you find garbage!

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