The Interreg Baltic Sea Region Project “NonHazCity” (“Innovative management solutions for minimizing emissions of hazardous substances from urban areas in the Baltic Sea Region”, 2016-2019) aimed to demonstrate possibilities to reduce emissions of HS. The main focus was on emissions from small scale emitters in urban areas that cannot be controlled by traditional water treatment and enforcement techniques: private households, offices, schools and daycares, recreational facilities, and businesses that are connected to the urban wastewater plants.
The NonHazCity consortium consisted of eighteen partners from nine municipalities and expert organisations in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) that have taken responsibility to find new ways to tackle the large number of emissions of hazardous substances from small and scattered sources in their urban territories. In addition, a network of 23 associated organisations including other municipalities, water utilities companies, national and international environmental authorities, and non-governmental organisations supported them.
NonHazCity implemented four work packages – the first one aimed at gaining new knowledge and evidence on HS occurrence in pilot municipalities participating in the project. The three other work packages were designed to initiate HS reduction in municipalities, businesses and private households. Strategic chemical risk reduction goals were set as a part of Chemical Action Plans (CAPs) developed by the partner municipalities. Information campaigns and trainings addressing the different stakeholders were carried out and are parts of the CAPs. A group of businesses using products containing HS in their operations were addressed and concrete reduction measures worked out (e.g. hair dressers, cleaning services, car repair shops, hotels and offices). Furthermore, intensive information campaigns addressing the inhabitants of the partner cities were implemented – public events, information materials, music competitions, (social) media campaigns, and direct consultancy at household checks were performed. NonHazCity has reached more than 15 000 inhabitants face-to-face in its events and more than 150 000 persons by its social media campaign.
- City of Stockholm (lead partner)
- City of Västerås
- Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
- Turku University of Applied Sciences
- Pärnu City Government
- Pärnu Water
- Baltic Environmental Forum Estonia
- Riga City
- Baltic Environmental Forum Latvia
- University of Gdańsk
- Municipality of Gdańsk
- Gdańsk Water Utilities
- Baltic Environmental Forum Lithuania
- Klaipėda regional environmental department
- Kaunas District Municipality
- Šilalė District Municipality
- Institute of Applied Ecology
- Baltic Environmental Forum Germany
Associated municipal entities from Turku, Hamburg and Lübeck.
About Think Before
Information campaign “Think before” started in the frames of the project “Baltic Info Campaign on Hazardous Substances” (LIFE 10 INF/EE/108) that was co-financed with the contribution of the LIFE+ financial instrument of the European Community in the years 2011-2015.
Why were we campaigning?
- We believe that we can avoid or reduce the risk of being harmed by hazardous substances if we make good choices on the everyday products we use.
- We rarely think about it, but everyone is continuously exposed to a high variety of chemicals. They are contained for example in our toothpaste, shampoo, clothing, kitchenware, furniture and even children’s toys. Some of these chemicals may be hazardous and could cause damage to health or the environment.
- We come into contact with these substances directly when using different products or we can also be exposed via the environment through air, drinking water or our food.
- We as consumers are also responsible for the existence of hazardous substances in our products and their emissions to our living and natural environment. We have the power to change the market demand by making better choices and exert pressure on companies manufacturing these products.
START NOW. THINK BEFORE YOU BUY!
NGOs, universities and businesses in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Germany teamed up to start an international info campaign on hazardous substances. Our aim was to campaign for every consumer to be able to make an informed and better choice about everyday-products.
We selected very widely used everyday products such as cosmetics, baby care products, toys, household chemicals, construction materials and car care products and explained which hazardous substances could be contained in them, what could be their effects and how they could be avoided. This was meant to support awareness raising on the issue of hazardous substances, training on making informed choices and motivate all users of this information to increase pressure on the manufacturers of these products.
We aimed to:
- give a general overview of the health and environmental problems related to the use of hazardous substances;
- inform about which hazardous chemicals can be found in different everyday products and;
- give advice how to find safer alternatives and minimize the exposure from hazardous chemicals.
What did we do?
- We tested different types of products, blood and house dust for particularly hazardous substances. This was meant to show that substances which have been used in the past and partly are not allowed on the market today are still found in the human bodies;
- We compiled info materials and conduct trainings for businesses (hair dressers, car repair shops and retailers of construction products) to educate them and raise their awareness about hazardous chemicals in the products they use or sell and teach them how to choose or offer safer alternatives;
- We published information materials about hazardous chemicals in different product groups;
- We advocated for stronger regulations and control on the use of hazardous chemicals;
- We compiled teaching materials for future teachers and integrate a pilot lessons about hazardous chemicals into their curriculum;
- We organized information days and seminars for different audiences to inform, educate and give advice how to choose safer alternatives, avoid exposure to hazardous chemicals and protect our environment.
We would like to thank our great team:
Project coordinator Baltic Environmental Forum Estonia is non-governmental organization with long experience in safe management of hazardous chemicals, public awareness raising and other environmental activities. BEF Estonia is part of the BEF Group network. In the project they are also responsible for awareness raising among policy makers.
Non-governmental organization Baltic Environmental Forum Latvia is a member of BEF Group network with long experience in safe management of hazardous chemicals, public awareness raising and other environmental activities. As a project partner BEF Latvia is coordinating activities involving businesses and consumer awareness raising on hazardous chemicals in everyday products.
Non-governmental organization Baltic Environmental Forum Lithuania is a member of BEF Group network with long experience in safe management of hazardous chemicals, public awareness raising and other environmental activities. As a project partner BEF Lithuania is involved in activities promoting hazardous substances- free living environment and coordinating a blood, dust and selected product testing campaign.
Women in Europe for a Common Future is an international network of over 100 women’s, environmental and health organisations advocating globally for a healthy environment for all. WECF is sharing their knowledge and experience with different campaigns and helping to strengthen the voices of Baltic NGOs in being more active to protect the rights of consumers and lobbying for more stricter chemicals regulations.
Liepaja University is one of the biggest universities in Latvia offering more than 40 study programs. They are helping to develop teaching materials for future teachers in Latvia.
Tallinn University is the third largest university in Estonia providing higher education in humanities, social, natural and exact sciences for nearly 10 000 students. They are helping to develop teaching materials for future teachers in Estonia.
AS Rautakesko Latvia & Rautakesko AS Estonia. Rautakesko is the leading trade company of building materials, home and garden products in Northern Europe, with also retail branches in Estonia and Latvia. K-rauta Estonia and K-Rauta Latvia is helping to raise the awareness of their clients about possible hazardous chemicals in contruction materials, helps to inform and educate their clients about safer alternatives .
VFS Films is one of the most experienced independent film production companies in Latvia mainly specializing in creative documentaries, they are creating different video clips to illustrate and visualise the issue of hazardous chemicals in product to general public.
Who funded the campaign?
European Union’s LIFE+ Information and Communication programme
Latvian Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development
Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania
Progress of the project
Inception Report (LIFE10 INF/EE/108): covering activities 01.10.2011 – 31.05.2012
Mid-term Report (LIFE10 INF/EE/108): covering activities 1.04.2012 – 30.04.2013
Progress Report (LIFE10 INF/EE/108): covering activities 1.05.2013 – 30.04.2014