The Baltic Sea is threatened by a major environmental crisis unless the Russian-German gas pipeline, planned to carry Russian gas to Europe along its seabed, is re-directed to pass overland, said Swedish prime minister Goran Persson at a recent meeting on the Baltic island of Gotland.
Persson warned that the North European gas pipeline would stir up the chemical wastes accumulated in the Baltic seabed over decades of dumping weapons, wastes and sunken ships; it may also set off mines on the seabed, said media reports. Persson thus called on the consortium behind the project (Russia's natural gas monopoly Gazprom and two German firms) to reconsider the project's route. The 1,200-km pipeline is scheduled to begin operating in 2010. Apart from environmental concerns, the project could also worsen Russia's ties with neighbouring countries, because the pipeline bypasses traditional shipment routes that pass through Poland, Ukraine and other Baltic states.
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