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UBC Environmental Commission, the Lead Partner of the project PURE, had a Commission meeting last week in Mariehamn, Åland, in association with the UBC General conference. During the event the Head of Mariehamns Environmental Department Jan Westerberg, who recently retired, gave a short overview on Mariehamns environmental work and Mariehamns participation in PURE project.

“Taking control of environmental impact and sustainability is important for small and medium sized municipalities - providing that most other towns and villages do the same. The problem, then, is to decide what is environmentally necessary, technically possible and financially feasible at the small town level.”

Mariehamn has been a forerunner in environmental issues and Mr. Westerberg pointed out one solution for small and medium size cities to improve their environmental status:” The answer is benchmarking! By studying other municipalities and comparing them to our own performance, we can find an acceptable level in environment saving investments.”

Mariehamn and Mr. Westerberg have been responsible for producing one of the PURE projects’ outputs; PURE BenchMark online tool. It has been developed for practical needs of wastewater treatment plants and municipalities. Mr. Westerberg describes the tool and Mariehamns participation to the PURE project: “With the PURE-project, we were given the possibility to gather information from municipalities all over the Baltic Sea area. Mariehamn was given the responsibility to develop a webbased tool for gathering and benchmarking data, straight from municipalities and waste water treatment plants. Today, simple data collection by internet has been made possible.” Mr. Westerberg reminded that marketing work of this new online tool is necessary. In addition he thanked among others UBC network and, of course, financial support from the European Union. He commented the successful work done in PURE project by stating:”PURE-project is, to my judgment, one of the most concrete initiatives, ever, to fight Baltic Sea pollution, mainly because of the information activities of the UBC Environment network and concrete performance improving measures made in existing waste water treatment plants within the Baltic Sea area.”