After having become concerned about the condition of the Baltic Sea in 2004, the Board of the John Nurminen Foundation consulted leading experts on the marine environment to find out if the Foundation could play a concrete role in protecting the Baltic Sea. According to the experts, the fastest and most cost-efficient method of improving the condition of the Baltic Sea would be to intervene in the operation of wastewater treatment plants located in its catchment area by intensifying their phosphorus removal.
The three largest wastewater treatment plants in St. Petersburg were chosen as the first target. By making their phosphorus removal more effective, the Gulf of Finland's phosphorus load usable for algae can be reduced by almost 27%. According to the Finnish Environment Institute, this is the quickest and most cost-effective way to improve the open sea condition of the Gulf of Finland, when comparing all possible water protection measures in Finland and Russia. The measure will visibly reduce the algae growth in the Gulf of Finland after just a few years, provided that the other surrounding circumstances do not change considerably.