Removing harmful substances from snow – water cleaning experts Clewat awarded largest sum by the Baltic Sea Project

The Bank of Åland’s Baltic Sea Project receives record number of funding applications

The funding call for the Bank of Åland’s Baltic Sea Project had a very successful year: a record 168 applications came in, and projects to help the Baltic Sea will receive a staggering €500,000 in funding.

Clewat Oy, a company that specializes in cleaning water environments, will receive €130,000, the largest single amount given by the Bank of Åland’s Baltic Sea Project this year. The funding will be used for the development of an innovative new snow melting technique. Embedded in snow, thousands of kilograms of garbage and millions of microplastic particles end up in the Baltic Sea each winter.

The advantage of Clewat’s design is that using it to melt snow produces no carbon emissions at all according to Marko Kärkkäinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Clewat. Clewat’s technology can run entirely on electricity by harnessing the power of flowing water.

“We need effective, environmentally-friendly solutions and lots of expertise to tackle the problems caused by climate change and the loss of biodiversity,” says Kärkkäinen.


Funding for a better Baltic Sea

This winter Clewat has been electrically melting hundreds of truckloads of snow in Helsinki. Their device has been able to filter nearly all garbage out of the snow, from pin heads to bicycles. This year’s funding allows Clewat to begin testing a new, bigger version of their eco-friendly snow melting device on Baltic shores.

Clewat is an environmental technology company that manufactures vessels for cleaning water environments. The vessels can be used to remove plastics, harmful vegetation and oil from waters. The Bank of Åland’s Baltic Sea Project has for a number of years supported Clewat in its quest to improve the state of the Baltic Sea.

“The Baltic Sea is our home sea. We have to get serious about protecting our sea now, and then we can take our proven solutions and apply them to seas around the world,” says Kärkkäinen.

Anne-Maria Salonius, chairperson of the jury at the Baltic Sea Project and Head of Finland Division at the Bank of Åland, is delighted to see the variety and creativity of the projects looking to help the Baltic Sea.

“We’re so happy we can make all these impactful projects become a reality. Together we can make a difference,” Salonius says.


Wetlands, research projects, youth involvement

The city of Mariehamn will receive €80,000 from the Baltic Sea Project for the construction of a wetland at Svinby. The wetland is meant to reduce nutrient pollution that causes eutrophication, improve the local marine environment and increase biodiversity.

“We need all kinds of actions, big and small, if we’re to have a healthy Baltic Sea,” says Ulf Simolin, environmental coordinator for Mariehamn.

The Finnish Environment Institute SYKE will receive €42,000 for researching the amount of plastics in seabird nests and for environmental clean-up. Both seabirds and the environment at large suffer from the effects of plastic waste.

“I’m absolutely thrilled that I can work on a project that is about birds and helping them, as they’ve been my passion for half a century,” says Seppo Knuuttila, a special researcher on the project.

The Baltic Sea Project also funds projects for children and youth, and this year’s project is the Water Kit Backpack project by Rotary District 1410, whose aim is to get children interested in the state of the environment and their local waters. The Water Kit Backpack project will receive €5,000 from the Bank of Åland’s Baltic Sea Project.

“The funding allows us to compile the required materials and distribute products and information related to the project. Previously it’s all been done on a communal basis,” says Rotary district governor Anita Häggblom.


The Bank of Åland supports its long-time partners

The jury of the Baltic Sea Project makes funding decisions with an eye to long-term collaboration with a variety of people. So, it is this year as well that the Baltic Sea Project supports its long-time partners, this time with a total of €200,000. Funding targets include the Baltic Sea Action Group, the John Nurminen Foundation and Race for the Baltic.

Baltic Sea Project funding is based on the amount of deposits on the Bank of Åland’s Baltic Sea Accounts. Each year the Bank of Åland donates to environmental protection a sum equaling up to 0.2% of all deposits on Baltic Sea Accounts. In 2020 the funding call for the Baltic Sea Project was held for the sixth time. The Bank of Åland has donated nearly €2,800,000 to environmental causes over the years.

“The annual funding call and the projects and people we support give each of our customers a concrete way to help the Baltic Sea and the environment through their deposits,” says Anne-Maria Salonius.


Results for the Bank of Åland’s Baltic Sea Project 2020

Vahtolanlahti Bay restoration plan, €5,500

Save the Baltic Sea – Water Kit Backpack, €5,000

Ådans vänner, €10,000

Clewat, Project Snowhow, €130,000

The city of Mariehamn, Svibyå wetland, €80,000

Syke, Plastics in seabird nests, €42,000

Baltic Sea Action Group, €80,000

Race for the Baltic, €50,000

WWF, €25,000

John Nurminen Foundation, €80,000