Hundreds of Christmas trees thrown into Stockholm’s glacial waters: an idea to reduce the impact of the holidays on the environment

In Sweden, there has been a sports fishing association for several years, Sportfiskarnawho decided to do his part to solve one of the most common problems of the post-holiday period: store or recycle Christmas decorations. In fact, many families buy trees and garlands for December without knowing what to do with them after the arrival of the new year, with the risk that many of them will be badly disposed of and cause further damage to nature. Sportfiskarna managers have instead decided, starting in 2016, to follow the virtuous example of some American communities and collect trees intended for pulping or waste collection and use them in construction. environmental remediation.

As he states Malin Kjellinthe creator of this initiative, come evergreen trees that have not been sprayed with pesticides thrown into the glacial waters of the Stockholm Seaprovide a welcoming environment for marine life, while uncertified or chemically treated trees are distributed across the country, planted in private gardens or converted into energy.

This idea won the approval of both the Swedish government and the environmental associations themselves, who praised Kjellin for actively contributing to solving the problems caused by Christmas consumption which pushes many people to not dispose of the trees properly and often leave them in the countryside or on the streets.

This year, Sportfiskarna also invited its members to further limit the ecological damage caused by this market rent trees than buying them. The rented saplings still have roots, they can be used for several years and at the end of the holidays they are replanted or taken back to specialized nurseries, thereby eliminating the ecological costs associated with the production of new saplings and their disposal.

Every year, hundreds of millions of Christmas trees are produced and disposed of around the world, which have a high environmental cost and often die shortly after the holidays. In Italy, according to estimates of Coldiretti, every year they are From November to December, 13.7 million trees were soldwhile only in 25 million trees were sold on the East Coast of the United States.

“Despite what it may seem, throwing trees into the sea is not a form of pollution,” assures Kjellin together with ecologists. Some time ago, a large number of plants ended up in the Baltic Sea and in the depths of other polar seas after uprooting as a result of the action of storms, the movement of ice caps and the action of rivers. This material ended up at sea and sank below the surface of the sea served as a fish nursery whereas a large number of species laid their eggs between the branches.

With the overbuilding of the Scandinavian coast and global warming reducing the amount of plant material reaching the seabed via glaciers and rivers, However, fish and many other organisms began to suffer changing their habitat in which they could reproduce in peace.

By throwing away Christmas trees, but also mistletoe garlands and other plant decorations that had not come into contact with paints or toxic substances, Kjellin and his collaborators began to restore part of these marine ecosystems and contributed to reduce the impact of holidays on the environment. In this way, since 2016, Sportfisk√°rna has managed to dive around 1,000 spruce specimens (Picea abies) in the seas of Stockholm, as well as saving hundreds of other specimens spread out in various gardens.

Videos of submerged trees that have been filmed in recent years have already proven that this action is effective. Fir trees survive underwater for long periods of time due to extremely low temperatures and low salinity. And in the videos you can see several fish larvae moving between the branches. For this reason, at Christmas, the members of the sports association exchange greetings for the new year by sending each other these videos. Fish that are born between the branches of these trees they are also very important for the survival of cetaceans. In fact, the dolphins of the Baltic and North Seas feed on these fish, which were born under the lucky star of environmentalism.

Among the most enthusiastic supporters of this initiative are Yvonne Blomback, a WWF associate in Stockholm and passionate about marine biology. The fish that were seen around the submerged firs are very important to the ecosystem, he said, and are part of the food chain that helps keep the algae in check, which can generally cause a lot of damage in such an enclosed sea. Baltic Sea .

Apparently, experts reiterate that this solution is only effective in certain contexts, such as the Scandinavian ones. Starting to dump natural Christmas trees near the Mediterranean coast or inland lakes could actually prove counterproductive, if not harmful, given that not all ecosystems are equipped to reuse this material. We have to remember that too Picea abies is not present in the entire European (or American) territory and that “throwing” the tree out into the wild will eventually turn out to be alien species not really a smart choice if you want to protect local species and biodiversity.

This solution can only prove effective under the guidance and supervision of trained personnel and when disposing of a small number of firs. This is the case for the Baltic Sea itself it is unthinkable for nature to get rid of tens of thousands of fir trees every year they throw them into the seabed also because this material slowly destroys other organisms that need some time to do their work.

In Italy, there are other solutions for the disposal of Christmas decorations. First of all, door-to-door waste collection. Several collection agencies organize special collections after the holidays, which allow all citizens to get rid of natural trees in an ecological and economical way. As for the location plastic trees they must be disposed of in unsorted waste or plastic, depending on your municipality. We therefore recommend that you contact your municipal collection points and clarify any doubts.

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