The Council of Ministers has asked the European Commission to present, "without delay", proposals to ban phosphates in detergents, starting with laundry detergents for domestic use. Its request comes in the conclusions adopted on 22 December by the Environment Council on regional approaches to management of water and the marine environment, which also addresses the implementation of the EU strategy for the Baltic Sea region. The phenomenon of eutrophication - the asphyxiation' of waters due to a high level of phosphorus, which encourages the development of algae - is a particular threat to the Baltic. The Council conclusions recognise the "critical" environmental situation in the Baltic, so critical as to "necessitate urgent action". The text calls for the region to be made a pilot project in accordance with the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD, Directive 2000/60/EC) and invites the Commission to...

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