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Stoll, F. (EUCC - The Coastal Union Germany): Estimating and reducing the discharge of pharmaceutical substances into the South Baltic, Coastal and Marine (28 (2019-2)). Coastal & Marine Union (EUCC), Leiden/Rostock, 2019.


A major problem in Europe is the immense amount of chemicals
being released into our water bodies via wastewater treatment
plants (WWTPs). Of special concern are the pharmaceuticals
specified in two recent EU watch lists of substances for Union-wide
and 2018/840). Concerning human medicines, the consumption
phase is considered to be the biggest contributor to the discharge
of medicinal products into the environment, notably through
excretions and incorrect disposal of unused medicines through
sinks and toilets that then reach the environment via wastewater
treatment effluents.
The MORPHEUS project investigated pharmaceutical consumption,
existing wastewater treatment technologies and environmental
occurrence of 15 selected pharmaceutical substances (e.g.
heart medicines, painkillers and antibiotics) in four model areas
in the South Baltic: Skåne (Sweden), Mecklenburg (Germany),
Pomerania (Poland) and Klaipeda (Lithuania).

Knowledge of the ecological sensitivity of the receiving
water, in relation to the chemical concentrations and loads,
allowed for an easier prioritization of where advanced treatment
initially should be installed. An overview of advanced treatment
technologies was provided by the project to help understand both
possibilities and limitations of the technologies available on today’s
Altogether, the knowledge obtained in the MORPHEUS project
intends to aid wastewater treatment plants and authorities with the
future implementation of the most suitable advanced treatment
technology at the most appropriate sites with the overall goal that
they can then make as wise and knowledge-based investments as
possible. This will help improve the water quality of the South Baltic
For detailed information on the project results that are presented
in this issue, please find the full reports on the project’s website at

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