WATER IS LIFE: Protect Lake Vättern

GCI Programme: Water for Life and Peace

Green Cross International & Green Cross Sweden join to protect Vättern

Date: Saturday March 24 2018
Location: Grenna Hotel & Conference, Ribbagårdsgränd 11, Gränna, Sweden

Programme: 13:00 – Protect Vättern event with panel and dialogue | 15:30 – Panel discussion with the Audience | 17:00 Green Cross Sweden Annual Meeting.

The event will feature a keynotes by Hans Sanderson, Senior Scientist and advisor for the National Environmental Research Institute of Denmark, Aarhus University, as well as a performance by Ebbot Lundberg.


Green Cross International and Green Cross Sweden, in cooperation with the Urbergsgruppen Grenna-Norra Kärr, are joining the local groups and individuals working to protect the lake. Green Cross will work together in the region to provide support and to protect Lake Vättern.

The lake supplies 11 Swedish municipalities with drinking water and another five municipalities are soon to connect to the lake. The municipalities of Örebro, Hallsberg, Kumla, Laxå and Lekeberg have recently decided to build an underground tunnel to Vättern to provide their inhabitants with water from Vättern. More than 500,000 households soon will have Lake Vättern water in their taps.

Now, we see threats increasing to the water quality of Lake Vättern. Since the 1920s the Swedish Defense has dumped ammunition in Lake Vättern and a considerable amount lies currently on the bottom of the lake. During the course of history, the military has dumped ammunition at some 300 locations in Sweden. During the 1940s, 50s and 60s the Armed Forces dumped ammunition at 25 places at sea, both on Sweden’s the West and East coasts. Dumping has also taken place in abandoned mines and in several Swedish lakes, including Vättern, Vänern and Mälaren. The total amount of ammunition dumped by the Armed Forces is estimated to be 6,500 tons. Ammunition consists of metals and explosives, especially 2,4,6-trinitrotoluen 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene, also called Trotyl , TNT or Trinitrotoluen. (Source: Swedish Armed Forces and Sweden’s Coast Guard)
The Swedish Armed Forces have been granted permission to utilize Lake Vättern as a shooting range until 2026. According to several Swedish environmental organizations this means that the environment will be affected. The Defense has applied to increase its shooting exercises over the Vättern from 1,000 shots per year to 70,000 shots.

Another major threat to Lake Vättern’s water quality is an enormous mine planned by a foreign company in Norra Kärr, north of the town of Gränna. The purpose is to extract (REE) rare earth metals. According to the company’s own work plans the mining industry area would take up 10 square kilometers of the region. The bedrock must be crushed and approximately only 1% is used and the remainder becomes waste. In the extraction process large amounts of chemicals are used and the bedrock contains radioactive substances, which end up in large waste ponds at 120 meters above sea level. This type of mine poses major risks, for example if a mining pit of waste were to burst it would have disastrous consequences for the water and the environment.
A REE mine in the Norra Kärr area of the lake poses great risks to the protection of Lake Vättern and as drinking water, for surrounding water systems, and as well as all life in the area. In Norra Kärr many people and animals live today. Hundreds of properties exist in the planned mining area.

These emerging developments at Lake Vättern are not in line with Sweden’s good reputation worldwide as a role model and a leader in environmental protection, innovation, climate change adaptation and sustainable development.

The meeting will gather experts and the voices that speak out to stop this destructive development. A dialogue has been organised with a panel of experts, politicians and committed residents.


13:00 – Welcome

Tonia Moya – Executive Director for Green Cross Sweden – opening remarks
Ebbot Lundberg – Artist and Green Cross Chairman – performs during the event

Featured Speakers

Hans Sanderson – Keynote Speaker

Senior Scientist and advisor for the National Environmental Research Institute of Denmark, Aarhus University, Hans Sanderson also serves on the Academic Council. This follows his tenure as Director for Environmental Safety for the Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) in Washington DC. where he implemented the OECD HPV programme, managing the global hazard and screening level risk assessment of the largest OECD category of chemicals (> 30) and the highest annual tonnage (> 1.5 Mill. tons/yr). [Full bio]

John-Olov Fridh – Vice Chairman of Green Cross Sweden
Carina Gustafsson – Chair Urbergsgruppen Grenna-Norra Kärr
Gunilla Högberg-Björck – Environmental Lawyer, GBH Environmental Law

(The speakers are included in the panel)

15:30 – Panel Dialogue with the Audience

Britt-Marie Gyllensvaan – Chair of the Urberg Group Grenna-Norra Kärr
Valter Mutt – Member of the Swedish Parliament
Annika Lillemets – Member of the Swedish Parliament
Peter Persson – Member of the Swedish Parliament
Rolf Wennerhag – Member of the Swedish Parliament

17:00 – Green Cross Sweden Annual Meeting 2018

Led by Major John-Olov Fridh – Vice Chairman of Green Cross Sweden

Read more about Green Cross Sweden.