The Gulf of Finland is surrounded by three countries: Finland, Russia, and Estonia. It is an extension of the Baltic Sea on its east most side. The Finish city of Helsinki is on the coast of the Gulf of Finland. Similarly, the cities of Tallinn in Estonia and St. Petersburg of Russia are on the coast of the Gulf of Finland.
The Gulf covers an area of about 12,000 square miles, and its widest point is 81 miles wide, while its maximum length is 250 miles. The average depth is 125 feet deep and the deepest point measures 277 feet deep. The Gulf was named as a Ramsar Wetland on September 13th, 1994.
Estonia lies to the southern region of the Gulf and has numerous islands. About 100 of the numerous Islands on the Gulf of Finland are found in the Estonian waters. There are several small islands and relatively larger ones. The landscapes of these islands are the same as those found in the northern coastal plains of Estonia. However, other islands like Vaike-Bakri, Suur-Pakri, and Osmussaar Islands were formed on bedrock, and their landscapes are similar to those found in the northern Estonian plateau.
Beryozovye Islands refers to a group of islands also known as Berezovye Islands. They are in Leningrad oblast in Russia and situated on the Gulf of Finland near the town of Primorsk at the Karelian Isthmus. They are composed of 15 islands, and the largest one is known as Bolshoy Beryozovy. The area covered by all the islands is 35 square miles, and it stretches along the coast covering a distance of 124 miles. The islands are part of the protected areas as bird sanctuaries, and they were designated as a Ramsar site 1994.
Gogland, also known as Hogland, is a Russian Island found in the Gulf of Finland lying some 112 miles to the west of Saint Petersburg, and only 22 miles away from the Finland coast. The island covers an area of 8.1 square miles, and its highest point is 568 feet high above the sea level. Administratively, the island is under the Leningrad oblast. Initially, the island was occupied by ethnic Finns dating back to the 16th century. However, the island changed hands several times throughout its long history. At one time it was part of the kingdom of Sweden which at the time exercised control over Finland. In 1713, the island was taken by the Russian Empire under the leadership of Tsar Peter I, who built the first lighthouse on the island in 1723.
Kotka is a major seaport town and an industrial city in Finland located in the Gulf of Finland in the province of Kymenlaakso. The town is located at the mouth of Kymi River. The population in Kotkar region has been decreasing gradually over the years because part of the population moved to the Helsinki region.
Pollution in the Gulf of Finland
The Gulf of Finland has been adversely affected by pollution, and high levels of copper and mercury ions have been detected in the water. Other contaminants include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, petroleum products, phenols, and organochlorine pesticides. Water cleaning was started in Saint Petersburg in 1979, and 74% of the wastewater in 1997 was purified. As of 2005, about 85% of the wastewater was purified, and it increased to 91.7% by the year 2008. It had been anticipated to reach 100% by the year 2011. However, by 2008 it was announced that all the beaches in Saint Petersburg were not fit for swimming.