Panevėžys, Lithuania takes action and benefits from investing in the Baltic Sea


As one of the pioneer cities in the Accelerator programme, Panevėžys, Lithuania is taking actions to contribute to a healthier Baltic Sea and they’re also seeing the benefits of their investments in their city.  

Panevėžys is the fifth largest city in Lithuania with 100 000 people living in the municipality. While it is located 100 km from the coast, the “Nevėžis” river weaves through the city for 17 km. Tons of heavy metal-polluted sludge and oil products are discharged into the river and later end-up in the sea, contributing to pollution in the Baltic Sea.

And that is why Panevėžys has taken action, and paved the way for other cities to get involved in managing pollutants running into the Baltic Sea. The city of Panevėžys has made the cleaning of its river a priority.


After clearing out 2 km of the shoreline, over 3750 cubic metres of highly contaminated sludge have been extracted, part of it was used as land-fill and the other part that was polluted by heavy metals has been taken to a specific site for hazardous waste.


  • Biodiversity and restoration - Following the cleaning process, the riverbanks were restored and perennial grass planted. New biodiversity was also introduced in the river, including 340 fishes like pikes, tench, grass carps and hypophthalmichthys. Increased and varied biodiversity has not only improved the local ecosystem, but it has also increased citizen well-being and recreation opportunities for tourists and citizens.

  • Recreation - With a restored river, both the inhabitants of Panevėžys and tourists can enjoy the healthy river.
  • Population's well-being - restoring the river benefits the population by providing increased space for recreation.

This high-impact river cleanup is already the third project that the City of Panevėžys has undertaken since 2007, with the help of EU funding.