The human race is constantly consuming more goods and hence producing more waste. Unfortunately, this increasing amount of waste produced is not being efficiently collected, disposed of or processed properly. Due to the increased population in coastal areas; a very significant amount of litter finds its way to the seashore and marine environments. The problem is even greater in developing countries, where main targets are to increase economic growth and production where issues related to protecting the environment are a minor ‘priority’.
The Black Sea, with its densely populated coastal strip, is a “developing” region, especially considering its ever-increasing importance in energy extraction and transport, tourism, and fisheries. Marine litter, either originating from the vessels or from the shores or rivers, is a “visible” pollution problem along the coasts of the Black Sea, in the sea itself and on the bottom of the sea. Marine litter is also a transboundary problem in this enclosed sea basin which displays a very dynamic current system, enabling transportation of any matter from a given location in the Black sea to almost any coastal area. A great portion of the Marine Litter in our region is of non biodegradable nature, therefore, it is not an aesthetic problem simply, but it often seriously damages the living organisms and might threaten the biodiversity of the Black sea.
This is the most extensive publications written on Marine Litter of the Black Sea. This report evaluates existing data, policies, activities, and institutional arrangements concerning the Marine Litter in the Black Sea region and proposes several actions to deal with the problem. One of the main suggestions is the inclusion of major appropriate actions into the revised Strategic Action Plan, to be adopted in 2008.
Developing the necessary policy documents and strategic plans could be achieved relatively smoothly; however, educating the polluters proves the major challenge in dealing with the Marine Litter problem. Indeed, responsible citizenship could easily decimate this kind of pollution in a relatively short time.
Many people contributed to this report, i.e. authors, data and other information providers, staff of the Permanent Secretariat. The members of the Black Sea Commission supported strongly the preparation of this report, whilst UNEP-RSP provided the necessary funding. Thanks to all contributors for their efforts towards a “noticeably” cleaner Black Sea.
Dr Ahmet Erkan KIDEYS
Executive Director of the Permanent Secretariat
The Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution
Istanbul, December 2007