Saving the Black Sea
Issue 8, June 2005
Official Publication of the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution and the
GEF Ecosystems Recovery Project
Towards a new European Thematic Strategy on the Protection and Conservation of the Marine Environment [>>]
EC Assistance to the Black Sea Commission [>>]
BSC and UNEP Take Action Against the Marine Litter [>>]
The Implementation of the Black Sea Strategic Action Plan – A Bulgarian Perspective [>>]
Turkey Implements the Black Sea Strategic Action Plan [>>]
Protection and rehabilitation of the Black and Azov Seas in Ukraine [>>]
Black Sea Contingency Plan to the Protocol on Cooperation in Com-bating Pollution of the Black Sea by Oil and Other Harmful Sub-stances in Emergency Situations [>>]
Cooperation between Black Sea and Baltic Sea Experts [>>]
Black Sea GIS [>>]
Ukraine – Key Events in Environ-mental Management [>>]
Georgian Black Sea is important wintering habitat of cetaceans [>>]
Results of EuropeAid Project 2002 – 2004 in Russian Federation [>>]
The Black Sea "Shell Palace” [>>]
Black Sea Action Day [>>]
ICZM Progress in Romania [>>]
Black Sea Biodiversity and Landscape Conservation [>>]
International Black Sea Day: an Event for the Whole Public [>>]
From Black to Blue: A Sea Being Saved [>>]
Very few dates on the environmental calendar focus the public attention on regional efforts in areas so diverse and difficult to manage as the improvement of the environmental state of the Black Sea. This unique water body needs a lot of attention and joint efforts by far outreaching the capacity of the local countries in order to improve its predicament.
In 2004 the coastal communities in the six Black Sea countries celebrated for the eighth time International Black Sea Day, October 31. It commemorates the signature in 1996 of the Strategic Action Plan for the Protection and Rehabilitation of the Black Sea between Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. The day is already part of the life of the 16 million people living along the coast and is firmly established in the calendar of events related to environmental awareness raising and public involvement on Black Sea issues.
Starting with support from the Black Sea Environmental Programme, the initiative was sustained through the years by means of the dedicated efforts of many ordinary people from the regional environmental NGOs. It is now an important occasion for educators, journalists, scientists, public figures and government officials to honor their commitments to the future of the Black Sea.
The events last year included the traditional Clean Beaches campaign, which is part of the celebrations ever since the initiative started. It targets the youth and the general public with its big potential for keeping environmental issues high on the agenda of local governments and politicians on all levels. Children’s art exhibitions, festivals and quizzes, public gatherings and media broadcasts were held throughout the region. Participants in the media competition ‘Black Sea Shared’ are increasing since its second edition last autumn. Government agencies and experts from the state and municipal environment services, people from the private sector are joining forces with the green activists and the citizen groups in their efforts to help in the improvement of the environmental state of the Black Sea
In all major coastal places in Bulgaria public events were held, where various officials, government agencies and scientific institutions took part. Along with the traditional cleanup of the beaches and children’s art competitions a number of official establishments organized special events aimed at raising the public awareness on Black Sea issues.
The Black Sea Basin Directorate and the Institute of Oceanology held a national event in the capital to mark October 31 under the auspices of the Black Sea Commissioner.
The Black Sea NGO Network awarded media prizes in the media competition and invited the public to the second art forum entitled ‘Sea, Environment, Process’ adding a cultural dimension to the celebrations. The youth section of the network joined Clean Up the World Campaign and promoted it on October 31.
The Greener Bourgas Foundation held a roundtable for the municipal environmental officers entitled ‘Environmental Problems of the Black Sea and Opportunities for their Solution’ with emphasis on the introduction of sustainable agrarian practices. In partnership with the union of local authorities it organized the traditional schoolchildren’s competitions for picture, poem and essay dedicated to the Black Sea in a number of towns on the southern coast.
In Batumi, Georgia the Environment and Natural Resources Department of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara commemorated the International Black Sea Day with a seminar, an exhibition and a concert. The coastal community and the new government reconfirmed their commitment to the protection of the Black Sea. Environmental NGOs, teachers and schoolchildren were active in the celebrations. The children’s art contests are a long running tradition in the coastal communities. NGOs reviewed the types of activities along the Georgian Black Sea coast as well as types of projects being implemented. The Black Sea EcoAcademy implemented a project in the Kolkheti National Park area on the resource usage issues. The participants stressed on the harmful consequences of unsustainable fishing and hunting. The Eco Educational Centre studies the current state of the dolphin populations along the Georgian coast and cases and reasons for their mortality fields. Youth groups like the Gurian Youth Resource Centre and environmental journalists traditionally are part of the celebrations.
NGOs from Constanta, Romania celebrated Black Sea Action Day with partners active in environmental protection: schools and high schools, cultural institutions and the scientific community. This year’s celebrations combined indoor activities like conferences and exhibitions and typical ‘in the street’ public awareness activities aimed at a larger audience. Recycling was the emphasis of this year’s October 31 campaign of the NGO Mare Nostrum. It was part of its line of activities associated with prevention of solid waste pollution of the beaches. The campaigners prepared a poster in the six Black Sea languages urging the public to save resources and reduce coastal pollution. The traditional children’s art competitions presented a vision of the Black Sea environmental problems and the related social values. Mare Nostrum also raised awareness on issues of waters pollution from agriculture. The scientific community from the National Institute for Marine Research and Development ‘Grigore Antipa’ and the Oceanic Club took part in the International Black Sea Day celebration strongly supported by the media.
In Russia NGOs in the coastal places also marked International Black Sea Day. The celebrations in Novorossiysk and the beach clean there up were strongly supported by the local authorities and the navy.
The participants voiced their concern about the problems caused by the port and transportation traffic. The city is preparing to become homeport of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. A competition of students’ environmental papers was held and the best of them are going to be published. On International Black Sea Day the traditional Anapa children’s picture and poster competition took place. International Black Sea Day in Sochi attracted a variety of interested groups including professional ecologists, representatives of public environmental organizations, participants in youth organizations, public figures and journalists. As usual the Sochi Branch of the Russian Geographic Society with its sea club ‘Alexandria’ was active in the celebrations. The Sailing Academy of Taganrog, Russia involved young environmental activists in coastal monitoring along the seafront. The youth coming from local schools were divided into two groups and monitored a total of 8.2 km along the north eastern and southern outskirts of the bay. The students took water samples and made records of the state of the beach to compare with similar records made last year. The positive changes were rather few, the participants noted and made plans to apply more pressure to the municipal administration so that the state of the beaches improved in view of the coming season.
As usual NGOs in Turkey voiced their environmental safety concerns and over the Black Sea and the Straits region in view of the increased transportation of oil and gas through them.
The authorities, the Black Sea Commission and the Black Sea Ecosystem Recovery Project joined forces to attract the attention of the media and the regional public to the environmental state of the Black Sea and the efforts of the international donors aimed at the rehabilitation of this unique water body. The Turkish Marine Association TUDAV, the Turkish Environmental and Woodlands Protection Society – TEWPS and many others campaigned to attract the public attention and to raise awareness on marine and Black Sea related environmental issues. Environmental platforms in the Black Sea and the Marmara coast advocated for effective solutions to existing environmental problems which are of great concern to the public.
Events marking the International Black Sea Day were held throughout Ukraine in the final week of October. Although the political events and the presidential elections had captured most of the people’s attention the tradition of celebrations was kept. Ukrainian coastal NGOs campaigned for the preservation and restoration of wetlands and collaborated with foreign partners in the exchange of good practices on wetland management. They voiced their concern about the Danube Delta biosphere reserve and the construction of a navigation canal through its territory. The Ukrainian and Russian NGOs are keen on holding a joint crossborder sailing regatta along the Black and the Azov Sea coast to raise public awareness on marine environmental issues. They hope to secure funding for it and bring closer the nongovernmental communities of the two countries. The Institute of Ecology, South Branch was the principal organizer of BSAD event.
The Nikolaev branch of the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine (NECU) held an Ecological Forum on the protection and recovery of the Black Sea. A number of events like competitions and quizzes were aimed at young people and school children. They enhanced their knowledge of the Black Sea and stimulated their interest in environ-mental issues.
The Nikolaev branch of NECU, the Joint Action Club and the Ukrainian national office of BSNN took part. A campaign for collecting garbage from the beaches of the Southern Bug was conducted by the Scout Troop of Nikolaev.
The joint efforts of the coastal communities and governments can give have a chance to the Black Sea and its future.
Regional Office coordinator of the Black Sea NGO Network