The Black Sea shores are vulnerable to anthropogenic and technogenic activities. The sources of the marine litter are basin based problem which is closely related to ecosystem and public health, conservation of the environment, marine habitat, biodiversity, and sustainable development in the Black Sea region.
Marine litter has stayed in agenda since 1970 in the Mediterranean Region. And, litter issue has been an issue of Barcelona Convention since 1980 with the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution from Land-Based Sources and Activities (LBS Protocol). The importance of litter problem was addressed in the amended LBS Protocol (Annex I) in 1996 and many other studies carried out by UNEP in 2005 and 2009. Then finally, The UN Environment/Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) was the first Regional Sea Programme to adopt a legally-binding Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management (Decision IG.21/7, COP18, Istanbul, Turkey) in December 2013. MSFD (2008), Black Sea Commission (2009), Blue Growth İnitiative EU (2017), IMO (2018), and their numbers have gradually increased.
At present, the framework of the marine litter problem has been well understood but solutions are not still clear due to many variables linked closely with the nature of the problem based on cultural, wellfare, traditional and educational differences, and lack of knowledge.
The awareness for the marine litter pollution was started in recent years in the Black Sea region. First integrated projects related with the sustainable use of fishery resources and reduction of marine pollution were supported by the European Commission. MELTEMI project has overall objective to enhance the legal framework and increase the capacity of public authorities, stakeholders and society at large on mitigating marine litter pollution. This project is based on creation of transitional network among GR, CY, BG and AL. The outputs MELTEMI will be; deliver a baseline assessment of marine litter on specific coastal zones; Review the existing national legal and policy framework and regulations; Engage society to increase public awareness; Assist decision makers to co-develop National & Transnational Action Plans Proposals for the reduction of marine litter at source. The overall goal will be to train and assist local authorities to develop a NAPP for each county. The MISIS is one of the lastest comprehensive project on the conservation and protection of the biodiversity in the Black Sea with the partnership of Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey. MARSPLAN (2018) project was also interested in marine litter as one of the major influence factor in the BS.
Marine litter has a negative impact on the populations, ecosystems and wildlife, abiotic nature and economy. The this project enhances awareness-based neighborhood cooperation, cross-border information exchange, use innovative awareness methods between six partners (NGOs, higher education and scientific research institutes) from four countries which are Turkey, Romania Bulgaria, and Georgia.
In the project, cultural differences will be considered, and raising awareness strategies will be developed to country-specific.
With this project, correctly defined target groups, who are the most powerful impact to reduce litter in the source will be aware of litter impact on the human environment in the past, present and dominantly future.
In the project, “BOTTOM-UP” approach will be accepted during the training and awareness activities. In this approach, housewives, students, fishermen, muhtars, NGOs, local authorities, and decision-makers will be the main target groups of the project. In addition to that, citizens, villagers, tourism and shipping agencies will be informed/ aware of litter impacts on the marine environment and human health by using various educational/training tools.
In the project, there will be many different educational and training activities organised. Scientists, sectoral experts, subject related NGO will joint awareness, educational, and training activities. Face-to-face and online activities with stakeholders will be increased their awareness and they will realised how litter impact human life directly and/or indirectly. Some of these activities will in-situ training, field studies, cruise, visual materials (litter movement model output). In addition to these, meetings, workshops, TV programmes, cartoons, toys, play cards etc will help to show litter impacts on their marine environment and human health. To stop/reduce plastic bag usage in the kitchen wastes, a housewife who live in the town will train to produce fertilizer for their field from organic wastes.
The litter movement model, which will demonstrate litter movement from sources to the last stop in the sea, will demonstrate the fate of litter and their journey from the sources to the end. GIS/WEB based-hydrodynamic model is one of the best methods to identify and demonstrate litter distribution and accumulation for awareness of stakeholders.
In the project, there will be two social surveys by using questionnaires to understand the level of public knowledge on social, ecological and harmful effects of the litter at initial and final stages.
In the project, the target value will be reached over 4000-4500 stakeholders directly and more than 1.000.000 beneficiaries in all partner countries indirectly.