On 20.05.2021 in the Exhibition Center “Flora” in the Sea Garden of the city of Burgas was held a one-day seminar on the topic “Forum for the Future Seas”.
Considering the great importance of the marine environment of the Black Sea in economic, social and health terms, the Via Pontica Foundation and Municipality of Burgas organized the initiative “Forum for the Future Seas”, as a part of the program of the European Maritime Day in Bulgaria 2021 and under the project “Innovative Techniques and Methods for Reducing Marine Litter in the Black Sea Coastal Areas”, BSB552 “RedMarLitter”, Joint Operational Programme “Black Sea Basin 2014-2020”.
The forum provided an opportunity to engage in an interesting discussion of scientists, experts and local leaders in order to outline future horizons for action to protect and preserve the resources of the Black Sea and especially its protection from pollution by solid marine litter. The topics included in the previous edition of the forum, held in 2018, provide an opportunity for proactive participation of all stakeholders in the current edition, in order to exchange information and suggestions for future activities.
Greetings and opening of the seminar were made by the Chairperson of the Municipal Council of Burgas Prof. Dr. Sevdalina Turmanova, Head of the Regional Academic Center of BAS and Vesna Baltina, Deputy Mayor for “Strategic Development and Ecology, Digitalization and Adaptation to Climate Problems” in the Municipality of Burgas.
In her introductory speech, Ina Agafonova, Founder and Chairperson of the Via Pontica Foundation, stressed that the time has come to act – the changes in the Black Sea tell us that there is no time to lose and we must all make efforts to take steps to prevent damage to the Black Sea and the coast, to activate our actions for the protection and preservation of its living resources and to strengthen the cooperation, both between the individual nations, and at the regional level.
“This sea day and its celebration aims to raise public awareness of the importance of the sea and the maritime industry. Our Black Sea is undoubtedly a very important resource, but also a sensitive ecosystem. It is part of our culture, part of our prospects for sustainable tourism, maritime activities and fisheries. It is very important that conservation policies are common. Our efforts must be well-planned, aimed at building environmental infrastructure and the formation of a culture that is recognized by the Black Sea municipalities, “said during the seminar Vesna Baltina, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Development and Ecology, Digitalization and adaptation to climate problems ”in the Municipality of Burgas.
Prof. Dr. Sevdalina Turmanova, Chairperson of the Municipal Council of Burgas, Head of the Regional Academic Center of BAS and a lecturer at the University “Prof. Dr. Asen Zlatarov reports on the project “Increasing Knowledge of the Marine Environment for Sustainable Management of Marine Resources and Achieving Blue Growth”, aimed at creating a scientific database of types of floating waste in marine waters and on the seabed in areas with increased anthropogenic pressure, development of classification and their evaluation, which will contribute to improving knowledge of the marine environment, increasing the commitment and responsibility for the protection of the marine environment, improving the state of the marine environment by introducing measures to reduce marine litter and the possibility of sustainable management and development of natural resources in the Burgas Bay.
Prof. Dr. Marusya Lyubcheva from the Black Sea Institute Association, Burgas, discussed the topic “Blue Dimension of the Green Deal in Bulgaria”, emphasizing that the Blue Economy is an integral part of the EU Green Deal. He added that the new approach to the Blue Economy includes support for coastal communities and a European decarbonisation strategy. The new approach to a sustainable blue economy will complement the other components of the European green deal.
Maya Velcheva, Director of the European Policies Directorate, Municipality of Burgas presented the project “Implementation of Measures to Reduce Marine Litter in the Burgas Bay”, funded by the Programme “Environmental Protection and Climate Change” (OOSKP) of the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area (EEA FM) 2014-2021. The main goal of the project is to improve the ecological status of the sea waters in the Burgas Bay and to increase the public awareness, self-awareness and responsibility of the citizens for the reduction and prevention of marine litter.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Daniela Toneva, Head of the Department of Ecology and Environmental Protection at the Technical University of Varna and Eng. Veneta Stefanova from P-United EOOD announced the program for “Identification of” hot spots “of pollution with solid marine waste” , which will monitor the quality and quantity of all collected from a particular place, macrowaste and microwaste on the beach / coastal strips of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, floating on the sea surface, deposited on the seabed and in the biota. The monitoring program will provide information on driving forces (tourism, urbanization, ports, shipping, commercial and recreational fishing) and quantitative information on the pressures of waste in the marine environment and the impacts on beaches, sea surface and seabed.
Yanko Yankov, Manager of Glarus Sport Fishing Club – a partner in the project “Sailing across the Black Sea”, which is implemented under the Joint Operational Program for Cross-Border Cooperation under the European Neighborhood Instrument “Black Sea Basin 2014-2020”, presented its results The project aims to overcome the existing obstacles to tourist flows between the Black Sea ports and the ports of the North Aegean Sea.
The afternoon panel of the seminar was opened with a report on “National Waste Management Policies”, presented by Detelina Ivanova, Director of the Regional Inspectorate for Environment and Water, Burgas. It included analysis and evaluation of legislation, program documents and policies in the waste management sector.
Presentation of the project “Cross-border regions cooperate for blue growth” (BLUE GROWTH COLLABs), funded by the Interreg Programme – IPA for cross-border cooperation Bulgaria – Turkey 2014-2020 made Assoc. Prof. Dr. Svetlana Jeleva, Deputy Rector for Research, University “Prof. Asen Zlatarov ”, Burgas. For the implementation of the project University “Prof. Dr. Asen Zlatarov ”- Burgas partners with the Thracian University – Edirne to establish research centers for blue growth in the cross-border region, with initiatives for cooperation of research institutions in the field of environmental protection, pollution reduction, sustainable water management ecosystems and efficient use of marine and water resources.
Eng. Iva Stamenova-Yordanova from P-United EOOD presented a report on “Measures to reduce solid marine litter” on initiatives to reduce the amount of waste in the marine environment, including training and awareness raising regarding marine water pollution, conducting expert analyzes, research and evaluations, developing a web-based model, implementing demonstration activities, organizing and conducting campaigns.
Silvia Atanasova, Expert “Cooperation and Innovation” Management Unit of the National Fisheries Network in her report “Care for the sea – care for our future. Challenges, Opportunities and Prospects” presented the consistent efforts of the organization to promote good practices and successful solutions to the problem of solid waste in the marine environment, human behavior in nature and responsibility for it.
The last report of the seminar concerned “Results of a Study for Pollution of Lake Pomorie with Waste, Including Microplastics”. It was presented by Dimitar Popov, coordinator of the project BSB142 BioLearn “Environmental awareness and behavior to stop pollution in significant wetlands of the Black Sea basin”, implemented by the NGO Green Balkans.
It was connected with an educational installation consisting of an information kiosk and models of ordinary dolphins, containing rich information about the Black Sea and its inhabitants, but also about the global problem of waste pollution, which was transferred from the Natural History Exhibition of RIM Burgas and arranged in the Exposition Center “Flora”
The participants in the seminar and the visitors of the Center could get acquainted with the species of dolphins found in the Black Sea, with the sounds they make, but also with the alarming information about the degree of waste pollution in wetlands and especially Pomorie Lake.
In the ensuing discussion, it was clearly stated that measures to reduce pollution, improve the management of living resources, promote human development in a way that does not harm the environment, despite all studies and reports, do not invest enough effort and the improvement of the condition of the sea water and the protection of the resources are not observed and do not cover the areas, that are close to the urbanized territories and industrial sites. Therefore, even for a minute the efforts to save the Black Sea and its coast from ecological catastrophe should not be abandoned!
Other scientists and experts joined the discussion, presenting interesting and valuable data and results from studies of the Black Sea, and all materials from the event will be available soon on the project website www.redmarlitter.eu