Opinion survey on marine litter


The complex transnational problem of marine litter is in the focus of the project “Raising Public Awareness and Reducing Marine Litter for Protection of the Black Sea Ecosystem” (LitOUTer) promoting common awareness-raising and joint actions to reduce river and marine litter among four Black Sea countries. The project has been supported by the Joint Operational Programme Black Sea Basin 2014 – 2020, lead partner is the Karadeniz Technical University, Marine Science Faculty, Trabzon, Turkey. As part of this project the Black Sea NGO Network with participation of all project partners from Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania and Turkey has been conducting an opinion survey among regional stakeholders to assess their knowledge and attitudes to marine litter to help abate pollution of the Black Sea and protect its ecosystem. Please complete the online questionnaire.

The purpose of this questionnaire is: to examine baseline marine litter understanding, attitudes, and behaviours of stakeholders in four Black Sea countries at the beginning of the project, to outline trends and prospects; and to assess the impact of project interventions (information, training, knowledge-based activities, research, networking) to raise the awareness of stakeholders, change their attitudes and involvement in activities for marine litter abatement.

ECSTALE supports civil society development


The project ‘Empowering Civil Society Through a Learning Environment’ (ECSTALE) brings together NGOs from seven countries with the aim to exchange good practices and share experience on social enterpreneruship, fundraising, networking and advocacy. The target group of the project are non-profit organisations, which empower civil society through capacity building, educational programmes and social services. They will be involved through trainings and workshops in the cross-border exchange. BSNN will host the second transnational project meeting in the autumn of 2021 in Varna.
The project is funded by the Erasmus+ Programme under key activity ‘Strategic partnerships for adult education’. It extends over 22 months from 2020 to 2022. ECSTALE is led by HIGGS, Greece, and the other project partners come from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Israel, Italy and Serbia.

MELTEMI project made popular

MELTEMI project is gaining popularity through the work of a young Bulgarian journalist, Antonia Ilieva. She has just completed her studies at the University of Vienna and has served a period as a trainee and volunteer at the Black Sea NGO Network in July 2019 to make a short video report on MELTEMI. Her interest is focused on the regional aspects of the project and its capacity to address significant issues of importance to the public and especially youth. She visited the two beaches monitored in the framework of the project and took part in a beach monitoring event, part of the efforts of the Black Sea NGO Network to extend the network of MELTEMI@School to other communities on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. We wish Antonia success in her future career.

Marine LitterWatch initiative making progress

5th MLW Workshop participants

MELTEMI project has been supporting the development of citizen science and the Marine LitterWatch (MLW) initiative, which has already developed into a pan-European citizen-science based monitoring framework. It aims to provide reliable, accurate and comparable marine litter data for years to come. MLW communities have been sharing experience and discussing recommendations for the improvement of the programme at the annual Marine Litter Stakeholders Workshop at the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen on 12–13 June 2019. MELTEMI partner BSNN has reviewed beach litter monitoring in Bulgaria and the Black Sea region and provided an account of monitoring events and experience within the project. The MLW coordinators requested the BSNN to continue the monitoring activities at the two selected beaches after the end of the project. The precise coordinates of the monitoring sites and the abundance of background information about the two beach areas are regarded as very useful and important as indication of the future improvement of the application. The workshop discussed the scope and improvement of MLW initiatives and gathered recommendations of the stakeholders about the improvement of marine litter indicators.

Challenges of circular economy

BSEC Sofia

‘Fisheries and Plastics Challenge: from Marine Litter to Sustainable Business Solutions’ was the title of presentation dedicated to the achievements of MELTEMI that was delivered at the BSEC International High-level Conference in Sofia, Bulgaria, on 4 April, 2019. The conference entitled Inter-basin Cooperation on Marine Litter: a focus on the Danube River and the Black Sea made a review of the environmental and policy challenges of marine litter pollution in the region.

Project introduction to media and stakeholders


Black Sea NGO Network held a public event in Varna on 21 November 2018 to introduce its new project “Improved online public access to environmental monitoring data and data tools for the Black Sea Basin supporting cooperation in the reduction of marine litter”, MARLITER, to media and various local stakeholders. The project will stimulate interest in the use of IT tools and information for the purposes of awareness, environmental education and management. The project enhances international knowledge-based cooperation, information exchange and innovative capacity building between five partners – NGOs, higher education and research institutions – from Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Romania and Ukraine. The project will develop a GIS interactive map of the Black Sea to monitor features of the environment and movement of marine litter. This advanced tool will be freely available online.
Radio Varna produced special coverage of the MARLITER project.

MELTEMI@School in action


International Black Sea Day 2018 was highlighted by two beach litter monitoring campaigns on 27 and 28 October conducted within the framework of the MELTEMI project. Students from Varna schools “P.R. Slaveykov” and “Peyo Yavorov”, assisted by experts from IO-BAS and Black Sea NGO Network, were engaged in beach cleaning, educational and awareness activities, focused on good practices for the reduction of marine litter. The development of marine literacy and knowledge among young people and the wider public is an important step toward preparedness of society to formulate and address aims and policy targets for marine litter reduction.
The project MELTEMI “Marine Litter Transnational Legislation Enhancement and Improvement”, is funded by the European Regional Development Fund under the “Balkan – Mediterranean 2014–2020” Transnational Cooperation Programme.

Harmonization of green and grey infrastructure in the Danube region

Green bridge

The development of transport infrastructure, such as motorways and high-speed rail often leads to fragmentation of landscapes and habitats and poses a threat to biodiversity. The project HARMON aims to develop strategies and measures that ensure ecological connectivity in the environmentally sensitve Danube region. Its results would contribute to building a Trans-European Network for Green Infrastructure (TEN-G). The project unites the efforts of eight partners and spans from September 2018 to August 2019. Read more in the project factsheet (PDF, 83 KB)

Green messages

Green camp

The Green City Camps, organized each summer by the Rodni Balkani Tourist Society for students from Varna, already include a familiarity with the traditional environmental marine and coastal messages prepared with the support of the Black Sea NGO Network. Important knowledge of man's behaviour and responsibility for nature is delivered in the form of a few simple and clear promises that each participant assumes to support to help with his personal behaviour and public commitment to the protection and restoration of the Black Sea. Promoted by the Black Sea NGO Network for years, these clear commitments for young people represent the need for change and re-evaluation of our interaction with nature and its resources.

It is our home, our coast, our sea!

Take the pledge! Help the Black Sea now!
I promise

  1. Every time I go to a beach, I will take with me all my litter and at least one piece of litter that was not left by me.
  2. I will try to save water by,
    — fixing the toilet if it runs continuously;
    — closing the water tap while brushing my teeth;
    — staying one minute less under the shower;
    —not washing the dishes under constantly running water.
  3. I will not pour oil, dyes or chemicals into the sewer or toilet. I will find information from the environmental experts in my municipality what is the safest way to dispose of these harmful products.
  4. I will plant trees, shrubs and flowers in the common spaces around my house or block of flats. I will talk with my neighbours about the care and maintenance of the plants. Trees are the safest means of filtering waste and water before they enter water bodies.
  5. I will carry with me a shopping bag when I go shopping to the market or in the supermarket and will not take unnecessary plastic bags. I will try to buy some goods in bulk and buy products with less packaging.
  6. I will be informed how and where my waste and wastewater are processed and handled. If their management is not satisfactory, I will write to the mayor and tell about my letter to at least two more people.

Thematic workshop promotes MELTEMI

Europan Maritime Day workshop

Thematic stakeholder workshop entitled Marine Litter Solutions – from Policies to Action was held on 31 May 2018 in Burgas, Bulgaria, as part of the annual European Maritime Day celebrations. The workshop promoted the achievements of the MELTEMI project with focus on various policy aspects of the marine litter issue and the exchange of working good practices and solutions across borders.

The project “Marine Litter Transnational Legislation Enhancement and Improvement” (MELTEMI), is funded by the European Regional Development Fund under the “Balkan – Mediterranean 2014–2020” Transnational Cooperation Programme. It involves eight partners for a period of two years and its total value is about 1.215 million euro. The project approach envisages the establishment of transnational networks for cooperation and exchange of best practices and management tools between Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Greece. The world's best models will be reviewed and evaluated, which will help to adapt them to the needs of the participating countries. The MELTEMI purpose, along with the assessment of marine and coastal litter and the enhancement of the environmental legal framework, is the active engagement of society and its key representatives through information, training and exchange in the framework of research and the implementation of waste reduction policies.

The important step from policy to action is complemented by environmental education and development of marine literacy and knowledge on marine litter issues with activities such as Blue Café and MELTEMI@School to engage the public and young people in secondary schools.

A novel feature of the project is the involvement of local authorities and local communities which, together with decision-makers, will discuss and adopt solutions for appropriate practices and approaches for local capacity development and the development of national action plans in each country as well as a proposal for an integrated and a coherent transnational action plan for marine litter.

The project and the serious issue it addresses remind once again that the use of the seas and oceans on the planet has certain ecological limits that should not be violated so that man can preserve their potential for the present and future generations. The ambitious policies for blue growth should necessarily be in line with the environmental policy objectives of clean, healthy and productive seas and oceans. Its success requires new thinking and a new approach to the planet's marine resources that support climate and life on earth.

Marine litter is an increasing concern in all European seas and worldwide which should be addressed through effective policies, prevention and reduction measures implemented at source on all levels. The workshop outlined the EU legal and policy framework and highlighted new initiatives aimed at reducing waste and plastics in the environment. Issues discussed included policies and realities, the challenges of producing sound scientific evidence, citizen engagement and campaigns to reduce single use plastic items.

European Maritime Day 2018 in Bulgaria

Europan Maritime Day

The European Maritime Day will be held in Burgas, Bulgaria on 31 May and 1 June 2018. Black Sea NGO Network will join forces with coalition Rethink Plastic to organize and host a stakeholder seminar on coastal and marine environment entitled “Regional Cooperation on Marine Litter”. BSNN will present its ongoing project MELTEMI 'Marine litter transnational legislation enhancement and improvement' implemented by eight partners from Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Greece within the Balkan-Mediterranean 2014—2020 Programme. The concept of circular economy and the effort to set ambitious targets for action on single use plastics and fishing gear will be part of the discussion. The BSNN team will present the efforts of the MELTEMI partnership to create transnational networks among the participating countries and integrate science and policy with the aim to review world’s best practices and tools and adapt them to the countries’ needs. Suitable non-market value local specific measures on marine litter and their application will be proposed so that they could facilitate the circular economy concept and approach and reinforce a resource efficient economy from a policy perspective.

Public consultation on reducing marine litter

Bottle in the send

Plastic is widely recognized as the most abundant material in marine litter. Recent information shows that plastic is prevailing in all European regions and that more than the half of the litter is formed by packaging waste like plastic bottles and bags. The European Commission has published a stakeholder survey “Reducing marine litter: actions on single use plastics and abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear” as part of the follow up to the EU Strategy on Plastics adopted in January 2018. Plastics are an important material in the economy and present in many aspects of our daily lives, but they also have relatively low rates of reuse and recycling and are prone to littering. The European Commission Action Plan for a Circular Economy (2015) therefore identified plastics as one of 5 priority areas. Rising amounts of plastic waste and marine litter are among the key problems that the strategy seeks to address. The consultation is open until 12 February 2018.

Protection of the marine environment

EEA Grants

In September 2017 the Black Sea NGO Network began work on a transnational cooperation project aiming to enhance the legal framework for protection of the marine environment from pollution with solid waste known as marine litter. The project MELTEMI or MarinE litter transnational LegislaT EnhanceMent and Improvement is co-funded by the European Union and national funds of the participating countries within the Balkan-Mediterranean 2014—2020 Programme. The project with leader the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research brings together eight partner institutions from Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Greece in an effort to address the complex transboundary environmental issue of marine litter with effective regional policies and reduction measures. In the course of two years the MELTEMI partners will cooperate to assess the existing legal and policy framework and seek active engagement of society and key players in networking and the introduction of best practices on reducing marine litter pollution. The total project budget is about 1.230 million euro.