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Environmental problems in the Black Sea Region

The Black Sea

The Black Sea, with its total area of roughly one-third the size of continental Europe, is one of the largest semi-closed water basins in the world. It is situated between South Eastern Europe and Anatolia and bordered by six Council of Europe member states, namely, Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, the Russian Federation, Turkey and Ukraine.

The Black Sea Today

The Black Sea, which once supported a rich and diverse ecological life, is one of the most polluted seas of the world today. The seas environment has deteriorated in the last thirty years in terms of its biodiversity, habitats, recreational value and water quality. Its fish supply has been plundered and it has become a dumping ground for waste.

One of the main contributors to this environmental degeneration is the river inputs that the Black Sea receives from its large catchment territory, the majority of which comes from seventeen surrounding countries and large rivers like the Danube, the Dnepr and the Don. The protection and rehabilitation of the environment of the Black Sea is of importance not only to the coastal states but also to all the countries of the region.

Firstly, a thorough diagnosis should be made before taking the necessary precautionary measures.

Secondly, the precautions that have to be taken should be intensively debated, in order to find the best and most practical solutions, acceptable to all concerned parties.

Thirdly, the work of the interested bodies, such as the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution and the activities of other international institutions should be supported and harmonised. Fourthly, an intensive co-operation mechanism should be established between governmental authorities of all concerned states. Fifthly, creating a new regional convention should be envisaged for a more effective system of environment protection for the Black Sea region.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe should focus on the environmental problems of the Black Sea and propose practical and legal measures and make recommendations to bring this important issue to the attention of public opinion.

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