Тowards zero pollution in European seas

SOS-ZEROPOL2030 Cork meeting, 27 Sep 2022

Source to Seas - Zero Pollution 2030 (SOS-ZEROPOL2030) is a project that brings together ten European institutions forming a unique interdisciplinary partnership with expertise in fundamental and applied natural sciences and associated governance concerning marine pollution, as well as in social sciences related to stakeholder engagement and human behaviour. The project has the overall aim to develop a holistic, stakeholder led zero pollution framework over the next four years, ultimately reflecting the EU’s very ambitious policy and legislative efforts governing the environmental protection of our seas with focus on the zero environmental pollution agenda. Black Sea NGO Network is part of the consortium led by University College Cork, Ireland.

Marine contamination occurs as a direct result of human activities on both land and in the marine environment and requires our urgent attention as healthy and clean seas are critical for our survival and well-being. The implementation of processes and measures to reduce marine pollution will have consequences for numerous economic sectors at multiple scales, framing marine pollution as a considerable global socio-economic challenge that requires active collaboration from multiple stakeholders, across a range of geographic areas.

Stakeholder engagement is central to this project and the holistic research approach championed by SOS-ZEROPOL2030, emphasises human behaviour, socioeconomics, and governance; and is underpinned in knowledge about and understanding of current barriers to effective and efficient prevention, reduction, mitigation, and monitoring of marine pollution in European seas. The project is funded by Horizon Europe under the ‘Clean Environment and Zero Pollution’ call and will run from September 2022 to September 2026.

Open air event in Shabla

Shabla kites, 4 Sep 2022

The Black Sea NGO Network on September 4, 2022 held an information and training event within the project “Raising Public Awareness and Reducing Marine Litter for Protection of the Black Sea Ecosystem” (LitOUTer) in Shabla, on the northern coast, at the colourful event Festival of Kites in the coastal zone. Young people from nearby settlements and their parents received informational materials on the project and participated in promotion of recycling on-the-go, separate waste collection at public places and open-air activities. Marine litter accumulated along the coastline and in the sea is in the focus of the regional project supported by the JOP Black Sea Basin 2014 – 2020 programme. LitOUTer partners from Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania and Turkey have coordinated efforts to support changes in personal habits and public policies so as to curb solid waste pollution and minimize the risks for the health of the Black Sea.

Good practices for marine litter reduction

Kites festival

BSNN in August and September 2022 held a series of trainings in coastal municipalities like Pomorie and Bulgarevo to promote good practices for reducing plastic waste. The practices were designed to help the local tourism, catering and accommodation businesses produce less waste and save money, and suggest ides to the local country residents how to better manage waste in their houses, farmyards and gardens. Discussions revealed the concern of the people for the pollution of the coast and the sea. The participants called for strict control on polluters and suggested both regular cleaning of beaches and coastal areas, imposing of fines and restriction of access to places of big environmental value. The trainings are part of the project “Raising Public Awareness and Reducing Marine Litter for Protection of the Black Sea Ecosystem” (LitOUTer). The project partners from four littoral countries have coordinated efforts to support changes in personal habits and public policies to curb solid waste pollution and minimize the risks for the health of the Black Sea.

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.