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EU: Black Sea Has Twice As Much Trash As Mediterranean

The Crimean coast off the Black Sea as seen on July 25.
The Crimean coast off the Black Sea as seen on July 25.

The Black Sea contains almost twice the amount of marine litter as the Mediterranean Sea, the European Union delegation to Ukraine said in a July 30 news release.

Based on surveys conducted since 2017 in the coastal waters of Georgia, Ukraine, Russia, and in the open sea, the EU said 83 percent of the marine litter is plastic: "namely bottles, candy wrappers, and bags."

Ukraine's large rivers bring six to 50 items of trash per hour to the sea.

Thus, there are 90.5 litter items per square kilometer in the Black Sea. By comparison, there are 50 litter items per square kilometer in the Mediterranean Sea.

Moreover, the Black Sea surveys state that "concentrations of some pollutants exceed their toxicity threshold value."

Some chemical substances found are dangerous to marine and human life.

Among them are benzo(a)pyrene, "several pesticides, insecticides, and also mercury and flame retardants in fish," the EU said.

The population sizes of all species of dolphins that swim in the Black Sea are "relatively low," the EU said. The largest groups of dolphins were found in the Danube River delta and Zmiynyi Island.

The number of invasive species is growing. Among them are Monrovia doctorfish, red barracuda, and burrowing goby.

On the positive side, the EU said the status of the world’s biggest red algae field -- Zernov’s Phyllophora Field -- improved from "poor" to "moderate."

Also, the European sturgeon, which was considered almost extinct, was found in many samples across the Black Sea.

"The obtained results of the surveys should contribute" to improving the "status of the Black Sea…as well as to global understanding of current risks and threats to [the] marine ecosystem," said Jaroslav Slobodnik, the EU project’s leader.

The EU Black Sea monitoring project runs through 2020 and has a budget of 1.6 million euros.

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