Preserving and protecting the environment is one of the commitments undertaken by Ukraine under the Association Agreement with the European Union. Among important directives in this sector is the improvement of the quality of water and management of water (including seawater) resources.
An excellent job on improving the ecology of Ukrainian bodies of water is being done by the EU and UNDP project “Improving Environmental Monitoring in the Black Sea – Special Measures” (EMBLAS-Plus) funded by the EU. Since Ukraine has limited financial and technical capabilities to perform a quality monitoring, this project allowed to organize large-scale expeditions and analyze the condition of the Black Sea in accordance with requirements of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Using innovative monitoring methods and working jointly with Ukrainian scientists, researchers have already discovered chemical compounds that are toxic for marine fauna and humans, and registered dolphins along the entire coast all the way to Georgia.
According to EMBLAS-Plus communications expert Olena Marushevska, at the end of this project it should become clear “which sections of the Black Sea are in a good shape and which are in a bad one.” One of the already reported discouraging conclusions is contamination of the Black Sea with litter, which is twice as high as that of the Mediterranean Sea. It is worth noting that 83% of this litter is plastic. Therefore, in addition to monitoring, an important job that must be done is to clear the water and the coastal area.
According to Olena Marushevska, three pilot projects are being implemented in Ukraine in this regard, medium.com reports.
1) “Unmarketable plastic — New life in pavement” envisages manufacture of pavement tiles from plastic that cannot be processed. After the quarantine is eased, these pavement tiles will be tested for resistance to human flows and weather conditions. Experts say that if these tiles pass the strength test, the project would bring huge benefits, because several bags of plastic would have to be remelted to make one tile.
2) “The Black Sea coast of the Kherson Oblast without litter” is aimed to sort out litter on beaches in the Kherson Oblast. Besides installing marine creature-shaped containers for plastic, this initiative promotes conscientious and environmentally-friendly business. For example, it wants to convince entrepreneurs to use alternative packing.
3) “Organizing and clearing recreation sites in Biloberezhzhia Sviatoslava National Natural Park” envisages separation of waste collection in the territory of Kinburn Spit natural preserve. According to EMBLAS-Plus communications expert Olena Marushevska, garbage trucks and a waste press have been purchased for that purpose with funds provided by the EU. “They also want to dig a ditch with oyster shells,” she adds. “If they are used the right way, they can become a biotope on which other shells can dwell.”
Still, the EU’s support in this area is not limited to the improvement of the condition of seawater only. Thanks to EUWI+ project “The Water Initiative of the European Union is a plus for Eastern Partnership states”, Ukraine can improve its water resources management system and analyze the condition of freshwater in detail. Since the water monitoring system in Ukraine is presently not conformant with EU standards, Olena Marushevska emphasizes, the European Union has invested money in the equipment for a modern laboratory of the Interregional Office for Protective Massifs of Dnieper Water Reservoirs in Vyshhorod, Kyiv Oblast, tasked with detecting harmful chemical compounds in the Dnieper River. The laboratory will be opened this July. “As of today, it has already been determined which sections of the basin are at risk of not reaching a good environmental condition, and a Dnieper basin management plan has been developed,” the EMBLAS Plus expert, who is also engaged in “The Water Initiative of the European Union is a plus for Eastern Partnership states” project, added.
The aforementioned projects not only help Ukraine solve urgent problems with the condition of water. In addition to practical steps of improving management of natural resources, the European Union provides financial and expert support in approximation of Ukrainian legislation to that of the EU and helps develop a long-term strategy of reforming the water sector.
Source: Central UA TV