The Black Sea is slowly recovering from a deep environmental crisis it entered during the last few decades, when it has become one of the most environmentally degraded regional seas on our planet.
Having in mind that 87% of the sea water is naturally anoxic, the Black Sea is highly sensitive to anthropogenic impacts due to the huge catchment area and almost landlocked nature. Every year, about 350 cubic kilometres of river water pours into the Black Sea.
This water brings a variety of products originated from the activity of more than 170 million people, who live in some of the most populated areas of the 17 different countries along river banks.
The sea continues to suffer from a long list of ailments:
- pollution by land-based sources;
- losses of biodiversity as a consequence of pollution, invasive species and the destruction of habitats;
- overexploitation of marine living resources leading to a collapse of fisheries, etc, having a significant impact on the ecosystem health.
The Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution was adopted in 1992
The establishment of the Black Sea Environment Programme in 1993 and the Strategic Action Plan followed this shortly for the Rehabilitation and Protection of the Black Sea adopted in 1996. Land-based sources of pollution, the introduction of alien species and inadequate resources management are some of the main issues highlighted in the Strategic Action Plan (SAP). The SAP is a step in the process towards attaining sustainable development in the Black Sea region.
In April 2009, the SAP was revised by all member states, which reconfirmed their commitment to the protection of the Black Sea ecosystem
In addition, there were and still are problems associated with coastal degradation, water borne diseases, the introduction of opportunistic exotic species, and maritime pollution caused by the transportation of oil and other hazardous substances.
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