Environmental authorities from Bulgaria and Norway recently met to assess the main achievements of their efforts in monitoring pollution in the Black Sea. Bulgaria is obliged by EU legislation to ensure a good environmental status of its waters. With the support of the EEA and Norway Grants' environment programme, Bulgaria enhances its ability to monitor water contaminants as mandated by the EU.
The collaboration between the Black Sea Basin Directorate in Varna and the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen (IMR), established in the SCIRENA project under the programme, contributes to this monitoring. Over the summer, a team of experts from the IMR was in Varna together with trainees from Bulgarian research and educational institutions to collect samples along the Bulgarian shores. Increasing the competence of Bulgarian professionals is an important component of the support.
Due to the heightened risk of water pollution from the war in Ukraine, the water test results will help Bulgaria and its neighbours in making informed decisions and finding shared solutions for pollution and food safety in the Black Sea region.
New initiative on diffuse pollution into the Black Sea
An initiative on pollution from agriculture and industry through rivers into the Black Sea was also kick-started in Svolvær. Over the next 18 months, the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) will work together with regional water management bodies in Bulgaria to tailor Norwegian methods to fit Bulgaria's specific context and requirements.
The cooperation will focus on identifying data gaps, assessment and further recommendations, and implement concrete actions to curb diffuse water pollution. These efforts will ultimately be incorporated into legislation. ‘NIVA’s experience is significant for supporting Bulgarian in assessing the effects of the diffuse pollution coming into the Black Sea. The results of the cooperation will improve the capacity to comply with EU legislation, in particular the Water Framework Directive and Marine Strategy Framework Directive,’ says Ms Silvia Rangelova, Director of the EU Affairs and International Cooperation Department at the Ministry of Environment and Water in Sofia.
The Bulgarian delegation also visited the Norwegian Centre against Marine Litter (Marfo), in Svolvær where they got the possibility to exchange experience on beach clean ups and prevention of marine litter into the sea, based on citizens science used at Marfo.
The Norwegian Environmental Agency, as a partner in the Bulgarian environmental programme, was the main organiser of the meetings in Svolvær, and is working in close collaboration with Bulgaria to provide advice and facilitate bilateral cooperation.