Marine litter monitoring in the Georgian section of the Black Sea: Second Stage

  • November 20, 2019

Iv.Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (TSU), in accordance with the planned activities within the project “Research studies on contaminants ( MSFD Descriptors 8 and 10) in the Georgian section of the Black Sea” (EMBLAS-Plus) carried out the second field survey on collecting and analysis of beach/riverine/marine floating litter in the Georgian section of the Black Sea. Survey session was held from 25 of September to 2 of  October, 2019.

This monitoring session coincided with the autumn season. Beach monitoring sessions was carried out on the selected 5 sites: Tskaltsminda, Maltakva, Kobuleti (northen periphery), Sarpi and Ureki.

For registration and categorization of beach litter, the Marine LitterWatch mobile application was used. 

At all observed sites, except Sarpi, the plastic litter amount amounts up to 95-98% and is composed essentially by plastic bottles, different caps and lids. Sarpi beach, as usual, is characterized with relatively high concentration of metal items, and, respectively, lowest percentage of plastic.

The main part of plastic litter is composed by drinking bottles, caps/lids and different size of plastic pieces. Medical/pharmaceutical and sanitary waste was occurred not through all sites, in particular, at Sarpi this category is no characteristic.

 It should be noted that the total amount of litter is decreased compared with past years.

Figure 1. Beach litter monitoring on Sarpi Beach

Figure 2. Types of litter found on the beach

The riverine litter observations were carried out on four essential rivers: Chorokhi, Natanebi, Rioni and Supsa.

For registration and categorization of floating litter JRC Floating Litter Monitoring Application was used giving the possibility to record coordinates and time in situ. In additional, application allows register floating items named “non-litter”, e.g. wood, leaves, feathers etc., which is occurred on the river surface and compose important part of material leached on the beaches from the sea. All protocols with data obtained during the session  were sent to RIMMEL database.

The last riverine litter monitoring data. for a given time period, shows the decrease of plastic litter amount transported by 4 rivers and reaches 60 items per 1 hour. At same time, amount of non-litter items reaches 300 units.  This means a three-times decreased compared to September session.

The sea surface floating litter survey session of October 2019, on transect Batumi – Kobuleti revealed low density of plastic litter on the surface, in particular, 13 plastic items on the transect with about 20 km length and 25 m width.

The sea surface floating litter survey was conducted on the 1 sea monitoring transect, covered Batumi – Kobuleti sea area.  The transect Poti – Kulevi was not observed due to worsening weather and storm during the  monitoring session period.

Some amount of obtained riverine and sea surface floating survey data were uploaded on experimental BS Waste database platform realized within the project “RedMarLitter” (BSB 552), with whom the “EMBLAS Plus” project is collaborating within the EU created Black Sea Synergy regional initiative.

Figure 3. Sea surface monitoring session. Batumi – Kobuleti transect

Collaborative program

Activities of scientific group of TSU and GAMMA envisage the cooperation with partner – Georgian National Environmental Agency (NEA). During the monitoring sessions, the specialists of Batumi center of NEA participated in practical works. The young specialists were trained and mastered with methods of monitoring, possibilities of usage of mobile applications. The aims of practical works were the elaboration of essential skills for planning and implementation of monitoring strategy, creation of marine litter monitoring programs.