Until the early 19th century, the Baltic Sea was still clean. Only in modern times has this changed.
We are littering our sea ourselves. According to WWF, 56 percent of the waste on beaches today is plastic. Many institutions and individuals are involved in changing the behavior of Poles and environmental education. Foundations such as WWF Poland and Greenpeace Poland have been conducting beach and seabed cleanup campaigns for years.
– "We need to finally realize that we're all responsible for the places we live, not just individuals and designated services," says Rafał Jankowski, coordinator of the WWF Blue Patrol.
Volunteers of the WWF Blue Patrol, operating for a decade on the Baltic beaches, conduct organized actions, in which they involve local communities, as well as spontaneous actions during patrols. These actions include "Don't be a patsy - clean up Mewia Łacha", the campaign "Clean Beach", educational events and interventions (if you see a seal or porpoise, call 795 536 009).
”Only 1 percent of marine litter is found on the water surface, 5 percent ends up on beaches and as much as 94 percent of all litter falls to the bottom”, explained Katarzyna Guzek, from Greenpeace Poland, during a campaign to clean up Baltic beaches and the seabed in July 2019.
In addition to the cleanup, a trash audit was also conducted to estimate what waste is most abundant in the Baltic Sea.
56% of all waste* found on Baltic beaches is plastic, such as plastic wrappers, food bags and sacks.
* wg WWF
Every year, on the third weekend of September, Our Earth Foundation conducts the action "Clean up the World", which is part of the international environmental movement Clean up the World. One of its regular points on the Polish coast is beach cleaning, in which students engage.
The Baltic Odyssey 2020 began in the winter of 2020. From January to October, volunteers together with ecologist and traveler Dominik Dobrowolski planned to clean the coast from Swinoujscie to Piaski on the Vistula Spit. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, not all the stages took place. In January 100 volunteers cleaned up the Wolin National Park and in April, on Earth Day, Dobrowolski walked alone over 70 km, cleaning the beaches between Mielno and Ustka. You can sign up for the campaign by e-mail at any time at email@example.com.
The next edition took place on 12-13 September on the section Puck – Gdańsk, and the whole action will end on 10-11 October on the section Gdańsk – Piaski.
Dates for the next editions in 2020:
For more information, visit www.cycling-recycling.eu.
In addition to overfishing, high intensity of sea transport, industrial or municipal pollution, lost nets are a threat to the Baltic ecosystem.
Fishnets have been abandoned or lost in the seas since the beginning of fishing. Only the scale of this phenomenon is new. An estimated 640,000 tonnes of lost fishing gear enters the seas and oceans each year.
Poland is one of the European leaders in cleaning the Baltic Sea of lost gear. The Sea Fisheries Institute created an application that monitors bycatch of birds and mammals and is used in the next edition of the "Clean Baltic" campaign. As many as nine fishing organizations are involved in the action: Kołobrzeska Grupa Producentów Ryb, Wolińskie Stowarzyszenie Rybaków, Stowarzyszenie Rybaków Łodziowych „Mierzeja”, Zrzeszenie Rybaków Morskich – Organizacja Producentów z Władysławowa, Krajowa Izba Producentów Ryb z Ustki, Darłowska Grupa Producentów Ryb i Amatorów Łodzi Rybackich, Organizacja Rybaków Łodziowych – Producentów Rybnych z Kołobrzegu, Stowarzyszenie “Szczecińska Grupa Producentów Ryb” and Organizacja Producentów Rybnych Władysławowo Sp. z o.o.
In 1973, the Convention on Fishing and Conservation of the Living Resources in the Baltic Sea and the Belts was signed, followed a year later by the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment in Helsinki, which entered into force in Poland on 3 May 1980. Political and legal changes in the field of environmental protection and the sea led to the signing of a new Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic sea area. This agreement in our country entered into force on January 17, 2000. New solutions are still being developed to help combat pollution associated with military activities in the Baltic Sea during wartime.