Posted 8 июля 2021,, 07:57

Published 8 июля 2021,, 07:57

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

After the flood: when the Black Sea becomes safe for people

After the flood: when the Black Sea becomes safe for people

8 июля 2021, 07:57
It rained on the Black Sea for several weeks. Rivers overflow their banks, water floods houses and roads and flows into the sea. On the one hand, reservoirs in Crimea will finally be filled. On the other hand, the ecosystem will suffer again.

"Novye Izvestia" found out how long will it take for the sea to cope with the pollution.

Yelena Ivanova, Natalia Seibil

Scientists sometimes compare the Black Sea with a puddle or a puff pastry. The layer in which life is possible goes to a depth of no more than 150 meters. Below is hydrogen sulphide, where there is no life. That is why the pollution of the Black Sea is higher than that of other seas, and its ability to cope with harmful chemical and organic substances is limited. “The entire anthropogenic load on the sea must be “digested” by the ecosystem of this thin layer", - says Mikhail Flint, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, head of the direction“ Ecology of Seas and Oceans ”at the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology.

The floods of recent days will not improve the ecological situation in the coastal zone of the sea.

"Anthropogenic pollution, including organic matter, nitrogen, phosphorus, which are contained in the wastewater of cities, settlements, the sewage system that we discharge directly into the sea, in general, in areas with a high population - this is a fairly common thing for the ecosystem. But a strong runoff as a result of rains is not only the removal of organic matter, it is also the removal of solid matter, silt, sand, material that is carried out along with runoff from the surface as a result of floods. All this is carried to the coastal part of the sea and settles there, of course, having an impact on the coastal ecosystems, often changing them strongly, but for a while. After a while, recovery occurs", - says the candidate of biological sciences, researcher at the Institute of Oceanology named after P.P. Shirshov RAS Ulyana Simakova.

The climatic situation is cyclical, and floods and other natural disasters are typical for the Black Sea zone, recalls the Director General of the International Ecological Fund "Clean Seas", honorary worker of the sea and river fleet, honorary polar explorer Vasily Bogoslovsky. This is not the first flood, nor the last. Two years ago, Sochi was seriously flooded, although this happens much less often in Crimea.

Senior Researcher of the Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Candidate of Biological Sciences Alexander Agafonov lives in Koktebel and observes the development of the situation on the spot:

"Now quite local events are taking place, and around the rivers they are overflowing. In Crimea, the rivers are frail. If we compare how much flows from the Don to the Sea of Azov, or the Kuban is poured into the sea, incomparably more everything is poured into the sea than it is now happening for several days. Well, the river begins to overflow and falls into the sea. After a couple of days, she is back on track. Sewerage in Crimea in most of the cities and so goes into the sea. A few hundred meters from the shore, the sewerage drains, and further the sea fights with it in a natural way".

However, in Crimea, the authorities declared a state of emergency. This mode allows you to eliminate all the consequences without obtaining papers, permits and lengthy approvals - to save people and eliminate the consequences of a natural disaster.

"But such consequences would not have happened if all these southern settlements were not built up with semi-legal or completely illegal buildings in water protection zones. They are being built without normal sewerage, normal sewage treatment plants. All the runoff goes to the sea", - reminds Vasily Bogoslovsky.

To assess the environmental damage, it is necessary to measure and monitor the condition of the water and the bottom. Several state structures at once - Rosprirodnadzor, Hydromet, the Ministry of Emergencies have laboratories. So far there are no results, so it is impossible to assess the scale of damage to nature.

"It will be possible to say that nothing terrible has happened now only after assessing the state of the environment. Everything flows into the sea", - adds Bogoslovsky.

The scourge of the Black Sea is not oil pollution, although there are also enough of them, as it was in May this year in Tuapse. The coastal ecology is ruined by the sewerage output without any cleaning into the sea, fertilizers and pesticides and garbage washed out from the fields. Ulyana Simakova agrees with this:

"Organic runoff, septic tanks, nitrogen, phosphorus, sewage from cities with decent pollution can be quite intense, but the ecosystem processes it well. After a while, everything returns to its original state. In 2012, there was a strong flood in the Krymsk region. Then there was a very significant runoff. In the Gelendzhik area, where we work, there was a lot of water, a lot of everything washed away from the shore. We saw this from the benthic communities that we monitor. There have been great changes, but after a while they became invisible".

Irina Shulgesterova, coordinator of the Delfi Center in Sochi, assured Novye Izvestia that the current bad weather has not caused any damage to their wards, the dolphins. In the season of storms and rains, rivers overflow, garbage is washed off the banks, everything flows into the sea:

"For dolphins, agricultural runoffs, industrial runoffs, and illegal chemical discharges are dangerous. We would have noticed right away. It will be an emergency. And the garbage, in the end, will be carried to our shore, while the sewage is our reality".

The service for the supervision of nature management on the Black Sea coast of the Krasnodar Territory and in the Crimea has a lot to do. Environmentalists are engaged in the ecology of ports, coal dust, oil emissions. But now the regional authorities, together with Rosprirodnadzor, are focusing on illegal buildings in water protection zones. Time will tell what will come of this, but the problem of sewage must be solved immediately.

"At the end of the emergency regime, a headquarters should be deployed, which will oblige to conduct environmental monitoring, if necessary, to clean the water area. But not a single inspector will say this visually. It is necessary to carry out analyzes", - says Vasily Bogoslovsky.

For citizens who manage to travel to the Black Sea this year, the most important question remains, is it not dangerous to swim in the sea after the floods? Not only will they not be allowed to enter the Black Sea without a certificate of vaccination and a PCR test, and from August 1 only a certificate. After videos of crocodiles in kindergarten and photos from beaches littered with debris, there are concerns about the quality of sea water. Citizens do not think in vain. If the turbidity disappears in 2-3 days, then the consequences of runoff off the coast will remain for a longer period. When asked how long it takes to recover, Ulyana Simakova answers as follows:

"I think that in a year everything is leveled. If geologists looked at the composition of the soil, especially the vertical structure of the columns of soil, they would reveal these traces. And biologists won't notice two differences in a year".

The beaches do not open at the request of the authorities or environmentalists, experts say, but in accordance with the sanitary standards established by Rospotrebnadzor. In the Yalta region, beaches began to gradually open after July 1. Yesterday, the authorities opened 10 more beaches, but the central part of Yalta from the Primorsky beach to Gurzuf is still prohibited for swimming. In Sochi, beaches were also opened in three districts today. Clearing work went on all night. Workers removed 700 tons of river debris.

Meanwhile, the Head of Crimea Sergey Aksenov asks citizens to be careful:

"Any ingress of water into the body can lead to poisoning, rotavirus infection, and so on. Please remember that water has pulled everything into the sea today, including sewage, they have not settled yet".

Experts say that the harmful substances that get into the water, although they settle to the bottom, can cause "blooming" of water, and with it the formation of toxic substances leading to poisoning. Black Sea beaches are often located at the mouths of rivers flowing into the sea, where the danger of biological effluent is even higher. If citizens cannot resist and want to swim in the sea contrary to the voice of reason, experts recommend not swimming at the mouths of rivers and at the very shore. And then how lucky.