Clean up Synevyr National Nature Park, Ukraine

European Wilderness Society is the only pan-European, wilderness and environmental advocacy non profit organisation.  It aims to identify, designate and steward Europe’s last wildernesses, including coasts, rivers, forests and islands.

Waste heading downstream ....
Waste heading downstream ....

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The Project

National Nature Park Synevyr is located in the Ukrainian Carpathian mountains and is characterised by large, contiguous areas of old growth broadleaf and conifer forest, rivers, lakes, peat bogs and wetlands. Captivating outdoor lovers, tourism volume is increasing rapidly, with 200,000 visitors annually, yet due to the insufficient local and visitor awareness, and absence of a regional waste management strategy, waste accumulation is bringing ecosystems and wildlife into serious danger. Tereblya is one of the biggest rivers flowing through the Park that eventually feeds the River Danube. The river and its banks are increasingly polluted by plastic, metal and human waste through illegal camping, burning and dump sites. Food waste dumps attract wildlife, potentially leading to conflicts with animals such as bears. The project will work with the local authorities, communities, and visitors to introduce an effective waste management system, introducing eco-toilets, signage, bins and money off park fees for bringing out rubbish found as well as running education and clean up events along 45km of trail, Synevyr Lake and river.

Illegal waste dumps
Illegal waste dumps

The Update

The project is off to a great start, despite the significant challenges to its implementation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the biggest issues was the necessity to cancel the face-to-face training sessions. As a consequence, the project completely redesigned their ranger training to an online version, ‘Ranger training on tourism and waste management’. And these training sessions are proving very successful! Additionally, and as a result of being online, the sessions have also been able to reach a wider audience, including participants from numerous other countries, such as Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Norway and Lithuania.

The project has also been able to establish a cooperation with the Ministry of Energy and Environmental Protection of Ukraine and Ukrainian State Environmental Academy of Post Graduates and Management. This has enabled training certificates to be issued by the Academy to Ukrainian participants who attend and pass the training course, encouraging many protected area staff members and NGO representatives to participate.

Whilst the pandemic may have temporarily stalled work on the ground, the Synevyr National Nature Park has, nevertheless, been very active in preparing for when clean up action can recommence; preparations are well underway for the launch of the campaign “Bring plastic-take free entry ticket” as soon as restrictions are lifted.

More information on the fantastic training sessions can be found here.
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We are hugely grateful for the support of the European Outdoor Conservation Association, without whose support we could never have realised such an ambitious project.
Hugo Tagholm, Surfers Against Sewage