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.
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.
Co-ordinated by the European Wilderness Society (EWS), and implemented by partners Synevyr National Park and Syniy Vyr, this project has successfully completed its goals and adapted to the challenges brought by the pandemic in 2020.
Meetings, training and education were all redesigned as a result of having to move online. The various sessions were able to host up to 100 participants and – due to support in translation from the international team of EWS – participants could directly interact with the presenters and audience without language barriers. As a result, the direct outreach and engagement was more than its original target. More information on the fantastic training sessions can be found here.
Clean-up activities, although affected by the restrictions of the pandemic, were successfully carried out in September and October, resulting in 50 bags of rubbish (equalling a tonne of waste) being removed from the riverbanks of Tereblya.
The project’s campaign ‘Bring plastic – take (free entry) ticket’ was a great success. The campaign was promoted on websites, social media and local television. The majority of waste collected during this campaign was plastic. Synevyr NNP hopes to continue this campaign in future years, and other protected areas are also looking into replicating the campaign.
Posters, leaflets and informative signs have been produced, distributed/installed to help inform visitors and encourage respect for nature and the environment.
Although this project has come to an end, EWS and their partners, continue to support and tackle issues in protected areas, as well as promote respect for nature in the Ukrainian National Parks so that all can enjoy in the future years to come.