Subject: Black Sea-Glance (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Sat, 3 Jan 1998 10:37:12 -0500 (EST)


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu,  1 Jan 98 22:40:00 GMT 
Subject: Black Sea-Glance

Black Sea-Glance

By The Associated Press
   A look at the Black Sea and its environmental threats:
   GEOGRAPHY: Foot-shaped Black Sea extends 720 miles from Georgia
in east to coasts of Romania and Bulgaria. Turkey, Ukraine and
Russia also border sea. Fed by huge drainage basin that covers more
than third of Europe. Organic runoff from rivers has robbed oxygen
from 90 percent of sea, creating world's largest marine "dead
   HISTORY: Formed about 10,000 years ago when Bosporus reconnected
with giant fresh-water lake. Ancient Greeks and Romans created
outposts on sea, allowing first major contact with nomadic plains
dwellers and Near Eastern cultures of Caucasus Mountains.
Significant Jewish, Greek, Muslim communities along coast before
this century. More than half of coast was part of former Soviet
   PROBLEMS: Untreated sewage, pesticides, nutrient-rich fertilizer
pour in. Toxic and hospital wastes dumped offshore. Introduction of
non-native species disrupting food chain. Along coast, fouled
drinking water and air pollution blamed for high rates of asthma,
tuberculosis and outbreaks of cholera, typhus, hepatitis.
   FISH: General decline in fish stocks from overfishing,
pollution, habitat loss. Sturgeon endangered; red mullet, turbot,
mackerel seriously depleted; anchovy and shad among recovering
   SEA MAMMALS: Less than five monk seals believed in wild. Harbor
porpoises down to about 100,000 from 1 million in 1980. Declining
population of bottlenose dolphin. Common dolphin stable at
   PROJECTS: Black Sea Action Plan signed in 1996 by all six
coastal nations. Plan includes promises for improved sewage
control, regional conservation strategies, study of possible
special environmental fund.