TED Case Studies
Black Sea Pollution and Tourism
1. The Issue
In February, 1992, members of the Commonwealth of Independent
States signed the interrepublican agreement On Cooperation in the
Area of Ecology. Absent from this meeting was Ukraine, one of the
more environmentally damaged areas of the former Soviet Union.
Included in the damage is the Crimean Region, a popular vacation
spot on the Black Sea, and an area where Western investment in the
growing tourist industry is both anticipated and badly needed. As
pollution continues in the area, tourism both in the Ukraine and in
bordering coastal states will suffer.
2. Description At a February 8, 1992 meeting of
members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Moscow,
participants signed an interrepublican agreement On Cooperation in
the Area of Ecology. Participating states recognized that borders
between governments do not coincide with natural ecological and
basin boundaries, adding that economic activity in one state must
not cause damage to the environment, the public's quality of life,
or economic activity in other states.
The parties resolved, among other points to:
(1) promote environmental protection through the
drafting and enforcement of environmental legislation
(2) harmonize methodologies, procedures and standards
of environmental assessment and regulation and to make
them compatible with international practice;
(3) pursue joint environmental research and protection
programs, including the dismantling of chemical and
(4) create an interstate ecological information system
and common list of endangered species;
(5) form an interstate ecological council composed of
the environment ministers of the participating states;
(6) finance an interstate ecological fund aimed
primarily at rendering disaster assistance.
Following up on the original Moscow meeting, minus the
Ukraine, the environment ministers from seven CIS states met in
Minsk in July, 1992 where they signed a protocol capitalizing on an
inter-state ecological fund with an initial sum of 60 million
rubles. The ministers committed their states to make yearly
contributions to the fund at the rate of 0.05 percent of their
gross national product. The participating states were Armenia,
Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation,
Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The Ukraine participated in this
meeting only as an observer and did not commit itself to any
Ukraine suffered as a result of Soviet planning and
subsequent ecological problems. While Ukraine accounted for just
3 percent of the total territory of the former Soviet Union, it had
such a heavy concentration of chemical plants and had been so
intensively industrialized that it provided 25 percent of the
Soviet gross national product. Additionally, over 1,000
dangerous chemical enterprises, 93 percent of whose output was
exported, were based in Ukraine.
Commonly referred to as the breadbasket of the (former) Soviet
Union, Ukraine provided 23 percent of the agricultural production
in the country. Recently, however, about one-third of all
Ukraine's arable land has suffered from soil erosion, while
chemical substances continue to contaminate and further deplete its
value; over the past twenty-five years, 1.25 million hectares of
arable land have been lost due to industrial
expansion. The coal industry alone has accounted for the
ruination of 260,000 hectares, most of which cannot be returned to
agricultural production. Close to 246,000 acres of the
famous Ukrainian black soil have been contaminated by radioactive
isotopes. Of fifty-five farms in twenty different oblasts
(Ukraine is divided into twenty-four "oblasts") that were the
subject of a 1988 study, thirty-three were found to be
contaminated with pesticides in the spring and twenty-five in the
Ukrainian air is no better off than the land. Air pollution
in 102 Ukrainian cities is at least ten times higher than
officially permitted rates, threatening more than 50 million
people. For comparison, the Environmental Protection Agency
estimates that each year U.S. industry emits 2.7 billion pounds of
toxic chemicals into the air. Ukraine alone, however,
discharged 22 billion pounds of toxic substances into the
atmosphere during 1988. The 800 million pounds of toxic waste
released into the air by a single Ukrainian city, Zaporizhzhya,
equals about one-third of total U.S. emissions. Fixed
terrestrial sources in Ukraine "accounted for 11.5 million tons of
atmospheric wastes yearly, composed mainly of carbon, sulfur and
Ukrainian waterways, its rivers and seas, are in desperate
trouble. In 1988, 2,634 million cubic meters of contaminated water
were released into the rivers of Ukraine, of which 516 million
cubic meters were completely untreated and 2,118 million cubic
meters insufficiently treated. Sulfides and chlorates made up the
bulk of the dangerous contaminants. Drinking water in many regions
of southern Ukraine and in the Donbass Basin does not conform to
health standards. Additionally, the number of rivers in the
country has declined from 40,000 to 25,000 in recent years, as a
direct result of ecological misuse. More than five million tons of
salt are dumped into Ukraine's rivers every year; scientists have
found that salinity in water leads to genetic defects and causes
severe illness, such as tumors and heart disease. So polluted are
Ukraine's rivers that most of them no longer freeze in winter.
Of particular concern are the Dnipro and Dniester Rivers, the
first and second largest rivers in the Ukraine.
Concentrations of oil, nitric acid and phenols in the Dnipro have
reached catastrophic levels. At least 105 industrial and
agricultural enterprises continue to dump about 40.5 million cubic
meters of contaminated water into the Dniester River each year.
The river is the chief source of drinking water for the 2.6 million
people in the port city of Odessa and the region surrounding it.
What elevates the problem further is that both rivers spill into
the Black Sea.
Located in Southern Ukraine in the Crimean Oblast,
contamination from the Crimean region combined with the inflow of
river pollution has left the Black Sea and the surrounding area an
ecological nightmare. The greatest peril facing the Black Sea is
eutrophication -- the disappearance of dissolved oxygen
without which fish die, algae blossom and harmful bacteria
multiply rapidly. Additionally, the level of pollution from
hydrogen sulfide, the substance most damaging to water quality,
rose by two-thirds in the Black Sea from 1935 to 1985. Taken
together, the survival of an aquatic ecosystem and a developed
tourist industry in the Black Sea region is in grave danger.
The Crimea has a long-standing reputation as a balneological
(therapeutic baths) resort. There are a total of 330 sanatoriums
in the Crimea while the main therapeutic remedies are the local
air, sun and sea. Western firms are expected to invest in
coastal recreational projects such as hotels, boarding houses and
camping grounds and assist in creating a true service
infrastructure that will ultimately benefit the economy. The
ruination of both the Crimean air, land and sea threatens the
growing 11.4 million ruble leisure business and future Western
investment in this field.
Ukraine's seeming lack of desire to cooperate with other CIS
states in cleaning up the region may create additional
environmental legal problems. Ukraine's unwillingness to
participate in a meaningful way in a joint environmental program,
no matter how beneficial, "points to the rapidly increasing
significance of the sovereignty issue in the post-Soviet era." It
is ironic that the environment has been put on the
"back-burner" in the Ukraine since it arguably was the
environment which sparked the independence movement:
...traumatized by Chernobyl and its aftermath,
ecological consciousness became part of our national
consciousness recalls a senior leader of Rukh, adding
demonstrations against nuclear power were part of the
largest protest against the (Soviet) empire itself.
3. Related Cases
4. Draft Author: Renata D. Hron
5. Discourse and Status: DISagreement and INPROGress
Public outcry could force the Ukrainian government to adopt
strict environmental laws. A proposed nuclear reactor in the
Crimean region was stalled and ultimately stopped due to public
demonstrations against the project. In the fall of 1988, the
Crimean Komsomol newspaper published a questionnaire asking whether
the Crimean nuclear power plant was needed. Of thirty-thousand
signatures obtained, only two of the respondents were in favor of
building the station. Although the interrepublican agreement On
Cooperation in the Area of Ecology has been signed, details
regarding implementation of the agreement's goals have not been
established or instilled.
6. Forum and Scope: CIS and REGIONal
7. Decision Breadth:12 (CIS and Ukraine)
A unilateral case involving Ukraine is also probable, should
the government succumb to public pressure.
8. Legal Standing: TREATY
The agreement should be classified as a Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU), thereby a type of International Treaty.
9. Geographic Locations
a. Geographic Domain:EUROPE
b. Geographic Site: East Europe [EEUR]
c. Geographic Impact: UKRaine
10. Sub-National Factors:NO
11. Type of Habitat:OCEAN
12. Type of Measure: Regulatory Standard [REGSTD]
13. Direct v. Indirect Impacts: INDirec
14. Relation of Trade Measure to Environmental Impact
a. Directly Related to Product: YES MANY
b. Indirectly Related to Product: YES TOURism
c. Not Related to Product: YES
d. Related to Process: YES Pollution sea [POLS}
15. Trade Product Identification:TOURism
The government budget for 1993 for Recreation and Culture
activities, in Ukrainian karbovanets, was 353 billion. The total
projected expenditures for the same time period was 5, 616
billion karbovanets or 6 percent of the total government
Just over three-hundred private cooperatives in 1990
employed four thousand Ukrainians in the leisure field. While this
appears to be a small amount, the figure is for private
cooperatives only. Almost the entire the tourist industry in 1990
was handled through the state (via Intourist), for which figures
are unavailable. The aforementioned figure, however, is certainly
on the rise as investment in Crimea arrives and private
cooperatives legally expand. The public dining private
cooperative, a part of the whole tourist industry, employed an
additional 4,500 people for the same time period.
16. Economic Data
The travel and tourism industry is the world's second
largest industry, after agriculture, with 1990 employment at over
101 million people worldwide, and gross sales exceeding $2
trillion. Total worldwide 1990 government funding of national
government tourism organizations equaled $2,418 million for the top
twenty countries reporting. The top countries in this
grouping were Italy, Spain, France, Korea and Mexico, with the
United States occupying the 20th position. Tourism will
continue to be a major growing economic factor in the world with
real growth rates of 4.3-5.0 percent in the 1990s. The top five
earning countries are United States, France, Spain, Italy and the
United Kingdom in 1989 and the top five spending countries were the
United States, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and France.
International travel services ranked as the largest U.S. export in
1990, as international travelers coming to the United States bring
$52.8 billion in revenues.
17. Impact of Trade Restriction:NA
In 1990, Soviet scholars calculated annual economic costs of
environmental damage at 15 to 17 percent of national income. Some
of the larger losses include wind and water erosion and wastage of
natural resources which combined as a 25
billion-ruble-a-year loss, an amount equal to earnings forgone from
forestry, fisheries and fur trapping. Additionally, the overall
economic toll of environmental abuse during the 1980s ran eleven to
fifteen times above the amounts spent on environmental protection.
These calculations do not even include the 27
billion-ruble-a-year drain in sick pay and missing output due to
the illnesses, many of them related to unclean air and water, that
kept four million workers from their jobs each day.
18. Industry Sector:TOURism
19. Exporters and Importers: MANY and UKRaine
20. Environmental Problem Type: Pollution Sea [POLS]
21. Name, Type, and Diversity of Species
Diversity: Sustainable yield of
22. Resource Impact and Effect: HIGH and 100s of years
23. Urgency of Problem: MEDium and REGULatory
Journalist Volodymyr Kolinko notes in a recent article that "90%
of the Black Sea can now be declared dead, a victim of hydrogen
sulfide gas that is continuing to rise from the depths of the seas
and contaminate its upper layers." Continuing, Kolinko predicts
that "the Black Sea will be totally destroyed by the year 2040 if
the present trend continues." Other countries in the region add to
the problem (see BARREL and MEDIT cases).
Biodegradable [BIODG] products
26. Trans-Boundary Issues:YES The problem is
shared by the many countries that border the Black Sea.
27. Rights:YES In many respects, this problem is
the result of a lack of human rights. The lack of rights silenced
any would-be protests to the ecological calamity facing the Black
Sea and the Ukraine.
28. Relevant Literature
Associated Press. "Gates Warns of Contamination in Former
Soviet Union." The Washington Post (August 17, 1992): A:7.
Baumgartl, Bernd. "West Provides No New Aid to Clean Up
Eastern Europe." RFE/RL Research Report, 2/29 (July 16,
Cole, John, P. "Republics of the Former USSR in the
Context of a United Europe and New World Order." Soviet
XXXII/9 (November, 1991): 587-603.
Erdmann, Ron. International Travel To and From the United
States: 1994 Outlook. Washington, DC: U.S. Travel and
Tourism Administration, October, 1993.
Feshback, Murray and Friendly, Alfred, Jr. Ecocide in the
USSR. New York: Basic Books, 1992.
Frishberg, Alex and Snelbecker, David, Eds. The Ukrainian
Legal and Economic Bulletin. "The Project on
Economic Reform in Ukraine & The American
Chamber of Commerce" 1/5 (May, 1993).
Frishberg, Alex and Snelbecker, David, Eds. The Ukrainian
Legal and Economic Bulletin. "The Project on Economic Reform
in Ukraine and The American Chamber of Commerce" 1/6
Golitsyn, Georgii, S. "Ecological Problems in the CIS During
the Transitional Period." RFE/RL Research Report 2/8
Hawkins, Donald E., and Ritchie, J.R. Brent, eds. World Travel
and Tourism Review. Wallingford, UK: Information CAB
Hockstader, Lee. "Ukraine: A Breadbasket Becomes a Basket
Case." The Washington Post (November 8, 1993): A:1+.
Kemble, Penn. "Wastelands Beyond the Iron Curtain." Los
Angeles Times (November 21, 1989): B:7.
Marples, David. "Decree on Ecology Adopted in Ukraine." RFE/RL
Research Report (April 6, 1990).
Marples, David. "Debate over Nuclear Plant Construction
Intensifies in Ukraine." RFE/RL Research Report
(January 13, 1989).
Marples, David. "Ecological Issues Discussed At Founding
Congress of Zelenyi Svit." RFE/RL Research Report
(February 2, 1990): 21-22.
Marples, David. "The Ecological Situation in Ukraine."
RFE/RL Research Report (January 19, 1990): 23-25.
Marples, David. "Ukraine in 1988: Economic and Ecological
Issues." RFE/RL Research Report (February 2, 1990).
Marples, David. "Food versus Ecology: Building the North
Crimean Canal." RFE/RL Research Report (March 10,
Marples, David. "The Greens and the Ecological Catastrophe
in Ukraine." RFE/RL Research Report (November 2,
Marples, David. "Industrial Pollution in Ukraine."
RFE/RL Research Report (March 24, 1989).
Marples, David. "Ukrainian Ecological Group Publishes
Draft Statute." RFE/RL Research Report (September 29,
Maslov, Mykola, Ed. Business Ukraine, 1/9 (Ukrinform,
August 31, 1993).
Olynyk, Marta, Ed. Ukraine, A Tourist Guide. Ellicott City,
MD, Smoloskyp Publishers, 1993.
Peterson, D.J. "The Environment in the Post-Soviet Era."
RFE/RL Research Report 2/2 (January 1993).
Roberts, Paul Craig. "Soviet Ecological Disasters." The
Washington Times (June 26, 1989): D4.
Sieff, Martin. "Chernobyl aside, Ukraine is Stifled by Vast
Pollution." The Washington Times (April 26, 1990):
Statistical Handbook 1993 - States of the Former USSR.
Washington, DC, The World Bank, 1993.
Travel and Tourism Government Affairs Council, Tourism Facts.
Washington, DC, 1991.
U.S. Department of Commerce. International Trade
Administration, National Trade Data Bank - Market Research
Ukraine Country Profile. Washington, DC, National
Trade Data Bank on CD Rom, August 30, 1993.
U.S. Department of Commerce. International Trade
Administration, National Trade Data Bank - Market Research
Ukraine Travel Profile. Washington, DC, National Trade
Data Bank on CD Rom, August 30, 1993.
U.S. Department of State. National Trade Data Bank - Country
Reports on Economic Policy and Trade Practices - Soviet
Union (Former) Economic Policy and Trade Practices.
Washington, DC, National Trade Data Bank on CD Rom,
Vernikov, Andrei. "New Entrants in Soviet Foreign Trade:
Behavior Patterns and Regulation in the Transitional
Period." Soviet Studies 43/5 (1991): 823-836.
Zhukov, S.I. "The Geography of the USSRs Foreign Trade With
Bordering Socialist Countries." Soviet Geography
XXXI/1 (January, 1990): 46-53.
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