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The first workshop within the joint Norway-Azerbaijan project on reducing plastic litter in the Caspian Sea region

The first CRIPTIC workshop on ‘Litter cleaning registration and sampling methodology’ was held as a webinar on the 25th of June 2021. The webinar was led by the CRIPTIC project leader from Norway and co-leader from Azerbaijan: Akvaplan-niva (Peygham Ghaffari) and Azerbaijan Geographical Society (Elnur Safarov). More than 50 participants took part in the event, including 42 students from Azerbaijan taking part in the project as young researchers and fieldwork volunteers. Project partners from NIVA and SALT gave their presentations at the webinar – Bert van Bavel from NIVA introduced the citizen science approach and presented NIR scanner to be used during field studies in the Caspian region, Jannike Falk-Andersson and Malin Jacob from SALT gave talks on how to organize a clean-up, use the marine debris tracker app and how to develop locally adapted clean-up protocols. The talks were followed with discussions and planning of the field study in the Caspian region (the program of the workshop can be downloaded below).

The fieldwork with litter clean-up and registration should be held in the CRIPTIC pilot region along the Caspian coast in July this year. Further education and training workshops will be held in Azerbaijan before the field study. The groundworks are coordinated with other work packages, including litter registration with remote sensing technologies (using multi-copter and satellite images) and engagement of the local population.

Project info:

Cleaning Riverine Plastic from a Transboundary Inflow to the Caspian (CRIPTIC) project is funded by the Norwegian Retailers’ Environmental Fund (Handelens Miljøfund). CRIPTIC partners are Akvaplan-niva (project manager), NIVA, SALT, and TerraNor from Norway; Azerbaijan Geographical Society, Institute of Geography of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, Sukanal of Azersu JSC, At-Geotech, Water Experts Union, AzerCosmos, and Caspian Integrated Scientific Network from Azerbaijan.

The main objective of CRIPTIC is to build capacity in the Caspian region to reduce plastic litter to the Caspian Sea. The project is organized in three work packages, called: 1) Riverbank cleaning and classification of plastic pollution from the Kura River; 2) Mapping for cleaning; 3) Community engagement.