On October 13, 2020, German CONTRA partners EUCC-D and Hanseatische Umwelt GmbH took part in a working visit to the Baltic Sea Island of Poel near Wismar to discuss, amongst other things, the work being done to address the legal challenges surrounding beach wrack management. Also joining the meeting were the MEP Mr. Niklas Nienaß (The Green Party) and the spa director of the Ostseebad Insel Poel municipality, Mr. Marcus Frick.
On one of the island’s managed beaches, Timmendorfer Strand, the group discussed the legal obstacles surrounding beach wrack collection and what that means on a practical level for beach managers. This was followed by a visit to the municipality’s dedicated beach wrack storage facility where Hanseatische Umwelt was separating sand from huge amounts of organic material, mainly seagrass, that had been collected over the summer season on the island. The Island of Poel is one of very few municipalities within the whole Baltic Sea region that works with a private beach wrack recycling company, in this case, Hanseatische Umwelt Gmbh, who is also responsible for the project’s case study WRACK4COAST (see www.beachwrack-contra.eu/case-studies/)
Beach cleaning operations are not only costly and time consuming for the municipalities but also legally challenging. The classification of beach wrack as bio-waste can prevent it from being recycled/reused in a sustainable and appropriate way for local needs.
CONTRA project partners are addressing the framework and legal obstacles faced by local authorities. By the project closure in June next year, recommendations will be formulated for legal and policy changes needed to make the treatment of beach wrack more sustainable at the 6 case study sites and within the Baltic Sea region as a whole.