I have been living in Constanta since I was born. After 29 years of living in my home town, I can say that the two things I enjoy the most about it is the Black Sea and its heritage.
Constanta is one of Romania’s most important touristic cities with a rich history (founded in the 6th century B.C. as the city of Tomis) and a population of almost 284.000 people (as of the 2011 census: http://www.constanta.insse.ro/phpfiles/sR_TAB_3.pdf) . It’s geographical location makes it a great asset to Romania, being the most important port of the country, but also to the EU, as it is considered the 4th most important port of Europe.1
It all comes down to the people!
From my point of view, Constanta is a city with important cultural, touristic and economic potential. There is a lot of room for improvement on all of these aspects and it is up to us, the people to make the most of it: the lonely fisherman, the entrepreneurs, the parents, the students and nontheless the authorities. Ten years ago, in 2007, Romania has been given a great opportunity; it became a EU member and was granted the right to access EU funds.
However, in 2015 the absorption rate of structural and cohesion funds was 63,3%, the lowest in the European Union.2 For the 2007-2013 period, the absorption rate was only 61,5%.3 In this context, it is important to mention that in 2012, Constanta had the biggest absorption rate in the South-East region of Romania according to the representatives of the Regional Development Agency4; also, in 2014 there was an almost 100% absorption rate in the South-East region of Romania.5
The Kind of Project that Makes it Count
„The Protection and Rehabilitation of the Southern Black Sea Coast in the Constanta Municipality Area (Mamaia South, Tomis North, Tomis Centre and Tomis South) and Eforie North Area” is one of the most important EU-funded projects in Romania within the last years. It benefits the local people, businesses and tourists alike through:
- protection against coastal corrosion and floods
- wider beaches that locals and tourists can enjoy
- creation of 250 jobs for local people
The total investment for the project is EUR 170 406 668, with the EU’s Cohesion Fund contributing EUR 145 680 660 through the „Environment” Operational Programme for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.6
Why this Project Matters
I fondly remember the days when, as a child, I would go to the beach and enjoy a summer day playing in the water, getting a tan on the hot sand, and relaxing with my family and getting in touch with nature. From about the 1990’s things changed, sunbeds started to take over the beaches of Constanta and Mamaia; the atmosphere changed, it all became more economical and less about relaxing in the nature. As I grew up, I wasn’t so fond of going to the beach in the summer because of the high number of sunbeds that gradually invaded most of the beaches. As a result, the people who wanted to sunbathe on the sand got crowded on a few small beaches and the whole summer experience got ruined… at least for me it did. I still visited the beach off-season, in the spring, autumn and winter to recharge my batteries and clear my thoughts.
Last year, in 2016, I heard about this project in the news and got really excited: new beaches with no sunbeds, at least until 2020. The local people and the tourists who yearned to get in touch with nature now have a place that they can call their own.
My favourite new beach is the one from Tomis North. It is extremely wide, it has two new piers which head into the sea that can be walked on. The atmosphere is extremely pleasant: no loud music, only a few sunbeds that can be seen in the distance, loads and loads of sand and water. Visiting this spot at sunrise is a treat for the body and soul: the cool breeze, the fishermen, the seagulls, the ducks, the cormorants, the intriguing light and the joggers make this place into a summer wonderland.
At least until you focus your point of view on the details: the graffiti, the garbage left on the sand and on the pier… It is a shame, and that is why it all comes down to the people: an impressive project was implemented, a gift to the locals and the tourists; it is up to the people to take care, to sustain and respect the work that has been put into it and the environment.
All in all, I consider the implementation of this project a huge step forward and a great example to be taken into consideration for future ideas. It is also important to take into consideration the negative aspects that have been observed regarding human behaviour in relation to the environment: projects that attend to educating adults and children about taking care of nature and the importance of recycling should be created.
Photo credits: Corina Radu