Although plastic has many advantages, it has become a serious environmental hazard and has been recognized as global problem. Especially plastic waste in marine ecosystems has become a great environmental problem on regional and global levels. Rivers are recognized as main vectors of pollution although sources and pathways of plastic in the rivers and its environmental impacts remain unclear.
The project “PlasticFreeDanube” focuses on macro plastic waste (> 5 mm) in and along the Danube river and parts of its riparian area. The overall aim of the project is to establish a scientifically sound knowledge base as well as a methodological approach on plastic waste in and along the river in terms of entrance points, quantities, transport patterns, and environmental threats.
First sorting results of the collected plastic waste
The analysis of parts of the collected quantities of previous collection activities in the time between September 2017 to June 2018 shows that a large proportion of the plastic waste found, consists of PET bottles and other packaging material (about 30-55%). Furthermore, foamed plastics (such as polystyrene), as well as household waste and waste from sports and leisure activities, account for a big share.
Successful collection campaigns in summer 2018
Also in April, May and June 2018 collection activities took place in the study area between Freudenau and Gabčíkovo. For example, on 14th of April, about 30 volunteers of the WWF - Generation Earth collected 18 bags full of garbage in the context of the 2nd Danube Volunteers Day in the Danube-Auen National Park , using the collection and sorting protocol designed in the frame of the project PlasticFreeDanube. Afterwards the collected plastic waste was handed over to project partner PISAS for further analysis. The 2nd DanubeVolunteers Day was organized by DANUBEparksCONNECTED, a cooperation partner of PlasticFreeDanube.
24 Juni 2018: A day dedicated to stop plastic floods - International workshop and round table discussion in Budapest
On June 28, 2018, a half-day conference was held in Budapest on the occasion of the International Danube Day, followed by a panel discussion on "Challenges of plastic waste in the Danube region and beyond". Representatives of the project consortium were not only able to present PlasticFreeDanube at this event, but also made valuable contacts to other projects in the Danube region and opened up possibilities for future synergies.
20 June 2018: For a clean Danube - More than 1,000 kids at Danube Day in Vienna's Stadtpark
On the 20th of June, the annual Danube Day took place in Vienna with the aim to "Get active for a healthier Danube". More than 1,000 children participated to learn more about nature, flood protection, navigation, water and of course the Danube itself. Also the PlasticFreeDanube team attended with an interactive program in order to raise awareness ato keep the Danube clean. Visitors gained important information and educational advice on plastics, the life span of waste in water and waste prevention.
16. Juni 2018: Danube Day in Bratislava
On 16th of June the Danube Day took place in Bratislava. Project partners PISAS and RepaNet o.z. created an interesting program and gave information about the project. An important part of the program was the training of proper waste separation with kids as well as demonstrating up-cycling PET bottle waste to jewellery.
24 April 2018: Consortium Meeting of all project partners in Slovakia
On the 24th of April the second meeting of all project partners took place at which the hydropower plants Čunovo, Dobrohšť and Gabčíkovo in the Slovakian projects’ area were visited in the morning. In the afternoon the hitherto existing projects’ results of the various work packages were presented and further projects’ activities and possible cooperation were discussed.
March 26, 2018: Collection and Sorting Analysis of Plastic Waste
Already last autumn and winter, several collection activites have been organised at the Austrian part of the project area. We would like to thank all the volunteers for collecting the material we needed for the sorting analysis! The last five collections within the floodplain of the national park resulted in 245 kilos of plastic waste. The highest amount of this collected material (> 50%) – in terms of overal weight – were PET bottles and expanded polystyrene (e.g. styrofoam boards). The next collection and sorting activities are planned for April 2018 and shall offer further valuable clues to the amount and composition of the plastic waste. We are already curious how the situation has changed after the winter!
24. January 2018: Strategic Partner Kick-Off Event
Within the cross-border project PlasticFreeDanube viadonau engages together with Austrian and Slovak partners for a comprehensive investigation and for sustainable solutions to avoid plastic pollution in the Danube. In this regard the first meeting with national and international strategic partners took place on January 24th, 2018 in Hainburg, Lower Austria.