Plastic Cup has experienced significant improvements during the past years owing to the enthusiastic team of organizers, the many volunteers, the support of nearby towns and villages, and the co-operation of governmental institutions and sponsoring companies. It all goes to say that many people champion the case of Tisza River in many different ways.
Thanks to the support of Büchl Hungária Ltd. and National Waste Management Directorate (NMWD) we could survey and monitor the Upper Tisza between Szatmárcseke and Tiszaadony, an approx. eighty-kilometre long section, before Plastic Cup IV.
The first two Plastic Cups, held in 2013 and in 2014, were great success stories. The Plastic Pirates had covered more than 100 kilometres and collected nearly 25.000 bottles from the river. At the end of the boat-race, the winners were given the prestigious Plastic Cup made of – guess what – garbage from the river. Boats are afterwards recycled, just like the massive loads of plastic collected during the race.
Pollution contamination at the Tisza is a rather complex issue. In order to deal with its effects, we decided to appraise the damages, since the extent of pollution and the amount of waste were virtually unknown earlier.
We boarded a ship at Szatmárcseke and sailed downstream under the professional leadership of the Sonar Diver team, leaving and picking up our experts now at the left bank, then at the right. We had collected information about the more polluted locations in advance, but we also used our previous observations and our knowledge about the movement of floods in order to find waste.
For waste monitoring we used a mobile phone application (Trash Out) where we uploaded photos and quantitative data with exact locations. This program is free to download and use, so the polluted areas can be tracked by communities all around the world.
During the 3-day initiative, we managed to measure and map nearly 30 polluted areas, most of which we would like to clean during this year’s Plastic Cup. In the most polluted location, a cute little gallery forest, plastic bottles cover several square kilometres. We chose this place for the pre-schedule activity of the Plastic Cup during which we are going to collect the wastes from this area with the help of our volunteers, separate them based on their materials, and use the serviceable ones in building ships that will be competing at the Cup.
One of our supporters is the regional waste management non-profit company (Térségi Hulladék-gazdálkodási Nonprofit Kft.) so they will tackle the issues of transportation and reusing of waste. With the help of the research laboratory of Wessling Ltd we are going to examine waste samples and inspect the problem of microplastic in the affected areas.
An interesting fact about pollution is that the garbage that forms islands in the oceans comes from our own gardens, although we are not aware of it. However, the garbage we collect or prevent will never get into our bigger live waters and will never be able to worsen the already worrying issue of microplastic.
Big thanks to our sponsors! Without them the monitoring of Tisza in June 2016 could not have been carried out.