TISZA – MSSAGE IN THE BOTTLE– report about the developments of the PLASTIC PIRATES

We organize the Tisza PLASTIC PIRATES for the 5th time this summer, which created the mission of protecting and cleaning our country’s 2nd largest river, calling attention to the continuous contamination of our “fair lover”. This communal and environmental event grows bigger and more prestigious every year. This time we will kick off the event with more than a dozen ‘pirate-ships’ made of floodplain junk and garbage with the help of firms, municipalities and civil organizations. Moreover, this year in parallel with the action on river Tisza, a cleaning commando in canoes will start their action on river Bodrog in order to join the ‘pirates’ at the Tisza-bridge at Tokaj. The main supporter of the 2017 PLASTIC PIRATES, as in every year, the Ministry of Agriculture.

The PET story

The root of the problem is that in certain parts of Ukraine and Romania there have not been developed a modern infrastructure of waste management but the consumption of the population (i.e.: usage of packages) have been multiplied in the past decades. It has spread, as a bad practice, that people throw their waste and garbage into the floodplain of Tisza and its feeders which starts its journey down during floods… “And who knows where it’s going to stop?”

The organizers of the PLASTIC PIRATES held the “Second Tisza Roundtable” workshop in spring after the icy stream went down, where we managed to gather most of the affected organizations, who pledged efforts towards an active and effective work and cooperation together. The Wessling Hungary research lab offered here doing the first domestic, river micro-plastic examination of river Tisza, and the Upper-Tisza-region Water-Management Directory (FETIVIZIG) reported on the data of the waste that arrived with the icy stream and on the developments of the damage exemption. Sándor Ötvös, the government official of the developmental tasks of Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county and Kárpátalja invited the organizers to the opening ceremony of “Clean Kárpátalja! – voluntary movement for prettifying the environment” in Beregszász. („Tiszta Kárpátalja! – Önkéntes környezetszépítő mozgalom”)

Thanks to the continuously developing system of contacts, the news of the PLASTIC PIRATES have reached Kárpátalja, where, after university lectures and press briefings, 30 local councils have started to clean their surroundings with the help of the Ministry and the Juvenile Organization of the Hungarian Cultural Alliance of Kárpátalja. 27 towns, more than 1000 people collected 1056 sacks of garbage until the 29th of May, 2017, and the work didn’t stop here. The ‘environment-prettifying’ project will continue, which is necessary regarding the size of the contamination arriving at our country. This is a historic moment from the point of view of environmental protection and it means the start of the Kárpátalja-version of the long standing “Pick It Up!” voluntary program.

From the Vein to the Ocean…

There is more and more talk about the issues with microplastics and the risks of the waste in lakes, rivers, seas and oceans. Even here, in Hungary, there are more concerns raised regarding the waste- and garbage-islands floating in the oceans than the PET-streams that our rivers carry bloating the ‘garbage-soup’ of seas and oceans even more. As it enters to our country, river Tisza slows down and puts a certain amount of waste down in the floodplain forests, which are mostly nature reserves. The crew of the PLASTIC PIRATES has been visiting these forests and the river for years, they have localized more that 150 severely contaminated places with GPS. Thanks to these actions, the waste-map of Tisza have been created: (Waste-monitoring: I.,II., III.).

What is not subsided will travel along and will stuck at the Hydropower Plant of Tiszalök or Kisköre. But if the pressure is big, the water-management experts can’t take the waste off of the water, thus they have to let it go…That’s how we become a part of this global problem.

Because of the risks of the abovementioned dangers, a gap-replacement research will start with Hungary’s first river-microplastic examination, which the organizers will held with the experts of WESSLING Hungary on the 1st of July. More information in the link: http://petkupa.hu/hu_HU/a-mikromuanyagok-nyomaban-hazi-kiserlet

This is how the event grew from just a “wacky race” for raising awareness to a complex environmental protection project. Focusing on the root of the problem, the leader of the event, Természetfilm.hu, plans on submitting an international tender in order to lead these international efforts to the solution with new dynamism and practical steps.

The V. PLASTIC PIRATES in numbers

Time: 1-9 July, 2017

2017 stations: Dombrád-Ibrány-Balsa-Tokaj-Tiszaladány-Tiszalök

  • Distance to be fulfilled: 71 river kilometers
  • Number of boats: 16
  • Number of pirates: ca. 150 people
  • Number of (already mapped) contaminated places: 145
  • Number of (already) cleaned places: 20
  • Quantity of collected waste: 10 ton

Developments, news, announcements of 2017

  • new, modern website have been made for the PLASTIC PIRATES thanks to Konasoft Kft.
  • a canoe-commando on river Bodrog (“Green Circle” of Hajdúböszörmény)
  • qualified and experienced team of volunteers ( around 25-30 people)
  • the collected waste is compressed and selected when passed on to the waste managers, thus 50% of it is recycled!
  • The “PETényi”, the junk-eating junk-boat, created by communal financing and company support, will be launched
  • On the 6th of July, in honor of the Plastic CUP, the city of Tokaj will organize a “Tisza-day”, which will consist of a film-premier, a press conference and several cultural programs.

Old, veteran hands (boats)

  • defending champion ’FesztPET’ (Nemzetközi Természetfilm Fesztivál Gödöllő)
  • ‘Power Biztonságtechnikai Kft.’
  • Nemzeti Hulladékgazdálkodási Koordináló és Vagyonkezelő Zrt. (waste-management coordination company)
  • ’Evezősök’ (boat of the volunteer team of Siemens)
  • ’AZTAKESERVIT Lukrécia Surranó Szellem Vízibolhabéka’ (from Dunaföldvár)
  • ’Tisza 2’ (veteran boat)
  • ‘Vízipanda’ ( boat of WWF Hungary)
  • And a whole bunch of others.

Where do I get to join in?

The entry for this year’s CUP have been closed, but there’s no reason to be sad. You can find a ton of fun and interesting events in the PLASTIC PIRATES guide:

  • 29 June: A “Day 0” and pre-picking will be held by the PLASTIC PIRATES, where you can apply as a volunteer. Meeting: 29 June, 2017 (Thursday) at 9:30 am at the Tisza-beach at Ibrány: (https://goo.gl/maps/tJLrnib9FHp)
  • 3 July: 11:00 am - the official start of the 2017 PLASTIC PIRATES with the whole fleet at the free beach of Dombrád
  • 5 July: around 4 pm – the Bodrog- and the Tisza-teams will meet at the Tisza-bridge at Tokaj.
  • 6 July: “Tisza-day” – All-day programs at Tokaj with the participants of PLASTIC PIRATES
  • 8 July: Finish and announcement of results at ‘Feketeszakáll Kalandpark és Strand’ at Tiszalök.
  • 9 July: joint ‘Big Jump’ organized by WWF at ‘Feketeszakáll Kalandparj és Strand’ at Tiszalök.

Main supporter of the 2017 Plastic CUP: the Ministry of Agriculture

The Ministry of Agriculture, due to its responsibility for environmental protection, inspires and keeps an eye on the development and application of new environmental protection methods. It ensures emphasized attention and support towards the prevention of waste-formation, the support of voluntarily organized initiatives, which serve the development of the environmental awareness. That is why we have been supporting the PLASTIC PIRATES for years, which, in favor of the prevention and reduction of waste-contamination of river Tisza, became a cross-border action.

Sponsors, partners

Ministry for Innovation and Technology