Over 350 people, including a dozen or so employees of Polish Waters, took part in cleaning the estuary section of the Słupia River as part of the 3rd edition of Eco Rafting organized by the Alpha Team Association from the budget of the City of Ustka. Employees of Polish Waters helped to clean the 8-kilometer section of the Słupia River from about 1 ton of rubbish and educated participants about the importance of protecting the Baltic Sea and inland waters as part of the Protect the Sea project!

The Słupia River drains its waters directly to the Baltic Sea. In addition, its catchment area divides territorially the water regions administered by the RZGW Szczecin and Gdańsk, which manage the waters of the Baltic coasts. Employees of Polish Waters from five administrative units were involved in the cleaning action of Słupia: the National Water Management Authority, the Management of the Basin in Gdańsk, the Water Supervision Authority in Słupsk (RZGW Gdańsk) and the Management of the Basin in Koszalin and the Water Supervision in Sławno (RZGW Szczecin), showing that for the condition of our waters and the Baltic Sea is our common concern!

On land, in and under water

The cleaning of the Słupia river was organized on the 8-kilometer stretch of the river. The waste was collected from the bottom and banks of the river. There were 3 routes to choose from: hiking, kayaking and underwater. In total, over 350 people collected about 1 ton of rubbish, which shows how wide the problem of pollution of our waters, including the Baltic Sea, is. The positive information is that in the third Eco Rafting, less rubbish was collected than in its previous editions. The cleaning of Słupia ended with a picnic for the participants and residents of Ustka. More in the video HERE.

– We must remember that households are responsible for 48% of the waste going to the sea. Improving the cleanliness of the Baltic Sea depends on what we do on land: in every home, enterprise, institution and farm – said Przemysław Gruszecki, Director of the Department of Water Environment Management in Polish Waters, at the picnic in Ustka.

What can be found in the water?

The waters flowing into the Baltic Sea carry not only nutrients. What flows through them is largely the effect of washing away all kinds of rubbish thrown into them and illegal landfills in river valleys. As much as 70% of the mass of waste is plastic, which flows into the river and travels with the current, sometimes settling on the shore or its bottom, but a significant part of it ends up in the sea. The plastic often breaks down into small pieces, releasing harmful microplastics. One of its sources is plastic bottles. Studies show that those who drink water in plastic bottles every day, may consume more than 22 times more (90,000) microplastics per year than people who drink the same amount of tap water (4,000).

Remember that nearly 80% of pollution goes to the sea from land, so it is important that we ourselves – both the inhabitants of coastal areas and those in the south – take care of how we manage our waste on a daily basis. Remember that what is thrown into the river goes to the Baltic Sea. The action of cleaning the Słupia river in Ustka shows how important it is to build responsible attitudes in society and educate both children and adults – added Joanna Sasal, Deputy Director of the Department of Water Environment Management in Polish Waters, during the 3rd Eco Rafting in Ustka.

Remember that microplastics present in cosmetics are also not retained in sewage treatment plants, but together with treated sewage they are discharged into waters or soils and then transported to the sea, posing a great threat not only to us, but also to the marine fauna and flora.

About the Baltic Sea at the Polish Waters stand

Employees of the Polish Waters provided children and adults with competitions, quizzes and educational materials, sharing knowledge about what to do to improve the quality of water in our rivers, lakes and the Baltic Sea from year to year. Coloring pages depicting the animals of the Baltic Sea and the coloring spots at the stand made it possible to educate the youngest children in a simple way. For older children and adults there were gifts in the wheel of fortune as well as informational and educational materials about the project Protect the Sea! The stand was very popular, which shows that promoting pro-ecological attitudes is important and possible not only at school or at work, but also during outdoor events that build citizenship.

Our presence at Eko Spływie is not accidental. Polish Waters take an active part in many actions aimed at removing garbage from the riverbed and banks of the river and promoting correct habits regarding water purity. This year we have already cleaned e.g. The mouth of the Vistula, the right bank of the Mewia Łacha reserve and the scarp and bottom of the Pasłęka river. I would like to thank all the employees of Polish Waters, who each year extract hundreds of tons of waste from our rivers, lakes and reservoirs – added Joanna Sasal.

Let’s protect our sea together

As part of the updated marine water protection program – aPOWM, nearly 60 activities have been planned to improve the condition of the Baltic waters, ranging from cleaning beaches from rubbish, including a ghost net fishing program, cleaning river banks, cleaning beaches by lakes, and equipping municipalities with modern cleaning equipment beaches, by combating underwater noise to systemic solutions for preventing the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea basin. 3-month public consultations on the project last until October 5, 2021. Everyone can take part in the project consultations and protect the sea with us. More at: https://chronmorze.eu/en/consultations/.

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