Rivers are an integral part of the Baltic Sea – as many as 97% of rivers end their course in the north of Poland, in the Baltic basin. By keeping them clean, you have a direct impact on the improvement of the condition of our sea waters. Water is not a garbage can; by protecting the rivers you say Save the Sea!
Maintaining the proper condition of habitats and its species dependent on waters, mainly related to river valleys, is the responsibility of man as a user of the ecosystem. Activities related to the achievement of environmental objectives for individual water bodies, indirectly also contribute to the achievement of good environmental status of marine waters, thanks to, among others, reducing the level of pollution in the waters flowing into the Baltic Sea.
It is a complex problem, the source of which is both human activity at sea and also on land. Incorrect waste management is one of the most important sources of the penetration of substances harmful to the environment into water and soil. Households are responsible for 48% of the waste going to the sea. The waste in the waters ending up in the Baltic Sea is largely the result of washing out illegal landfills in river valleys, deliberately throwing rubbish into river beds and leaving them on the banks, dumping them into various types of reservoirs connected to the rivers through which they can reach the Baltic Sea. Proper waste management is equally important, especially waste hazardous to aquatic ecosystems.
Rivers of garbage
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 bank or its bottom. The plastic often breaks down into small pieces, releasing harmful microplastics. Remains of paints and other substances that get into the waters from abandoned landfills are toxic. Some of the pollutants travel through the rivers to the Baltic Sea itself. Both solid waste and water-soluble substances leave their mark and affect local ecosystems and our health.
Marine litter is a global problem. Each year, millions of tonnes of garbage end up in the seas and oceans, turning them into the world’s largest landfills and causing environmental, economic, health and aesthetic problems. Poor solid waste disposal practices, a lack of infrastructure and a lack of awareness of the consequences of actions taken are gradually worsening the situation. The Baltic Sea is also exposed to this problem. For years, successive measures have been implemented to organize waste management, in which the theme of water protection, both inland and sea, should be more and more emphasized.
Join the action, because by taking care of the rivers you protect the Baltic Sea!
The problem keeps recurring, and new waste appears soon after the site is cleared. As part of the campaign “The river remembers who poisons it”, PGW Woda Polskie presents the problem of water pollution, educating the elderly and young, children, students, people actively relaxing by the water and water users. The main theme of the campaign is one message: do not leave garbage by the water, do not poison it. Convince others to do so – your neighbors and friends. Teach your children that the garbage from a walk or a picnic can be taken with you and thrown into a bin or container. As much as 97% of our rivers are located in the catchment area of the Baltic Sea, so remember that by caring for rivers, we also protect the Baltic Sea.
Polish Waters comprehensively deal with the improvement of water status. As regards the protection of sea waters, the Baltic Sea Waters Protection Program (POWM) is being developed, which includes a catalog of activities aimed at achieving good environmental status of marine waters – GES (good environmental status) * for the indicated features of the state and pressure. Marine waste (Feature 10) is a significant pressure on the Baltic Sea, with the waste carried along with rivers accounting for a significant proportion. As users of all kinds of water bodies, we put pressure on the environment every day. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to stop the negative human impact on aquatic ecosystems. The currently implemented Update of the Sea Water Protection Program (aPOWM) will propose a number of new measures to improve this situation, including equipping municipalities with modern beach cleaning equipment, cleaning campaigns on the banks of rivers and lakes, or lobbying for the ban on the use of micro- and nanoparticles made of plastics.
By caring for our rivers, we also care for the Baltic Sea. Thanks to the cooperation and increasing the awareness of our citizens, we can improve the condition of our Baltic Sea. Therefore, protect the Sea with us!
* GES – Good Environmental Status, means “the state of the environment of marine waters creating ecologically diverse and dynamic oceans and seas, which are clean, healthy and fertile in relation to their conditions, and the use of the marine environment is at a level that is is sustainable and guarantees the possibility of use and activities for present and future generations “(Art. 3 RDSM)