The worldwide reporting at the beginning of the year drew our attention to the garbage situation at the dam in Visegrad and we knew immediately: We want to help with our garbage collection boat CollectiX!
There were reports from, among others, N24, RTL, and the Associated Press that we had on our screens at the beginning of January. They all told the same story: Thousands of tons of rubbish and wood threaten a hydropower plant in Visegrad, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Garbage as far as the eye can see – images that we couldn’t let go of.
At the same time, we and our partner Berky received more and more inquiries from the region as to whether we could come to Bosnia with CollectiX. The Visegrad Cleanup Mission got rolling. We were able to win reliable local partners for the joint mission and, most importantly, we found supporters who made the mission possible. An important pillar is the commitment of the Rotary Club Aachen and the Rotarian initiative EndPlasticSoup.
Strong partnerships are essential
Another strong partner is Landmarken AG , whose founder Norbert Hermanns is himself a Rotarian. “As a developer of sustainable quarters who is intensively involved with the recyclable construction and CO2-neutral operation of buildings, we share the vision of a world without plastic waste with everwave and Rotary,” says Norbert Hermanns. The transport of CollectiX is carried out and sponsored by our partner Kuehne + Nagel in a climate-neutral manner. We are grateful that we were able to find strong supporters – without these partnerships, it would be clean Up mission like in Visegrad was not possible.
On-site we had to experience how shocking the extent of the pollution in Visegrad really is.
“The plastic cracks like pack ice and extends over hundreds of meters. The pictures speak for themselves “
(Clemens Feigl, co-founder of everwave)
Our CollectiX garbage collection boat cleaned up the dam for a total of 14 days and collected up to 25 tons of material per day. What exactly we are going to collect only became clear on site. Fridges, plastic bottles, furniture, children’s toys, plastic bags, but also a lot of wood, which made the work difficult. But there were also lots of small plastic parts on the wood.
Before the start of the mission, it was clear to us that 14 days would not be enough to completely eliminate the garbage problem on site. In order to find a long-term solution, it was crucial to talk to representatives of local politics and companies on-site and to establish permanent solutions to prevent images like these in the future. The discussions are currently ongoing and it is a great feeling to feel that we were able to give the impetus through our Clean-Up Mission.
In addition to our team, there were two colleagues from our new partner WILDPLASTIC. Because we want to close the plastic cycle and create something sustainably new from the garbage we collected on site. And that’s where WILDPLASTIC comes into play. They produce products such as garbage bags made of “wild plastic”. We look forward to continuing on the path of garbage together!
What do we take with us?
This Clean-Up Mission with CollectiX has brought us forward on many levels. We now understand the situation on-site better and have gained an insight into how the situation can be resolved in the long term. We have also recognized new challenges: In particular, sorting and separating wood and plastic is currently still done by hand. Here we want to learn more and research what optimization options there are.
We still take one thing with us: the confidence that we can make a difference with our work. Not only in the waters, but also in people’s minds. Only then will we have long-term success.
The pictures on site do not let us go and strengthen us on our way. Are you there?
Here you can see our video about the Cleanup Mission Visegrad with English subtitles: