On the eve of World Water Day, which falls on March 22, the Czech branch of the environmental organisation Greenpeace published an alarming report on the presence of micro-plastics in Czech rivers. According to the study, plastic fibres were found in all ten samples taken from the Vltava and Elbe Rivers. I asked Jan Freidinger of Greenpeace for more details:
Campaigners are pushing the introduction of deposits on PET plastic bottles
in the Czech Republic. The group Zálohujme (Let’s Use Deposits) say
Czechs are presently recycling less than 60 percent of PET bottles. They
want to increase that figure to 90 percent.
Under the proposal, consumers would pay a deposit of CZK 3 on every plastic bottle. Zálohujme is comprised of representatives of the Institute of Circular Economy, the University of Chemistry and Technology’s Faculty of Environmental Technology and bottled water producers Karlovarských minerální vod.
Like all other developed countries, Czechia has a waste problem. Even though Czech households do not, actually, produce half as much garbage as those in the United States, the government is looking for new ways to increase recycling. Ironically, some towns and companies make a lot of money from traditional landfills. So, it is not always easy to change old practices.
Close to one hundred fire fighters fought to contain a fire at a storage
facility for electronic waste in Lety near Prague. The fire broke out in
the evening hours on Saturday and eyewitnesses reported a series of
explosions on the premises. The blaze was brought under control in the
early hours of Sunday.
Although chemical experts failed to register toxins in the air the smoke was dense and people were advised to keep their windows closed until further notice.
The remains of the storage facility will have to be pulled down. The cause of the accident is being investigated.
The environmental organisation Greenpeace has taken samples from the Vltava
River in Prague to measure the level of micro-plastic pollution in the
water. The samples will be analysed in a Greenpeace lab in Britain’s
The testing is part of a campaign called ‘Plast je Past’ or ‘Plastics are a Trap’, which attempts to eradicate excess plastic packaging. It also appeals to outdoor clothing producers to tackle the problem of micro-fibres, which are released into the water during washing.
A major Czech drinks maker is considering introducing deposits for plastic
bottles, Czech Television reported. Karlovarské minerální vody, which
sells the mineral water Mattoni, produced a study with the Institute of
Circular Economics suggesting that a full third of plastic bottles in the
Czech Republic are not recycled.
The drinks manufacturer said in January that it was considering bringing in deposits for PET bottles. It has commissioned an economic analysis of such a move that should be published in the autumn.
However, the Ministry of the Environment is on the fence about the idea. A spokesperson said it welcomed moves to limit the dumping of wasted but was also concerned that bottle deposits could impact the current system.