Another huge step towards a cleaner Tisza River

Plastic Cup volunteers found a plastic bottle with a GPS transmitter in front of the Kisköre Hydroelectric Power Plant. The bottle was marked and sent on its way by the Plastic Cup in July 2020, as part of the Zero Waste Tisza River program. The bottle travelled hundreds of kilometers on the river unhindered but got stuck in the nearly one-acre-long landfill that formed in front of the dam as a result of this year’s floods. The blockage was cleared and lifted ashore by the machines of the Middle Tisza District Water Directorate, and the volunteers of the Plastic Cup helped to sort out the waste. During the sorting process of the five and a half tonnes of waste, a bottle message written by a schoolchild was found.

At first glance, it seemed almost impossible to sort out the waste collected by the water management and to also compress the plastic bottles from the 1st Bodrogi Plastic Cup, but once again, it was a success.14 volunteers of the Plastic Cup handled more than 200 cubic meter and about 5.5 tonnes of waste in the span of 4 days. Diligent hands, using a high-performance baler, compressed 91 bale of colour-assorted plastic bottles, separated tonnes of recyclable plastics (polyethylene and polypropylene), and sorted more than a tonne of glass and metal waste. Another huge step towards a cleaner Tisza River!

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The action’s highlight was the taking out of a bottle with a GPS transmitter that travelled from the 683 marker to the 403 marker with the summer flood, covering almost 300 river kilometers and waiting to be found at the block in front of the dam. This not the first marked bottle that was found at Kisköre, which is further evidence that water-operated facilities, such as the Kisköre Dam and the Vásárosnamény waste-producing machine chains, have a key role to play in stopping water pollution.

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While sorting plastic bottles, Plastic Pirates found more than just a bottle with a GPS transmitter. The other interesting find was a special message in the bottle. The author is a schoolchild who, without giving their name, entrusted their message to the care of the river on July 6, 2019. In the letter, the child draws attention to the fact that the Earth is dying and it would be good to do something about it. The message couldn’t come in a better time: the members of the waste management group found it on the fourth day of the clean-up action, when they started to feel exhausted by the continuous work. The letter reassured everyone that their work if worth doing. The Plastic Cup published the message of the bottle on Facebook.

Miklós Gyalai-Korpos, coordinator of the Zero Waste Tisza River project, emphasized about the waste processing: "Most of the selected waste will be recycled, and the polyethylene materials will be made into water sports equipment, such as kayaks, as part of the project."

The prototype of sports kayaks made from river waste will be a white-water model. The kayak’s material is mostly made from the caps of plastic bottles taken out of the river. Members of the waste management group are now working to separate clean ethylene from the Tisza waste that provides excellent raw material for the production of reliable kayaks. If all goes according to plan, the so-called cap kayaks could become effective tools of the river clean-up actions in the future.

Waste disposal, waste-mapping research with a transmitter bottle, and the recycling of plastic to make sports equipment are carried out within the Zero Waste Tisza River Program, which is supported financially by Coca-Cola Hungary, through the global foundation of Coca-Cola.