GB No. 4(23)/96


Well, I think I am a swine as I am going to pick holes again. At the end of August on the territory of The Tysi±clecie Housing Estate, I have already described, several times, a rather peculiar operation that was held there. But let me start from the very beginning.

About three years ago the municipality of Katowice displayed at "The Tysi±clecie" and, in some other districts of the town, colorful containers: green for glass, orange for scrap-metal and blue for waste-paper. Despite their colors and some other small details, they resembled ordinary containers for waste. During the three years that passed many people learned how to select waste. Into the glass container, besides bottles and jars they put broken window panes, mirrors or crystal vases. To the metal containers, besides tin, could be found parts of ovens, TV antennas, iron bars, etc. Just this August, new containers were exchanged for the old ones. The one for waste-paper resembles the old one, whereas those for glass and metal-scraps are smaller in size and their cast-openings are so small that it is not possible to throw anything inside larger than, for example a 2 liter wine bottle. Unlike the old containers, they cannot be opened, and thereby defend their contents against all collectors of bottles and waste-metal. I do not know whose idea it was, but I am fairly certain that somebody made some money on it, as the old containers belonged to the municipality and the new ones are a possession of an unidentified company called "Komunalnik". Because the editorial staff always wants a conclusion, I may say that it was good before, now it is better, but it would be better if it were good again.

My second observation concerns events taking place behind the southern border, namely in Slovakia; though it does not concern the local people. In August, I had an opportunity to visit this beautiful part of the world, particularly the two mountain ranges of Mala Fatra and Velka Fatra. Sometime in the middle of August I was slowly finishing my visit there, traveling towards the edge of Mala Fatra and then —ilin. Because of the "prolonged weekend" in Poland, connected with the celebrations of both state and religious holidays, many compatriots came to the region of Vratna, a central town of Mala Fatra. I knew this even before I went down to the valley to stay there overnight, as the echoes repeated all the curses Poles used in their conversations far in the mountains. It was not better in the valley - at camp sites and in the restaurants one could hear vulgar songs of Polish football fans. During the next few days I could see the traces of Polish "tourists" practically everywhere. Besides their language one could recognize them by their peculiar attitude towards the surroundings and the mess they left behind after each meal. On the last day of my stay (it was a holiday in Poland) I went to —ilin. I found it interesting and paid special attention to a supermarket, where Polish "tourists" were buying alcohol in huge amounts (8-10 bottles of vodka each), of course for "their own use"; and after what I saw, this could definately be true. A part of the alcohol was consumed straight from the bottles just outside shops and, of course, nobody paid any attention to such minor things as wastepaper bins and public toilets. Well, one may think that I am not writing about ecology now, at least not entirely, but such things tell much about the attitude of Poles to the surrounding world.

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And now my third observation; this one concerns the media. Whenever Silesia is shown on TV, one may see a chimney or a shaft as the first thing. But let me start from the beginning.

In July, a colleague of mine from primary school, phoned me. Today he lives in Szczecin and builds ships, but as he was planning to come to Silesia for holidays with his fiancee, he asked me to organize a tour around Upper Silesia for 3 to 4 days. I am not going to bore you with the descriptions of all my irresolution's of what to show him, so I will write only what I did show him and leave it up to you, dear Readers, to decide if "dirty" Silesia is worth visiting.

We went to Beskid ¦l±ski: Koniaków, Istebna, Ustron, Wisła, and then further to Cieszyn, Skoczów, Rybnik (I recommend it at night), Pszczyna and the von Pless palace, a hunting palace in Promnice (which also belonged to the von Pless family), a sanctuary of aurochs in Pszczyna (about 5 kilometers from the nearest mine), many monuments of art in Silesian agglomeration, palaces of The Donnersmareks in Owierklaniec and Brynek, a sanatorium in Piekary, the Chorzów park, (interesting, believe me), waste-heaps, Kedzierzyn, Racibórz, an old silver mine in Stare Tarnowice, the Adit of a Black Traut in Repty and many districts of old miners' family houses present in almost every Silesian town.

Regardless of architectural attractions, there were many natural attractions; for example, the aurochs I mentioned. Those who want may see that a village does not necessarily have to be associated with manure at the farmyard, used tires on side-spaces and car wreckages left in the forests. It may be associated with clean farmyards and white houses resembling those so typical for Bavaria, and so different from "modern" bunkers built of air-bricks. Where can you find such a village? Also in Upper Silesia.

One final thing: this time it is more of a doubt rather that an observation. For several years we have seen the advertisement of energy saving light bulbs. Here Osram, there Philips. It is said that they use five times less energy than ordinary bulbs and last ten times longer. As far as the second information is concerned I do not pick holes. Maybe it is so and we do not have any evidences that it is not so. But I do have a question concerning the first information, namely that such a light bulb consumes five times less energy than what sort of a bulb?

A 40 Watt bulb, a 100 Watt bulb, a 200 Watt bulb or maybe still another one? I am not trying to be malicious, but the advertisement simply does not say anything about it.

And one more thing. An ordinary bulb is a primitive device, consisting of some glass and ceramic with some metal parts. But even it can be troublesome after use. I cannot think of a person willing to break it and throwing away metal parts to a different container. Electronic bulbs also contain plastic parts as well as electronic devices, and fluorescent dust is not the healthiest thing either; so the question arises, how much energy is necessary to utilize or recycle such bulbs?

Several months ago I got some materials from the Polish Ecological Club (PEC), concerning energy saving. PEC also recommended the use of electronic bulbs. I would like to know if PEC simply knows more than I about the utilization or recycling of electronic bulbs (which is not excluded) or maybe, because of foolishness, laziness or any other reasons (what can they be ?) advises us to use poisons. The next four generations will fight with that, unless the whole world makes a big BUM before that.

Bogdan Pliszka
reprinted from Zielone Brygady, Nov. 95

GB No. 4(23)/96 | Contents