GB No. 4(23)/96


Everyone probably knows the price that Mother Earth pays for the growing heaps of plastic waste. Replacing plastic packs with glass containers is at present, unrealistic. The amount of waste increases, although in the developed counties, plastic is losing its popularity: it is ousted by glass and cardboard - materials that can be reused. The reason is simple: the artificial materials, because of their chemical structure, do not take part in the circulation of matter and energy in nature and therefore they are burdensome for the environment. In highly developed countries the problem of plastic waste is slowly being solved. It is promising, but what about countries such as Poland...?

In order to focus the public opinion on the problem of plastic garbage, a group of students of environmental protection decided to sail down the Bug river on a raft made of about 2 thousand plastic bottles. In this way they manifested their protest against our polluted environment.

The crew consisted of the students of the environmental protection department at the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin: Adam Lesiuk, Bartosz Parczyński, Bartłomiej Bielański, Marcin Słabczyński and Andrzej Klucha. For a few days Monika Kap and Renata Kirga accompanied their ingenious friends, as well as the representatives of the media: Agnieszka Czyżewska from the Radio Lublin and a reporter from the Dziennik Wschodni.

Building of the raft started at the farm of the Lesiuk's in Platerów (Bielsko-Biała voivodship). Since the very start, the students could not get rid of upsetting thoughts about the future trip. Fortunately, everything took the course as planned by the ecologists, and the raft of thick logs fixed together with four minor ones was ready. The students covered the construction with a deck of planks. Girls also lent their hands to it; they ripped the labels off the bottles and glued them into packets. The bottles were found in the neighboring farms, from the forest, meadows and the dumpsite.

Jerzy Ostaszewski, an employee of the Landscape Park "Podlaski Przełom Bugu" supported the idea and gave the ecologists a gift of binoculars and a set of maps.

The raft weighted about 700 kg and its surface was 15 m2. Its launching made a celebration: the craft was liberally sprinkled with champagne and named PSAL (an abbreviation that stood for "the Floating Adam Lesiuk's Barn) as the material was taken from the Adam's barn, which had fallen down. The displacement of the raft was incredible - with ten people and the luggage it sank only 10 cm. Moreover, it was well equipped with life jackets, a pneumatic boat and lifebelt.

The trip on the ecological raft raised great interest and applause. The students visited, among other places, Serpelice, a tourist resort on the banks of the Bug, and they discussed with the residents the problem of bottles and pollution, explained the several hundred year long process of plastic decomposition and presented the vision of the future world covered with bottles.

To sum up: the idea was noble and really needed. Certainly, however, it will not reduce the heaps of garbage. The solution of the problem of waste lies in your hands, dear Readers.

Marek Czech
reprinted from Zielone Brygady, Sept. '96,
transl. M. Maciejewska

GB No. 4(23)/96 | Contents