published on 26.03.2021
It was reports from N24, RTL and the Associated Press, among others, that we had on our screens at the beginning of January. They all told the same story: thousands of tonnes of rubbish and wood threatening a hydroelectric power plant in Visegrad, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Rubbish as far as the eye can see - images that would not let us go.
At the same time, we and our partner Berky received more and more enquiries from the region asking if we could come with CollectiX. And so the Cleanup Mission Visegrad got rolling. We were able to win reliable local partners for the joint mission.
Strong partnerships are essential
Especially important: We have found supporters who have made the mission possible. One important pillar is the commitment of the Rotary Club of Aachen and the Rotarian initiative EndPlasticSoup. Another strong partner is Landmarken AG, whose founder Norbert Hermanns is himself a Rotarian. The transport of CollectiX is climate-neutral and sponsored by our partner Kühne + Nagel. We are grateful that we were able to find such strong supporters - without them the Visegrad mission would not have been possible.
"As a developer of sustainable neighbourhoods, working intensively on the recyclable construction and CO2-neutral operation of buildings, we share with everwave and Rotary the vision of a world without plastic waste." - Norbert Hermanns, Landmarken AG
On the ground, we saw how staggering the scale of pollution in Visegrad really is. "The plastic cracks like pack ice and stretches for hundreds of metres. The pictures speak for themselves." – Clemens Feigl, Co-Founder everwave.
CollectiX spent a total of 14 days cleaning up at the dam and up to 25 tons of material per day were collected. What exactly we were going to collect only became clear on site. Refrigerators, plastic bottles, furniture, children's toys, plastic bags, but also a lot of wood, which made the work more difficult. But there were also lots of small plastic parts on the wood.
It was clear to us before the mission began that 14 days would not be enough to completely eliminate the waste problem on site. In order to find a long-term solution, it was crucial to talk to local politicians and businesses and to establish permanent solutions to prevent images like this from happening in the future. The talks are still ongoing and it is a great feeling to feel that we were able to provide the impetus through our mission.
Besides our team, two colleagues from our new partner WILDPLASTIC were also there. Because we want to close the plastic loop und aus dem Müll, den wir vor Ort gesammelt haben, etwas nachhaltig Neues schaffen. Und da kommt WILDPLASTIC ins Spiel. Sie produzieren Produkte, wie z.B. Mülltüten aus „wildem Plastik“. Wir freuen uns gemeinsam den Weg des Mülls weiterzugehen!
What do we take with us?
The cleanup mission with CollectiX has helped us on many levels. We now understand the situation on the ground better and have gained insight into how the situation can be solved in the long term. We have also identified new challenges: Especially the sorting and separation of wood and plastic, which is currently still done manually. We want to continue learning here and explore what optimisation possibilities there are.
But we also take one thing with us: The confidence that we can make a difference with our work on the ground. Not only in the waters, but also in the minds of the people. Only then will we be successful in the long term.
The pictures on site won't let us go and encourage us on our way. Are you with us?