PET Pirates on Hungary’s second largest river, the Tisza

“Our aim is to call attention to the pollution of the Tisza and the importance of protecting our living waters. Along with the oceans, there are floating islands of waste in the water of our lovely Blond, the River Tisza, too. Whatever is discharged into the stream at the source will reach our flood plains, our drinking water, the oceans of the world and from there... perhaps even our dinner plates.” – say the organisers of the PET Cup on their website.

Both in the case of the islands of waste floating in the ocean and the floods of waste caught in the flood plain areas after floods warn us that we urgently need to protect our living waters from disposable plastic litter. The pollution of the Tisza is a typical “negative externality” of the spread of consumer society. As consumption increases, the amount of waste also grows explosively, while the demand for dealing with it, the “operating instructions” and the infrastructure are always delayed. The PET Cup was created to eliminate that problem: initially, it was a race for boats built from waste collected from the flood plains, but it has grown, and today the PET Cup team monitor pollution, organise professional coordination meetings, shape attitudes and build international connections in order to use cooperation to solve the problem right at its root.

The 4th PET Cup will begin on 30 June with a great forest clean-up at Tiszaszalka, then, on 2 July, a group of almost 100 people in 15 teams will begin to build boats for the race! The teams will row, compete, hunt for treasure and clear forests for a week, living in nature as true pirates along the Tisza. Presentations, children’s programmes and press events will make the proceedings memorable.

The collected waste (approx. 3 tonnes of it) will be selected and compressed by the volunteers of the PET Cup, before giving it to THG Nonprofit Ltd. for recycling. “Imported waste” will become useful products again. The initiative can be joined at any time: they organise monitoring, clean-up and promotional events throughout the year.

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