Marine and urban pollution – Two realities

The Ria Formosa, the marina and the beach of Faro are some of the places affected by marine pollution. The capital of the Algarve has entities concerned with the collection of urban waste. In Kazakhstan, the Sarkan River served as an opinion poll of residents. Some cities promote initiatives to combat human neglect, such as the social networking group “My city is a clean city”.

Portugal and Kazakhstan are distinct countries, but the pollution in rivers and in urban areas are some of the problems that make them close.

In the Algarve, more specifically in Faro, the Ria Formosa, the marina and even the beach of Faro are being affected by this type of problems. Most villagers are aware of the carelessness that occurs regularly in the places mentioned above and recognize that they are enough local structures to dispose of the trash, but people continue to choose to throw it on the streets. Some of the students of the University of the Algarve know that every week the garbage collection is carried out and in relation to the intervention of the Municipalities, the respondents affirm that sometimes appear campaigns that contribute to a greater care with the cleaning of the city, although are not very frequent. One of the points referred from higher education students was the encouragement to the innovative projects with children.

1. Plastic is the most launched material in the Marina of Faro. Photo of: Filipa Murta

The Environment, Energy and Mobility Division of the municipality of Faro is committed to the development of environmental awareness plans. The study visits are accompanied by some activities with the primary schools of the county. As an example, the “National Water Day” was celebrated, where the participants were able to visit the water treatment plant in Tavira and still the visit to the windward landfill in the Barlavento where ALGAR presented the waste treatment and recovery processes in the Algarve.

On the other hand, Straw Patrol appeared in Faro. The project was founded in 2016 by the biologist Carla Lourenço, who studied marine biology at the University of Algarve. The research aims to sensitize people to the practices of marine litter and the protection of the ecosystem, through lectures in the pre-school education, universities and in the realization of coastal cleanings. Last year, more than three hundred volunteers and a garbage collection of more than 600 kg were estimated. Of note is that 50% of the objects removed from the beaches correspond to plastic articles such as bottles, lids, food packaging and others.

Promoting more ecological and sustainable attitudes remains a challenge to be achieved in Portugal.

In Kazakhstan, was important start to study the opinions of residents and citizens living near Sarkan River. The first group is indifferent people, they did not care about the questions and it was “all the same”, the second group which is called the guilty, defended their innocence to the rubbish heaps on the river bank. They were inactive and only criticized everyone, but the third group, “the activists”, informed the local authorities and sanitary services about the debris. The fourth smallest group are those who voluntarily cleaned the garbage and did not allow that others leave in the ground.

The second group was looking for the answer to the question of “why garbage gets into the water?”. In our city, garbage is in the water only through the fault of the residents themselves. In most cases, the source of debris are people who accidentally or intentionally leave it in an unauthorized place. Having studied the bank of the Sarkan River for a length of one kilometre, we found large and small garbage dumps. At every bank there were packs and empty bottles of drinks, which were left by campers and strolling townspeople. On the shore there are almost no garbage containers and therefore thickets of shrubs turned into “garbage thickets”.

2. Volunteers collecting the garbage on the Sarkan River. Photo of: Alina Grotz

The upper part of the river is littered with rubbish, which is thrown out of the house, it consists of building wastes, empty cans of paint, broken utensils, unnecessary things. On the clearings near the river are clearly visible places for picnics, it is possible to identify what children or adults left on. Very rarely there are special containers for garbage and vacationers are lazy to look for them.

In the city, the system of small channels is controlled by the irrigation system, which is responsible for supplying the city with water. According to the head of the department, the state of the archaic system passing through the territory of private households is satisfactory, but when it is cleaned, the garbage is not exported or destroyed, but is only thrown into the central canals. Because of the archaic system is full of garbage and waste. Disobedient citizens are regularly given administrative penalties in form of fines, but these measures do not make irrigation ditches cleaner. In the spring, there are garbage floods. The indignation of the townspeople has no limits, and accusations are heard against the state services, neighbours, irrigation system administration and the city council or the mayor’s office.

The head of the water use department of “Sarkan irrigations”, explained that the main canal, controls the administration, and the private sector is ownerless. The garbage in these channels is a responsibility of the residents of the city.

With further investigation, was possible to meet the chief specialist of the city administration. One important thing is on the article 140 of the Republic of Kazakhstan, that corresponds to the violation of the water legislation. This provides for a fine (45380 tenge). For the year the number of fines exceeded one million tenge (the currency of Kazakhstan), but this did not affect the consciousness of citizens of the city. One initiative of the city in the social networks WhatsApp and WK, has the name “My city is a clean city”, and was created to be a group. The main task of this is to collect information about violations and violators. In the fight against violators, they hold many explanatory conversations.


Alunos envolvidos no projeto: Portugal: Carolina Figueiras (18 years old), Filipa Murta (20 years old), (Filipe Vilhena 18 years old) and Victoria Sajin (19 years old); Kazakhstan: Abdukhalikova Shahida (16 years old), Grots Alina (18 years old), Kaisanova Anel (16 years old) and Татьяна Станкевич.

Data: 25.03.2018

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