The third PET Cup, a hazardous waste collecting initiative, will be organised from 17th to 25th of July on the Tisza River.
This year, a fleet consisting of 20 boats will try to collect as much plastic bottles from the river as possible. The aim of the PET Cup is to raise attention to the increasing problem of contamination of Tisza River.
The source of the pollution is the great annual plastic bottle flood which brings tons of domestic garbage – mainly PET bottles and plastic bags – from upstream regions in Ukraine and Romania.
Each spring, the pollution wave sweeps across the river and finally deposited in the floodplain forests along the shoreline of Slovakia and Hungary.
The empty PET bottles are discarded by consumers after use and become hazardous waste. In the recycling industry, this is referred to as “post-consumer PET.” Many local governments and waste collection agencies have started to organise post-consumer PET collecting campaigns, and the organisers of PET Cups also try to encourage people to come together and collect the hazardous waste from the river so that they could recycle them.
Each year, the PET Cup starts with a joint bottle and plastic collecting action. It then continues with a boat-building competition where PET boats are built from the garbage collected. Finally, it ends in a long-distance boat-race on the river.
Both the first and the second PET Cup were great success. In each occasion, the PET “pirates” covered more than 100 kilometres and collected nearly 10.000 bottles from the river. At the end of the boat-race, the winner was given the “prestigious” PET Cup trophy made of garbage collected from the river. Boats were then recycled, just as the loads of plastic collected during the race.
In 2015, the event organisers want to collect even more PET bottles than in the two previous years.
written by Gábor Hajnal