Thursday, 1 July 2021

Green Action: Croatia Should Be More Determined in Combating Plastic Pollution

ZAGREB, 1 July 2021 - The Green Action NGO on Thursday called on the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development to adopt ambitious measures as part of the new waste management bill and set the right example in combating plastic pollution.

"Croatia can be a leader among EU member states in abandoning single-use plastics and the waste culture. Now we finally have a chance to start promoting a reuse system as a solution to single-use plastic pollution," Green Action's Ana-Marija Mileusnić said as part of the "Plastic-Free July" campaign.

She said that the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development was "very inert and passive" in drawing up the new waste management bill.

"Despite repeated calls for action, we are still late in meeting the initial deadlines, which will not bring about any major change other than banning the marketing of certain products," Mileusnić said.

The Single-Use Plastic Directive says that replacement of single-use plastic products with other disposable products should be prevented, so specific provisions should be laid down to promote the development of a reuse system, she added.

In order for the system to be effective, economic incentives supporting reuse should be provided, such as taxation and effective differences in fees for multiple-use packaging. "In addition to policy- and decision-makers, we also need the support of the public at large because it is people that make the system, and already now they can contribute to positive change," Mileusnić said.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Thursday, 17 June 2021

Slavonski Brod Ranks Third Worst City in Europe on Air Quality Index

ZAGREB, 17 June 2021 - The eastern Croatian city of Slavonski Brod is the third worst city for the quality of air according to the European Environment Agency (EEA) data which indicates that more than half of European cities still have polluted air despite reduced emissions during the pandemic lockdown.

The worst situation is in eastern Europe where coal continues to be the main source of energy.

The most polluted air was registered in Nowy Sacz in Poland where the biannual average of fine particulate matter on an area of fewer than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5), which are considered to be damaging to health, amounted to 27.3 micrograms per cubic meter.

Cremone in Italy ranked second with 25.9 micrograms PM2.5 per cubic meter and Slavonski Brod ranked third with 25.7 micrograms PM2.5 per cubic meter.

Three cities with the cleanest air in Europe were Umea in Sweden (3.7), Tampere in Finland (3.8), and Funchal in Portugal (4.,2).

Poor air in Zagreb too

This year's PM2.5 average in Zagreb amounted to 15.8 micrograms per cubic meter which means the air is of poor quality and presents a moderate health risk. In Rijeka, it was 10.6, which is moderate pollution, according to EEA.

EEA analyzed data for 323 European cities in 2019 and 2020 and determined that only 127 had a PM2.5 level below the limits recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Exposure to fine particulate matter cause more than 400,000 premature deaths per annum in Europe.

The EEA data indicates that the biannual average is only available for those cities that are regularly monitored and do not include all European cities.

EEA notes that the lockdown due to the pandemic resulted in a decrease in the level of nitrogen dioxide released from diesel motors but the level of particulate matter remained high.

The level of nitrogen dioxide fell by 60% in some cities due to the lockdown in April 2020 while the reduction in the particulate matter was less dramatic - with the level of coarse particulate matter (PM10) falling between 20% and 30% in April 2020.

Even though the quality of air improved significantly last year, air pollution remains to be stubbornly high in many cities in Europe, EEA Executive Director Hans Bruyninckx said.

For the latest news about Zagreb, click here.

Friday, 9 August 2019

Expert Warns that Cruise Ships are not the Worst Polluters

Ever since Croatia has been hosting numerous cruise ships along the coast, the public has been wary of them, constantly repeating the idea that they are incredible polluters, letting their wastewaters out in the Adriatic.

Whenever anything related to those cruise ships is shared on Facebook, for instance, most comments will focus exactly on this aspect of their presence.

Žarko Koboević Ph.D., associate professor at the Department of Nautical studies of the University of Dubrovnik has been researching pollution of the seawater with the wastewaters from these vessels.

His research has given somewhat different results: cruise ships absolutely do not pollute the coastal seawaters, meaning the part of the sea where people swim, where yachts hang around, where any type of activities are being undertaken. Kristina Filičić spoke to him for Slobodna Dalmacija.

Professor Koboević says that current events, such as the situation when a cruise ship near Zlatni rat in Bol was suspected of releasing its wastewater, require more detailed research, similar to what he did four years ago for his doctoral thesis.

He performed research and sampled the water for a full 14 months at 8 popular swimming locations - and all of that research has shown that the cruise ships do not contribute to the pollution of the sea in those areas. The main reason is that the modern cruise ships have new technology which converts faecal wastewater into two components - clean water and gases that are released into the atmosphere, so basically - there is no "dirty" wastewater to be released at all.

All of the water released from the cruise ships is carefully monitored for a number of parameters, and the released water from a cruise ship is usually cleaner than what we consider perfectly clean sea-water on our favourite beaches. Those ships that don't have such modern technology for wastewater management are not allowed to release their wastewater within 12 nautical miles from the closest land, which is far enough that no consequences can be observed.

None of what we explained in the previous paragraphs applies to the small boats in the national traffic - day-trip boats, yachts, sailboats, and other small vessels, and most of them are usually right next to the land. Where do they empty their wastewater tanks filled with unprocessed waste?

They are not monitored at all, and their tanks need to be emptied, so where are they doing that? In the sea, of course, and almost none of them would even consider going 12 miles from the coast, or going to have their tanks professionally emptied in the ports, where they would have to pay for the service.

Additionally, prof. Koboević that Croatian laws don't really regulate the field in a significant way, so there's no way that any fines would be introduced. If you're a yacht owner, and it isn't quite clear what you are or are not allowed to do, and there are no fines anyway, why shouldn't you just do what you think is best?

One of his ideas to mitigate the situation is to include the emptying of the tanks included in the price of admission to the marinas and ports. That would make many yacht owners use that service, so there would be less wastewater to be released in the sea. There is no need to come up with any new ideas, just to copy other countries that already have better regulations.

His final idea is a bit extreme - he says that one of the solutions would be that the tanks on smaller vessels would need to be welded shut, so they can only be emptied in ports. While that would probably be the solution, I'm not sure how exactly that would be done.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Zlarin Becomes ''Pilot Island'' Without Disposable Plastic

Zlarin aims to put the environment first!

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Cres Holding Campaign Against Plastic This Weekend

Hardcore eco-warrior or just concerned about the rising problem of plastic pollution in the sea? Either way, the beautiful island of Cres is the place to be this weekend.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Beaches of Vis Island Drowning in Waste

May 1, 2018 - As the quantity of plastic waste in the sea keeps rising, it's getting increasingly harder to keep our beaches in a pristine shape

Monday, 30 April 2018

Pollution Beyond Plastic: 73 Shopping Carts Found in Waters of Dubrovnik

April 30, 2018 - Just when you start to think you've seen everything, people find a way to surprise you. 

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Slavonski Brod Brings Pollution Protest to Zagreb

The residents of Slavonski Brod take their pollution protest directly to the capital.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

UNESCO Director Issues Warning to Dubrovnik Over Cruise Ship Damage

Another warning from UNESCO to the Pearl of Adriatic on the damage cruise ships are causing to the southern Adriatic gem.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Environmental Disaster in Nature Park Telašćica

A flash flood that formed during recent heavy rainfall washed large amounts of waste down to the sea.

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