Cleaning Up River Mulde, Germany

EUROPARC Deutschland e.V. supports National Natural Landscapes which include German biosphere reserves, national parks and nature parks.

The River Mulde, which flows from Lake Muldestausee and into the River Elbe in North East Germany is popular with locals and visitors for its recreation opportunities and its surrounding landscapes. In 2013, the River Mulde experienced severe flooding. Since the lake’s altitude is the lowest in the region, litter and rubbish picked up by the floods contaminated and remained in the rivers and the lake.

During this project, Friends Association Biosphere Reserve Middelelbe will:
– Take the lead in organising the local community, a local school and a Junior Rangers event, to clean up the litter along 1-2 km of the River Mulde.
– Study the rubbish collected to analyse the sources of contamination.
– Create events to raise awareness of the issue with local stakeholders.

With grateful thanks to ORTLIEB for their donation towards the funding of this project.

The Update

The Junior Ranger camps were carried out in October 2017 with 30 children involved in removing various different types of rubbish, including: plastic bottles, foil, clothing residues, spray cans, boxes, and car tyres. Some items were 30 years old! The main source of the waste was from private households. Floods and storms also caused major movement, thereby contributing further to waste in the area.

Various educational events engaged children in the importance of riverine systems, as well as the problem of littering. A creative workshop involved children making new and artistic things out of the rubbish, such as wind sculptures, bracelets, and candle holders.

As a result of cost savings, this project was also able to clean-up a further two areas in the Biosphere Reserve Mittel Elbe. During this, a local primary school was taught about the issues of littering rivers and seas, and the problems this causes for fauna and flora.

Image credit: Birgit Krummhaar