December 9, 2022

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Romania at PET. Mountain river fish is full of plastic, which does not disappear when cooked

Be careful, mountain river fish contains a lot of microplastic! This is what the warning of the health authorities should sound like in the near future.

The Romania PET campaign shows you today how the plastic thrown on the banks of the water, but also on fields and pastures, ends up in our food.

Microplastic does not disappear when the fish is cooked, and in the laboratory it is seen how these creatures contain small particles throughout the body.

Agricultural lands and riverbeds are places where massive amounts of waste are dumped, and garbage has a cycle in nature.

When illegal landfills appear and people report them, local authorities drag the basil by breaking the law even worse – pouring dirt over the piles of filth.

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Buried plastic becomes microplastic and eventually enters the body as it travels up the food chain.

In the famous Ţara a Motilor, in the Apuseni Mountains, on the border of Alba and Cluj counties, there are places of rare beauty, with huge tourist potential. Baia de Aries is a former mining town, built on the banks of the Aries river.

On the outskirts of the city we find a huge clandestine garbage dump, and recent traces prove the burial of the discarded waste almost to the watercourse.

Radu Stoica is an environmental activist, he has a foundation that periodically organizes the collection of garbage from Valea Ariesului. He filmed this place a few months ago and the waste was all there in plain sight. The situation changed, however, after the man reported to the town hall and online, only that the garbage was not collected.

Radu Stoica, environmental activist: ”I thought they collected, I was curious“.

An area the size of two football fields, on the right bank of the Aries, was uprooted and leveled with the bulldozer.

Fish are full of microplastic particles

We also reported the situation on social networks, and the Environmental Guard commissioners quickly took notice, although they had also been warned in the past by the environmental activist about the natural disaster. The head of the institution in Alba county led the team mobilized in the field.

At Baia de Aries, the cows graze past foils, PETs, bags and other plastics, and the fishermen catch fish that they then put on the family’s table. We also took fish to the laboratory for microplastic analysis.

Ioana Marica, master’s student at the Faculty of Physics, Babeș-Bolyai University: ”I discovered fiber, polyethylene, the other fish, same results“.

Prof. Dr. Simona Panzaru, Faculty of Physics, Babeș-Bolyai University: ”The probability was small“.

Dănuț Hălălai, chief commissioner of the Alba Environmental Guard: ”We do the procedure, we go to the town hall“.

The control team went straight to the town hall, where the mayor of Baia de Aries admitted that he had asked his people to green the area and they did as they knew. In front of the commissioners, he says that he requested the leveling of the land and implicitly the burying of the waste, but that he did not know that it was a crime, since 2022.

Reporter: Do you know that’s a crime?
Traian Pandor, mayor of Baia de Aries: He’s been saying this for years“.

Transylvania has rivers of PET and landfills

The mayor puts ashes on his head and apologizes.

Traian Pandor, mayor of Baia de Aries: ”Sorry“.

I returned to the field for the reason, the day after the control of the Environmental Guard. Surprise? We found the dense smoke in the area suspicious. Someone collected piles and then set fire to the garbage on the surface, which is another crime.

On the spot I found an employee of the town hall, accompanied by a local. They had a rake near them and a bottle of gasoline, but they swear that they did not start the fire, but that they had come, alerted by the smoke.

Prof. Dr. Simona Pânzaru: ”They reach the brain, blood, liver“.

We want it, we don’t want it, we are a country invaded by plastic, even in areas of Romania that are said to have thrifty and hardworking people.

Transylvania, however, has rivers of PETs and landfills. Mountain and sub-mountain communities develop an ecological disaster in sight, with long-term effects.

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