Hungary says it removed 250 cubic meters of waste from Romanian cross-border river pollution

Foto: Inquam Photos / Dan Porcutan

Hungarian water officials say they have cleaned up over 250 cubic meters of waste from the Someş River which was carried downstream from Romania.

A total of 257 cubic meters of waste was removed from the river in recent days. The cross-border pollution came after the water rose after heavy rain, the Hungarian National Water Directorate said on Monday, MTI reported.

Spokeswoman Gabriella Siklós said that even if water levels rise only by a couple of meters, the river picks up waste from the river banks. It then carries it downstream into Hungary.

Water officials rather than webcams installed along the river observed the recent pollution, she said.

At one point, there were 100-120 plastic bottles arriving a minute, she said.  In Romanian, the bottles are known as PETs, as they are made of polyethylene terephthalate.

It was the seventh time since 2019 that Hungary has used river cleaning machines to scoop up waste flowing from Romania. However, it’s only the first time that it has been needed on the Someş which is narrower than the larger Tisza.

Plastic pollution from the Someş and River Tisza has occasionally caused tension with neighboring countries. Hungarian President János Áder has complained to the Romanian and Ukrainian governments and also the European Commission.

River cleaning machines are used in places where there is waste debris that needs to be removed.

The machine consists of a waterwheel driven conveyer mechanism which collects and removes garbage and plastic from the water.

The Someş is a tributary of the River Tisza in Hungary and is 415 kilometers long. The river starts in Romania, with only 50 kilometers in Hungary.

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