The 21st century is the time of ecologically-conscious people. We try to share information about ecology and attempt to live on a clean planet. What kinds of actions do the officials, inhabitants and students take to make their closest environment clean in this situation?
This year Ruda Śląska is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its establishment. Since 1960s a lot of things have changed, especially as far as the use of natural resources and conservation of nature are concerned. What follows is an interview with the Head of the Department of The Environmental Protection and Mining in our city – Ms Ewa Wyciślik.
What is the city’s contribution to make our planet clean?
First of all, we try to deal with municipal waste in a balanced manner, despite difficulties connected with its storage and utilization, resulting from the fact that our city is not in the possession of its own garbage dump or of a regional instalation of municipal waste recycling.
Our whole city is in the project of waste segregation. We have to sort out the rubbish, nowadays it’s the basis of our economy (…) What can we make out of recycled plastic are for example thermal sweaters, waste can also be the source of alternative fuels, which is very important and reduces the costs of heating. At present Polish economy is focusing on retrieval of still new products from garbage instead of burning them. An average citizen of Poland produces about 350 kg of waste a year. It means that we create 1 kg of garbage every day. That’s why segregation is so important.
Environmental protection is not only about garbage. Ruda Śląska has been the place of location of many heavy industry plants. We had here many coal-mines and ironworks. What about the places which have become polluted by the closed now enterprises?
Here are some examples. The contaminated ground of a former coking plant will be cleaned, brought back to the original state and finally return to the inhabitants of our city.
We have also revitalized one of numerous piles – I’m talking about a zinc pile which has been cleaned. Special plants, assimmilating dangerous chemicals, have been placed on it and it made the pile to be a local attraction. In Winter you can ride sleighs there and in other seasons people can use other leisure facilities located there. There has been also a viewpoint established there, which gives possility to see distant mountains.
In 2017 an acoustic map has been created for our city. It led to starting a program of noise protection including posssible actions which the city has to take in case of noise connected with transportation and roads. As far as industrial plants are concerned, relevant decisions are to be taken by the authorities in response to measurements done by the Voivodship Inspector of Environmental Protection.
The citizens who want to cut down trees have to submit an application to the city council, whose decision allows it or not. Such actions cannot be taken without this procedure, everything must be in agreement with environmental planning.
Environmental protection is also wild nature and greenery. The first impression may be different, but our city is very green. We have state forests and parks, walking and cycling paths with preserved nature – bushes, trees, animals. This is where you can be among natural greenery, untouched by people. We are also working on a project called “The Ruda Trackway”, connecting different districts of our city, including the earlier mentioned pile. Thanks to this idea it will be possible to have a walk along paths located in natural environment and visit our city in such a way. This is a great offer of relaxation in fresh air.
The city created a program of environmental protection. It was enacted by our City Council on 24th January and it describes activities which will be taken till 2026. This program connects all the components connected with environment in our city – that is activities taken in such fields as air protection, water and sewage economy, garbage management, greenery creation, adaptation to climate change and emergency actions.
Our city has three sewage refineries and numerous pumping stations. Do all the citizens have a chance to take advantege of the city plumbing net?
Yes, they do. Our city is one big agglomeration. Only few single-family houses have their own sewage management, that is cesspools or household sewage treatment plants.
Generally our city is in 100% canalized. Thanks to special sources gained by the city we have rebuilt our refineries and we have created three modern ones as well as water pumping stations.
The city authorities focus on educating our citizens and encouraging them to lead an “eco” and “zero waste” lifestyle. The officials often visit schools and kindergartens to talk about the importance of ecology. We finance educational materials and awards for schools which take part in competitions promoting the idea of being ecologically-conscious citizens.
Ruda Śląska supports also adults, for example in their efforts to get rid of dangerous asbestos. We also help financially those who decide to exchange old, dangerous coal furnaces into modern, ecological ones meeting EU standards.
What we must never forget is that all the citizens have to make their contribution if we want to make our city an ecological one. Thus only cooperation may change our planet.