pollution

Pollution of waterways, such as the Danube, has far-reaching consequences for humans and nature. Pollutants and microplastics in seas and rivers can lead to a variety of health concerns since 75% of the world’s population meet their protein needs from water bodies. Many of the chemicals discharged into the waters attach themselves to microplastics which are then ingested by fish, shellfish and other organisms. In the course of the digestion process, these chemicals detach from the microplastics and get absorbed into the fauna, while the plastic is excreted. Humans at the end of the food chain consume the chemicals along with the fish or shellfish. For this reason, the cleandanube project is spotlighting microplastics.

Industry
Agriculture
Towns and villages
(Micro-)Plastic

What gets into the Danube?

Chemicals (e.g. fluorinated surfactants, phosphates, heavy metal ions, salts, detergents, flame retardants, bleaching agents, sweeteners, corrosion inhibitors, etc.).

Microplastics (granule loss)

Fertiliser
Plant protection products (insecticides, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides)
Urea
Nitrates
Antibiotics
Hormones

Medicines + degradation products – painkillers, antiepileptics
Hospital waste water – antibiotics, X-ray contrast media, MRI contrast media
Household wastewater, detergents, dishwasher detergents
Macro- and microplastics
Butts
Municipal waste water
Hormones
UV protection agents
Artificial sweeteners
Cosmetics and personal care products
Fertilisers
Dyes
Thinners

bottles

bags

packaging material

tyre particulates

asphalt particulates

sports field granulates

mp from beauty products

mp from textiles through waste

disposal, incineration, air dispersal

weathering of outdoor plastic products

street cleaning (green waste)

How does it get into the Danube?

Industry Waste water discharged directly or indirectly via the treatment plant
Groundwater
Surface water
Exhaust air
Precipitation
Transport
Loading and unloading
Industrial accidents

Groundwater
Rain
Surface water

Waste water
Insufficient clarification in wastewater treatment plants
Heavy rainfall events (bypass)
drifts, surface water, floods
Litter in nature
Crushing of macroplastics into microplastics by mowing tools for road and rail maintenance

Tyre and asphalt abrasion via rain and wind
Residues of microplastics from cosmetics and detergents via urban wastewater
Macroplastics are ground into microplastics by rocks in the riverbed (erosion)
Granule loss from industry

What are the consequences for people and nature?

Drinking water quality declines
Drinking water is becoming more and more expensive to produce
Animal populations decline and plants die (loss of biodiversity)
Swimming no longer possible

Genetic alterations in animals
Reproduction is disturbed
Malformations
Algae growth

Antibiotic resistance
Water pollution that poses a health risk
Threat to animals and plants

4 tonnes of plastic end up in the Black Sea every day and remain there for many years.
the plastic ends up on our plates via the animals
we eat about 1 credit card of plastic every week
animals die because of plastic in their stomachs
Animals get caught in plastic
Plastic contributes to climate change
Plastic binds other pollutants to itself

What can we do about it?

Limit values and control of waste water from the chemical industry (not implemented for all substances in the EU)
Use filter technologies in house
Self-regulation in the sense of a sustainably operating company
Sustainability must be an economic factor
Better filtering of water, control over wastewater

Fertilise less
Use better biodegradable pesticides
Natural plant protection
Control of waste water
Better control of water management in the fields
Connect surface water to the sewage system

Improve wastewater treatment plants (treatment stage 4)
Clarify all wastewater
Do not dispose of medicines in wastewater
Use sustainable and natural products
Avoid plastic and microplastics
Separate and recycle waste
do not put plastic into nature
Start of the pipe approaches
Wastewater treatment also from hospitals and private households and care facilities

Avoid plastic
Dispose of plastic
Separate waste
Increase recycling rate
Drive less
Promote the circular economy
Follow the three R rule: Reduce, reuse recycle
Buy, produce and use only single-use plastic products

Industry
Agriculture
Towns and villages
(Micro-)Plastic

What gets into the Danube?

Chemicals (e.g. fluorinated surfactants, phosphates, heavy metal ions, salts, detergents, flame retardants, bleaching agents, sweeteners, corrosion inhibitors, etc.).

Microplastics (granule loss)

Fertiliser
Plant protection products (insecticides, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides)
Urea
Nitrates
Antibiotics
Hormones

Medicines + degradation products – painkillers, antiepileptics
Hospital waste water – antibiotics, X-ray contrast media, MRI contrast media
Household wastewater, detergents, dishwasher detergents
Macro- and microplastics
Butts
Municipal waste water
Hormones
UV protection agents
Artificial sweeteners
Cosmetics and personal care products
Fertilisers
Dyes
Thinners

bottles

bags

packaging material

tyre particulates

asphalt particulates

sports field granulates

mp from beauty products

mp from textiles through waste

disposal, incineration, air dispersal

weathering of outdoor plastic products

street cleaning (green waste)

How does it get into the Danube?

Industry Waste water discharged directly or indirectly via the treatment plant
Groundwater
Surface water
Exhaust air
Precipitation
Transport
Loading and unloading
Industrial accidents

Groundwater
Rain
Surface water

Waste water
Insufficient clarification in wastewater treatment plants
Heavy rainfall events (bypass)
drifts, surface water, floods
Litter in nature
Crushing of macroplastics into microplastics by mowing tools for road and rail maintenance

Tyre and asphalt abrasion via rain and wind
Residues of microplastics from cosmetics and detergents via urban wastewater
Macroplastics are ground into microplastics by rocks in the riverbed (erosion)
Granule loss from industry

What are the consequences for people and nature?

Drinking water quality declines
Drinking water is becoming more and more expensive to produce
Animal populations decline and plants die (loss of biodiversity)
Swimming no longer possible

Genetic alterations in animals
Reproduction is disturbed
Malformations
Algae growth

Antibiotic resistance
Water pollution that poses a health risk
Threat to animals and plants

4 tonnes of plastic end up in the Black Sea every day and remain there for many years.
the plastic ends up on our plates via the animals
we eat about 1 credit card of plastic every week
animals die because of plastic in their stomachs
Animals get caught in plastic
Plastic contributes to climate change
Plastic binds other pollutants to itself

What can we do about it?

Limit values and control of waste water from the chemical industry (not implemented for all substances in the EU)
Use filter technologies in house
Self-regulation in the sense of a sustainably operating company
Sustainability must be an economic factor
Better filtering of water, control over wastewater

Fertilise less
Use better biodegradable pesticides
Natural plant protection
Control of waste water
Better control of water management in the fields
Connect surface water to the sewage system

Improve wastewater treatment plants (treatment stage 4)
Clarify all wastewater
Do not dispose of medicines in wastewater
Use sustainable and natural products
Avoid plastic and microplastics
Separate and recycle waste
do not put plastic into nature
Start of the pipe approaches
Wastewater treatment also from hospitals and private households and care facilities

Avoid plastic
Dispose of plastic
Separate waste
Increase recycling rate
Drive less
Promote the circular economy
Follow the three R rule: Reduce, reuse recycle
Buy, produce and use only single-use plastic products