Youth in action

Implementation period:01.06.2013 – 31.10.2013

The overall objective is to create and strengthen the network of young environmentalists leaders in the basin of Bic river.

The ecological expedition on Bic river was organized during 7 to 14 July 2013, where 25 young environmentalists  together with the National Environmental Center team went  on foot along Bic river and identified the pollution sources and carried out biologic monitoring of water quality activities, establishing the fact that after Chisinau municipality the river is dead. Following the expedition, young people have developed the Declaration of Expedition on Bic river, which was submitted to the Ministry of Environment.

Also during this period, young people had the opportunity to meet the representatives of LPAs and discuss about issues identified on the route and methods of rehabilitation of the river.

Subsequently, in September 2013, approximately 3,000 youth were mobilized in the cleaning campaign with the slogan “Love your river!”, which was organized throughout the basin of Bic river.

These activities have been widely publicized. Below you can watch the movies about youth expedition on Bic river.

The expedition lasted 8 days (7-15 July 2013). The aim of the activity was familiarize the youth with the factors that contribute to the pollution of the river. It started in Temeleuti village, Calarasi rayon and ended in Gura Bicului village, Anenii Noi rayon. For one week, the participants walked the whole course of the river, which has a length of 155 km and studied the sources of pollution.

The first day of the expedition was spent in Temeleuti village, Calarasi rayon. The participants were transported from Chisinau to Temeleuti. They installed their tents in the courtyard of the forester, Mr. Ion Cataraga, and then started the expedition with a small excursion to the museum of the village, where they were told the legends and stories about Bic river. Later, guided by the mayor and a few villagers, the youth continued the expedition to the source of the river, which is located in the Natural Reservation “Plaiul Fagului”. [“Some of us were expecting something imposing, a waterfall that flows out of a huge rock, but we were disappointed when saw how little water is flowing down the river”], said a participant during an interview. In the evening, after dinner, the participants watched the movie “Home”, which was projected in the courtyard of the forester.

The second day started in Temeleuti village and ended in Calarasi town. The participants walked about 20 km. On their way to Calarasi, the youth assessed the quality of water in the river and concluded that it is excellent, finding 13 species of macroinvertebrates.  They also met some villagers and discussed about the radical changes incurred by the river over the years.  In the evening, they installed their tents in Calarasi town in a camp for children and spent the night there.

The third day started in Calarasi town and ended in Straseni town. The participants walked about 30 km. The youth met the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor of Calarasi town, the Head of Ecological Inspection Calarasi and the Head of the Center for Public Health Calarasi. They had a productive conversation while the local authorities answered all the questions in an open and transparent manner, having a positive attitude towards the proposals to improve the ecological condition of the river. The expedition also visited the recently built Wastewater Treatment Plant and continued the road to Straseni town. They assessed the water in Bucovat town and the results showed good quality. There were found 8 species of macroinvertebrates.  In the evening, the expedition stopped in the Auxiliary Center for Children (Straseni town) and spent the night there, installing the tents in the forest.

The fourth day started in Straseni town and ended in Chisinau municipality. The youth met the Deputy Mayor of Straseni town and had a very productive conversation. Mr. Deputy Mayor said that the LPA is aware about the ecological impact caused by the Solid Municipal Waste landfill of the town on the river, but they are working to solve this problem. He also mentioned that until August, in their town will be placed some information panels about the necessity to protect the Bic river. Following the meeting with the Deputy Mayor, the expedition went to the Waste Water Pumping Station of Straseni town. The unbearable smell coming from the station left no doubt that the station is not functional, according to the management of the station - for more than 10 years and is pumping waste waters not to Chisinau but directly into the Ghidighici lake – a place of recreation, aquaculture for Chisinau municipality as well as used for irrigation. The next destination was the Accumulation lake Ghidighici, which is located near Chisinau and is accumulating waste waters from Straseni town, also being considered a huge dam on Bic river with the capacity of 40 mln m3 of water, out of which 13 mln m3 are silted at the moment. The day ended in Chisinau and the participants received accommodation in “Zarea” hotel.

The fifth day started in Chisinau where the expedition organized an assessment of the water, which turned to be polluted. There were found only 3 species of macroinvertebrates. The assessment of water was of high interest to mass media, which came and reflected the event. Further, on their road along the river in Chisinau, there were detected illegal discharges of wastewaters from economic entities, a lot of garbage stored on the banks of the river, illegal waste dumps and illegal car washes. The day ended with a round table in open air, where the young people met the head of the Chisinau Ecological Agency, Mr. Lilian Popescu, Ms. Maria Sandu, representative of the Ecology and Geography Institute, Mr. Andrei Isac, Consultant on environmental issues and Mrs. Diana Conea, representative of Czech BONCOM company which deals with water and sewage systems installation.

In the sixth day, the expedition had an excursion to the Waste Water Treatment Plant of Chisinau municipality, where they were informed that the station is very old, being built in 1966 and needs urgent reparation and modernization, otherwise will not be able to treat water according to the existing standards. Following this excursion, the youth went to the mayoralty of Chisinau municipality and had a meeting with the Mayor, Mr. Dorin Chirtoaca. The youth were extremely happy to shake hands with the mayor, offering him a copy of the Resolution of Youth in the Basin of Bic River, developed at the Forum of Youth of the Bic river Basin organised in march this year, and a T-shirt with the slogan ”Love Bic river!”. The mayor promised that until the end of the year, there will be cleaned and deepened a portion of the river in Chisinau. The meeting with the mayor was followed by a visit to the Solid Municipal Waste landfill.

The seventh day of the expedition started in Chetrosu village (Anenii Noi rayon), a place where the youth found many sources of pollution. They assessed the water quality but did not find any form of life in the river concluding that Bic river is dead downstream Chisinau and the water having a strong smell of a sewage water. They were surprised to meet on their road farmers, which were irrigating their crops with water from the river. Almost every village, which is situated on the course of the river in Anenii Noi district downstream Chisinau has large areas of land on which are cultivated vegetables that require a large amount of water and which by means of pipes and engines is pumped directly from the river on the lands.

When the expedition reached Anenii Noi town, there were installed two information panels with the inscription: “Love Your River!” on the bridge across Bic river.[“We hope that those who pass over the bridge will be impressed by this message and will think twice before throwing waste in Bic river”, the youth concluded]. In the evening, the youth installed their tents in a camp for children ”Viisoara” of Anenii Noi district where they stayed overnight. There was organized a flash mob to warn the children who were staying in the camp, on the tragic state of the river. The children were very enthusiastic and receptive, sharing with us their positive impressions.

The eighth day of the expedition on Bic river was the last day of the expedition. The first stop was made in Bulboaca village, where was organized the assessment of water. As in the previous case youth did not find any life in the river and the smell of water was more pronounced, even unbearable. Further, they observed that the residents of this village use water from the river to irrigate their gardens. They also observed the pipe which was discharging Anenii Noi town untreated waste waters directly into the river, water having a very strong smell of concentrated sewage water. The journey continued towards Calfa village where they had a meeting with the Mayor, Ms. Ludmila Ceaglic, who welcomed the youth and was very happy to get to know the participants. The expedition members had a very interesting conversation and the mayor told them about the problems of this village and the river in this region. There is no centralized sewer system, no wastewater treatment plant and no landfill for banned and obsolete pesticides, which are kept in a quantity of about 6 tons near the river. This meeting was attended by Mr. Andrei Isac, specialist in environmental issues, which explained the negative effect of pesticides on human health. Afterwards, the expedition went to Gura Bicului village, the final destination of the expedition. The expedition ended on 15 of July and the participants were transported back home. Everyday there were developed press releases which presented the impressions and the activities of the expedition. These press releases were developed by the participants.

After that, on 17 of July the expedition members met in the CNM office and developed the Declaration of the Expedition of Youth in the basin of Bic river. They plan to have a meeting with the Minister of Environment and to present him the Declaration and the results of the expedition. The participants also requested to present the results of the expedition within the press conference.

The preparation of the expedition started a month before, and the National Environmental Center developed an application form, which was distributed by means of Internet as well as to the Departments of Education of each rayon in the basin of Bic river. There were received more than 35 application forms. The most successful 25 applicants were selected and announced about the details of the expedition. In addition, the National Environmental Center went to Calarasi, Straseni and Anenii Noi towns and set the logistic issues of the event. It is worth mentioning that the Chairs of Rayon Councils and the Mayors of Calarasi, Straseni and Anenii Noi rayons reacted very positively to the event and provided support in finding suitable places for camping for the expedition overnight.