Kristina Madsen

Climate change: looking back for a solution of today (Singapore)

YRE Competition 2019
19-25 years

When we think of solutions against climate change, we think about being more environmentally friendly and wasting less. Many view this as an inconvenience and a modern phenomenon we need more to adapt to with a similarly modern approach, as seen with the metal straw craze and sudden "ban-on-plastic".

However, the last people we often think of practising such solutions this is our grandparents. I remember the second-hand embarrassment as I watched my grandfather pull rolls of plastic bags in NTUC, before stuffing it into a trolley and walking away. I never knew where all those plastic bags went, and maybe I don’t want to know which landfill or ocean it is in now.

Yet, what if I told you one of the ways to mitigate the effects we have on climate change can be drawn by our grandparents?

My Grandma and Her Mini-Garden

My Grandma and Her Mini-Garden

On the 5th floor of an old HDB estate, you’ll find two rows of plants lining the sides of the walkway. Mdm Siew Cheng will be there with her trusty spray bottle and scissors, tending to her garden every day without fail. While she may not be a gardener, she is my grandma and her small garden is one of the ways she practices responsible consumption.

This small garden is home to 16 different vegetables and plants, which my grandma has tended for the past 20 years. Every morning at 6 am without fail, she prunes and sprays her mini-farm and these vegetables feeds our family. Her chye sim with soup and her rosemary with steak are utterly delicious, and our family goes over every Saturday to collect our "share of the harvest".

When I ask her why she goes through the trouble, she responded, "it’s yummy and I save money". Yet, she isn’t aware of the impact her tiny garden has had on the environment other than the fact that it has kept our stomachs filled.

Watering System Installed for the Potted Plants

Watering System Installed for the Potted Plants

To save on money, she has installed recycled plastic bottles to water her plants so that she doesn’t overwater them and only sprays her plants with water when necessary. Her pots are all taken from her neighbours or from the rubbish bin downstairs, recycling what would have ended up in a landfill.

Natural Fertilizer from Leftover Vegetables

Natural Fertilizer from Leftover Vegetables

In her attempt to live healthier, my grandma turned her farm organic as well. Leftover vegetables that would have ended in the dustbin are used as fertiliser for her plants. And after trial and error, my grandma’s home-made pesticide was simply an orange or banana peel left overnight. She found after trial and error that snails and other pests would fester on the peel and she could simply remove them from her vegetables after leaving the peels overnight.

"I don't have to throw rubbish away often now… it's good for my legs too and saves money" was her reason behind all these little actions. However, I was met with an "aiyo no la" and "sure boh" when I shared with her of the positive impacts her actions have had on the environment.

However, one of the biggest impacts her farm has had was reducing plastic and pollution.

When we purchase vegetables from supermarkets, they are often wrapped in plastic and these end up in landfills or polluting the oceans, harming sea creatures. And on tiny island Singapore, the food seen in supermarkets and goods such as pesticide are more often than nought imported from other countries. Yet, we tend to forget the pollution produced when moving these consumer goods from country to country, whether transported by ship, land or air.

Her small actions in making her farm were done to save money and effort, but yet has had such impacts on our environment. Yet ironically, our reasons for not being more environmentally friendly or taking actions against climate change are because it costs extra, or it takes extra effort.

So maybe we don't need an all too modern solution which requires us to buy more metal straws or ship something from overseas. Maybe what we all just need to do is to look at our grandparents' older consumption habits… or just a pot with vegetable seeds.

Bees in the city: small insects, big problems (Slovakia)

YRE Competition 2019
15-18 years

Bees’ natural environment is increasingly threatened by air pollution, temperature fluctuations, pesticides and loss of biodiversity. Bees do not have enough food and die. Paradoxically, in cities the selection of flowers and flowering plants is expanding, so bees get closer to people in the cities. It is an opportunity for practical training in bee and apiculture issues. Students at the Jan Adam Rayman Grammar School are very interested in participating in a beekeeping club, but they have come across misapprehension.


The idea for this project was first presented at the Jan Adam Rayman Grammar School in Prešov by a new informatics instructor, for whom beekeeping is a passion. The project did not remain in the realm of just thoughts and words. A year ago, the first beehives were placed on school grounds and a beekeeping club was offered for the first time. The leader was the teacher, Mr. Shurin, who described the beginning as follows: "Bees were shipped at the beginning of the season when the weather was still unstable. Bees are more nervous at this time, as the bad weather bothers them. They were also irritated by the move.”


At first there were no problems, and the club began to work. But gradually people started to worry about insect allergies caused by stings. Therefore, information boards with basic facts about urban bees, as well as first-aid steps for insect stings were installed in the school yard. After that the neighbours, Salesians from Don Bosco, visited the principal with a petition for the removal of the hives. Their justification was that they have a playground right over the fence. They felt threatened because some had had bad experiences with bees. There were also concerns within the school itself.

Mgr. Matúš Šurin: “Abroad, in towns, on the outskirts of parks, on railway tracks and in other locations, they set up gardens, plant crops, try to use every available piece of the earth, while here things decay. We have English lawns without flowers in our gardens."


The school took action to maintain good neighbourly relations. A bee-proof barrier was installed on the fence to meet all the requirements and regulations of beekeepers in residential areas. The students created leaflets about how people should behave near bees. They offered the leaflets to their neighbours, but they refused them. Neither did they accept an invitation to come to see the bees in the school garden along with professional lecture, even with protective equipment.

As the complaints continued, it was suggested the bees be moved even further from the common fence, or that the bee-proof barriers be multiplied. However, these solutions were not optimal because the bees had not gotten used to their surroundings.

Principal Mgr. Viera Kundľová said:

"Dissatisfaction with the bees in the school yard and people's concerns led me to study "insect bites". I have read that bees and bumble bees are not "naturally" aggressive, while wasps and hornets are very aggressive and will attack. But people's concerns were the deciding factor and led me to take the hives away from the school yard."


There are many student beekeepers in the world, even in kindergartens. School apiaries are also starting up in Slovakia, in Bratislava, Zvolen, Lučenec and other locations. Unfortunately, in East Slovakia, namely Prešov, this has not happened yet.

One cannot disagree with Mr. Shurin, that having a beekeeping club in times when there is a huge interest in beekeeping, and where there is no such opportunity, is something amazing. Even if the honeybees’ pollination is not counted as a benefit, the school could have been a trendsetter in keeping urban bees in eastern Slovakia.

Finally, the bees were supposed to be in the garden for only a month and a half, because they should only be there during the season when they can be worked with. Unfortunately, they had to go prematurely.


When solving this difficult situation, everyone agreed with the Assistant Principal Ing. Daniela Bučková: “Children's health comes first; it is better to avoid a problem than solve it later."

Young beekeepers also asked the other side - Don Bosco's Salesians - to express their opinion. In the beginning they were very willing, but when it came to setting a meeting date, they did not respond. Further attempts at contact were futile.

Despite everything, the club is still meeting!

Although the hives have moved to Kendice, where the beekeeping club is run under the patronage of the Slovak Union of Beekeepers, the subject of bees is still being studied at the Jan Adam Rayman Grammar School. In May, an article will be published in the Včelár [Beekeeper] magazine. The club has generated enormous interest and it is at full capacity. The large number of candidates waiting to get in testify to the quality of the club. These are the reasons the school’s management is still considering the possibility of returning bees to the school garden in a way that all parties are satisfied







The upcycling solution (Slovakia)

YRE Competition 2019
11-14 years

Since plastic shopping bags are not free at the cashier, most people have gotten used to carrying their own. However, the ultra thin plastic bags for fruits and vegetables are still free and heavily used. A consumer will bring home more than 500 of them a year. The solution may be bags made of old curtains or similar fabrics.

Miletičova Market in Bratislava is a popular place to buy vegetables and fruits. During the weekend, depending on the season, it is visited by between 300 to 1,000 shoppers. The Market has been open since the 1970s. Approximately 150 permanent vendors currently sell their goods in its booths: 55 vendors of fruits and vegetables, 55 of various other foods, snacks or food and drinks, and the rest is clothing, electrical goods, hardware and flowers. In addition, there are an additional 5 to 50 seasonal vendors of fruit and vegetables, as well as about 25 growers and vendors of seedlings and saplings.

Watching life in the market, you can see that more than two-thirds of the shoppers use eco bags or alternatives: traditional baskets made of pedig or willows, newer canvas versions with aluminum handles, or cotton and polyester bags. The rest uses mixed-material or plastic bags. The survey confirmed that more than 80% of shoppers do not use plastic bags, which were much more common before people had to pay for them.

"It´s about personal responsibility," says environmental consultant Petra Ježeková from environmental association Živica. "I always wear a backpack, so I can put my purchase in it, unless it is dirty. I try to have a few reusable bags in it (I am not always successful, but I am improving.) I have a pair of ultra thin plastic ones, two from old curtains and occasionally a bag I paid for. I definitely recommend having a durable bag or net bag, and a pair of little sack in your handbag - ideally linen, or ones upcycled from an old curtain."

Where to Put Fruits and Vegetables

A small marketplace survey shows that even the majority of those who carry their own eco-bags or baskets have their vegetables put in coloured plastic bags. These are sacks marked with the HDPE 2 label, which vendors still give to people for free, just like the thin plastic bags. When asked why they take plastic disposable sacks from retailers, shoppers give two basic reasons:

  1. It´s free, and when I put the vegetables in my bag, they don´t dirty my bag (basket), they stay organized and easy to handle at home.

  2. Fruit and vegetables do not dry out and remain fresh.

With a normal consumption of 5-7 such bags per purchase and the high traffic in this market, despite the fact that shoppers usually carry baskets or cotton, paper or PES bags with them, approximately 1500-5000 such bags are distributed in the market during a single Saturday, depending on the season. Annually that means up to 250000 plastic bags just for Saturday purchases.

Upcycling Old Curtains

The Narnia Church Primary School team of reporters sought to reduce the consumption of these bags by people, even though they are free.

They found the answer with Dana Kleinert, a fashion designer, activist, and ambassador of Bratislava Old Town. At the time of her candidacy for mayor, she launched a social responsibility campaign called Old Town Curtains.

"I collected old curtains from people, and our deaf seamstress sewed them in a sheltered workshop into sachets that we distributed in the market. This effort included discussions about waste, and people became aware of their personal responsibility and started using our bags. As a result, disposable bag use was significantly reduced."

After talking to Mrs. Kleinert, the Narnia girls decided to try out this project. They started collecting old curtains and bedding and sewing them into eco sacks. They are making good progress and you can meet up with them at the Good Market in Jakub´s Square, where they will talk to people about their eco-sacks and give them out for voluntary contributions. 

“We hope that people will add them to their eco-bags and stop taking disposable bags from vendors. That's our goal. Because each one can be used for years to prevent the use of hundreds of disposable bags. And that’s worth it,” say the girls.

Giving new life to old curtains

Giving new life to old curtains

OUR upcycling solution

OUR upcycling solution

Tan Tan: From a garden watered by running water to a barren wasteland looking for drops of water (Morocco)

YRE Competition 2018
19-21 years

"Malika, (35 years old), leaves her bed at the crack of dawn, and she moves quickly while she is still falling asleep, towards the water tap installed in the entrance hall. Bottles of 5, 10 and 30 liters are put near the water tap waiting for drops of water. Most of the time, Malika, who lives in Sheikh Abdati neighborhood, waits for long hours without succeeding to fill these bottles and barrels with drinking water, a suffering which is repeated every day and becomes more complicated with the coming of every summer. "

City connected to water

"It is said that one of the nomads was lost in the Moroccan Sahara until he got thirsty, he was about to die. He searched for a well of water to satiate his thirst and that of his cattle but did not find it, continued to search with all hope to have a drop of water, passed near a lot of dried up wells. He went on walking until he reached a very deep well, he could not see anything in it, he doubted about it, he threw a small stone into the well and heard the sound of the stone dangling with water, making a sound like "Tantana". So, he named this well "tanatina" Which will later become the first nucleus of a city that will take its name, It is "Tan Tan", a coastal city located between Guelmim and Tarfaya. Passengers traveling to the south or north must pass through this city, that's why it is called the city of "transit", its population reached 73.209 thousand people.

The establishment of "Tan Tan" was associated with water, because without this well, there wouldn't be any constructions or buildings. There were many wells that were established by the population of this city. Its fresh water was highly appreciated by its users. Decades ago, when the city was under construction, the water-laden carts were roaming the streets to sell water to the population. At that time, the price of water was very cheap. After that, the residents connected their homes to the potable water network, benefited and were supplied with water at low prices. The population did not know that this water will dry up one day.

A city that exports water

When visiting the cities of the southern provinces, including Laayoune, Smara, Boujdour, Tarfaya or even Dakhla, you will remark water tank selling water to the inhabitants of these provinces. People prefer to buy water from these trucks because of its high quality. And when you look more at these tanker trucks, you find the words written very clearly "water of Tan Tan". This name has become a brand associated with water quality of this region. Demand for water in this area becomes a source of profit for a number of truckers who prefer this kind of trade. A few years ago, a factory was established to fill various sizes of bottles with this water and sell it in different cities of the Kingdom.

The beginning of the crisis ... the end of the drop of water

Almost two years ago, these water taps installed in houses were no longer supplied with water at any moment because of the successive interruptions during the day. But sometimes, these interruptions continued for many days. At first, the inhabitants did not care about the matter. They thought that this problem would disappear after a short period. But in fact, these interruptions were caused by the diminution of the well water. The city suffered from a suffocating crisis that threatens the future of generations. The groundwater of this area has been depleted for many years and the wells in the region of "Taassalt" are no longer sufficient to meet the growing needs of the inhabitants.

The Arabs say, "Ironing is the last medicine." Officials of the National agency for Drinking Water tried to save the city from thirst engendered by the overuse of water. This attempt involves the construction of two seawater desalination plants. The first was established in 2003, and the second in 2014.

To know how desalination plant operates, we visited "Khank Lahmam" plant, which supplies the city with drinking water. The water quality engineer Mustafa Adenani says that this plant operates according to the "reverse osmosis technology", which passes through four processes, including pre-treatment, which remove plankton and impurities, then the stage of treatment, which is done by high pressure to separate salts from water, because water Extracted from the holes in the region of "Ras Omlil" is salty by an average of 4 and 5 grams per liter. The obtained filtered water is added to a percentage of salt water to restore balance. The plant produces a total of 35 liters per second of safe drinking water stored into four water tanks with a capacity of 3,000 cubic meters, to which is added chlorine solution of 0.5 mg / l.

Awareness is the solution

After the suffering experienced by the inhabitants of "Tan Tan" due to the depletion of wells, and after many attempts to solve this problem, it became necessary to think of "raising awareness" of the importance of water among the youngest generation. This sense should be translated into behavior and practice. The waste of water is a violation of the right of future generations to live in a stable world. This natural wealth is a common property that should be preserved.

YRE field visit to the desalination plant “Khank lhmam”

YRE field visit to the desalination plant “Khank lhmam”

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Water tank selling water

Water tank selling water

Written by students from Morocco.

When youth hostel goes with eco-friendly tourism (France)

YRE Competition 2018
19-21 years

While tourism is responsible for the emission of 26,400 million tons of CO2 per year, can we bring tourism and sustainable tourism together? This is the challenge Samuel Boggio and Alain Berhault set themselves by opening, last April 24th, the first écollective youth hostel in France. Based in the 9th district of Lyon, the “Alter’hostel” tries to integrate travellers in local life of Lyon while reducing their ecological footprints.

A form of tourism that cares about the environment

Eco-responsible travel with affordable prices: this is the goal of this youth hostel welcoming foreign globe-trotters as well as young French people settling in Lyon or even school groups. This goes with a strong will to reduce the hostel’s carbon footprint. In that regard, the lightning is timed, the showers’ water debit is controlled thanks to a compressed air system and dry toilets were put in place. Composts, sorting trays in each dormitory, recycled rainwater… Nothing is left to chance, even the handmade washing-liquid.

“What we decided to put to practice is not rocket science! You just have to want to invest in it. The dry toilets cost up to 2,500-3,000 euros so it should be taken into account but afterwards you save money every year. Lots of people come to us because of our ecological concept so it actually incites other hostels to follow the same principles” explains Samuel, whose idea started to grow during a round-the-world tour. The managers also chose the renewable energy supplier Enercop, even if it means paying 15 to 20% more on the electricity bill. This hostel is of a new kind and does not have anything to do with a simple greenwashing marketing plan. “The concept of an ecological hostel allows to learn more on what can be done to preserve the environment” testifies Marina, who is delighted with her stay.

A new approach for travelling: more open to local life and sharing

At the bar, you can have local drinks with the “Cola’rdèche” soda or “Canute Lyonnaise” beers. Travellers can also pay with the local money, the “Gonette”, even if Samuel admits that this is quite rare. The hostel multiplies local partnerships in order to involve the travellers into the local Lyon life. For instance, the latter can get involved as volunteers for “Les Restos du Coeur” or give the “Acte 2” ticket-counter a hand, the theatre next-door. “It is not only a hostel, it is much more than that” Samuel sums up. With concerts, polyglot evenings, Christmas markets, DIY workshops, the hostel is abundant with events and good mood in an atmosphere where multiple nationalities casually meet. The hostel organizes different workshops of awareness to the environment in partnership with local associations like “Awareness and Ecological Impact”. To Gabrielle Frutos, administrator of this association, “it is a very beneficial cooperation that is justified by the values shared by both these structures”.

Moreover, it is also possible to rent kayaks and bikes. “We are really happy we could associate with the Alter’Hostel to re-use bikes rather than buying new ones and waste them” explains Thierry from the “Change your Chain” association. The hostel also welcomes some young people doing their civic service or doing “woofing”. Everything is made to incite the travellers to become actors of their stay in a convivial atmosphere.

A project that saw the day thanks to collaborative financing

“We are not geniuses, it is just that we have ideas and motivation. We are often said to follow our dreams and that is right (…). We should be creative, not be afraid to try things even if people say it will not work” advices Samuel. To fund their dream, the two young managers did not indeed lack creativity: “We paddled down the Rhône in kayak from Switzerland to the sea. We raised 21,000 euros of funds, 300 people contributed to it.” Then they called for financers from social and solidarity economy such as the “Nef” and the “Crédit Coopératif”.

An inspiring concept, the echo of a new aspiration coming from young people

As it was prized last January with the label “Lyon, Sustainable and Ethical City”, whose goal is to promote practical alternatives to consumption, the Alter’Hostel has a bright future ahead. Samuel seems confident: “we can launch different tourisms, we are the proof of that, and currently it is working. People are often happy to come here, they support us.”

A buzzing innovative concept? “In other cities of France we heard that other projects similar to ours are blossoming”. This dynamic goes to testify the emergence of an eco-responsible awareness, in particular among young people who are more and more attracted to solidarity and eco-friendly travelling. “Sustainable development, in terms of economics, is characterized by exploding markets: there are no risks to take. In terms of personal welfare, it is great because you can meet people with the same values. Suppliers and partners all create a benevolent community. (…) This is the future” concludes Samuel with an optimistic look.


Written by student from France.

Whiteboard markers: From investigation to change (Slovakia)

YRE Competition 2018
15-18 years


At the beginning of the 21st century, disposable markers began to be used in Slovakia. They are now slowly pushing white chalk out of the way. Black boards are being replaced by white magnetic boards.


At the Business Academy in Trnava, more than 100 markers are used up every year, and they are not even used in all classes. Each marker contains an average of 20 grams of plastic, which means about 2 kg of plastic per year ends up in the basket. At first glance it may seem that it is not so much. In the Trnava region, however, we have 149 secondary schools. If every school used markers only to a certain degree, like the Business Academy in Trnava, at least 298 kilograms of plastic would end up in the trash. "Markers are a wonderful thing because they have solved the problem of chalk dust. The problem is that disposable markers are not environmentally friendly, " says Dana Bohunická, a Business Academy teacher.

"I am surprised that, in this age of recycling, markers still remain a problem."


According to my questionnaire, which was filled out by 35 students, most of them use exclusively markers at school. Nearly three quarters of them know only about the disposables. Still, 90% of students think that markers should be recycled because they are an environmental problem. Almost half of the respondents (48%) believe that they can be recycled.

It's not easy to dispose of a marker. It is made up of several materials and most of the components are plastic. The liquid portion is a mixture of dyes and solvent. The tip of the marker is made of pressed fabric. The solvent for markers is mostly a substance made of kerosene, and is toxic.

Toxicity of markers poses a risk not only to the environment but also to human health (inhalation or ingestion is dangerous). "The plugs of the markers are fused to the sheath of the marker in accordance with EU safety regulations and therefore they cannot be refilled without damaging the casing," says the representative of the most famous Slovak manufacturer of disposable markers, Centropen.

"Plastic reprocessing for us is not possible because the plastic is dirty (the printing, residue of the contents inside the casing)." Thus, disposable markers cannot be dismantled or recycled.”


An enormous amount of waste is created that has no further use. The solution may be refillable markers which are reusable. Some companies also sell them with a bottle of ink, so you can refill them, or replace the marker tips with new ones. We can therefore use marker sheaths several times.

However, one barrier is the small selection in stores, so the customer has little choice. In one Trnava stationary store they are sold exclusively in full packs, which can discourage customers, who would then rather buy one disposable marker.

Another obstacle may be the price of the refillable marker. From my analysis of online stores, I came to a sad conclusion. Economics wins over ecology. Disposable marker prices range from € 0.65 to € 1.50 on average. However, the price of refillable markers can climb significantly, one costs approximately € 1.50 to € 4.60. Even though people would like to use refillable markers, the cost of these products discourages them. Probably for this reason Slovak schools use only disposable markers. "The tips in the refillable markers don’t last as long and we would pay much more for them," says Jaromír Flaškár, a teacher at Púchov primary school.

Although many people want to protect the environment, their choice is driven mainly by the price tag. "We produced refillable markers in the years 1999-2006. But due to lack of interest, we have terminated production," says Centropen.


Currently, when environmental awareness is being sold by companies, that manufacturer could consider returning to the production of refillable markers. Although companies now use environmental friendliness as a marketing lure, the manufacturers of markers have not used this strategy. An example is a US marker company that has introduced a recycling program for its customers. The customers who buy products from this company can send them back for recycling. This initiative helps pupils in schools to be responsible for protecting the environment (Source: Old plastic is being recovered by a company as fuel).


In the creation of this article, a wide-ranging discussion on this issue opened up at the Trnava Business Academy. This means that neither Slovak teachers nor pupils are indifferent to this problem, just like their American counterparts. The management of Trnava´s Business Academy has decided to test refillable markers for the first time, as a long-term solution to the problem of minimizing this waste.

This experience confirms that even a small initiative can bring about a big change; from a survey at a school, through disseminating the results, to final negotiations with the headmaster. Trnava´s Business Academy is an inspiring example of the fruitful communication between students and teachers resulting in an eco-friendly solution. If the test is successful, disposable whiteboard markers will be replaced by refillable ones for good.


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Written by student from Slovakia.

Atrazine in drinking water: Slovakia's biggest treasure at risk (Slovakia)

YRE Competition 2018
11-14 years


In mid-December 2017, 5,000 inhabitants of the Protected Water Zone of Žitný Ostrov remained without drinking water. The Regional Public Health Authority (RÚVZ) in Dunajská Streda found several times the exceeded limit of atrazine in the water from water mains. Atrazine is a pesticide that was used to kill weeds in the past.


Six communities were affected: Trstená na Ostrov, Baka, Jurová, Holice, Lúč na Ostrove, and Blatná na Ostrove. Their inhabitants were forbidden by authorities to use the water for drinking and cooking.

"We informed the public of the situation through announcements on the public announcement system and the village website. The phones were constantly ringing; people were curious and quite shocked," said Andrea Szemová, employee of the Holice Administration.

Thirty percent of the population is connected to the public water supply. "These families were supplied with drinking water from tanks, and during Christmas with water in barrels. Households with their own wells bought bottled water," says Mayor Imrich Vajas.


In the first months of 2018, the Western Slovak Water Company (ZSVS), which supplies potable water in the region, installed carbon filters to the public water main. They captured the atrazine. However, households using water from their wells remained unresolved. The news of water contamination surprised well owners. "We started using a carbon filter at home, but even so we buy water for drinking and cooking. Like us, those who are dependent on water from our wells are the majority in the neighborhood. It is unpleasant, even if the accidental pollution analyses of the wells have not been confirmed," said the resident of Holice municipality, Ján (58).


After the authorities banned water from the water supply in six communities, the Ministry of the Environment announced inspections of agricultural cooperatives near the water source. They are concentrating on compliance with the law on the use and storage of pollutants.

"The Slovak Environmental Inspection Agency has started investigations in 13 agricultural cooperatives," said Beata Matul from the agency. "Inspections are ongoing, so we cannot comment on this issue."

Young environmental reporters have been investigating whether the source of pollution is an environmental burden from the past. Veronika Katon of the Legal Department of the Ministry of the Environment wrote: "The Ministry is considering misuse of pesticides by farmers in the recent past or the illegal disposal of atrazine stocks after the ban."


Pollution in Žitný Ostrov by atrazine has spread to another water source in the village of Veľká Paka. As a member of the National Council Anna Zemanová told young reporters, the amount of atrazine in the water source of Veľka Paka is on the verge of the allowable limit. In this village, there is a ban on drinking water from the water supply for pregnant women and infants.

"The pesticide must not be used. As it’s no longer accumulating, nature can cope with it. After a certain period of time it disintegrates and its presence in the groundwater is quickly diluted," said Tomáš Ferenčák, spokesman for the Ministry of the Environment.

However, environmentalist and conservationist Mikuláš Huba thinks the ministry is underestimating the problem of pollution of drinking water in Žitný Ostrov. "The quality of water is gradually deteriorating in this area. It is necessary for the ministry to continue to monitor and insist on change in the management of this most valuable protected water management area in Slovakia."


The Committee of the Slovak National Council for Agriculture and the Environment met in March. Members of Parliament dealt with atrazine in drinking water. Representative Anna Zemanová invited the team of Young Reporters for the Environment from Elementary School in Majcichov to present their investigation on the ground of the National Parliament.



People with their own wells are now dependent on buying bottled water. It is safe from the health point of view but it is a burden on the environment.

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Based on the initiative of the young reporters, Mrs. Anna Zemanová, representative of the Slovak Parliament, promised to submit a new bill to better protect the biggest Slovakia´s water treasure.

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Written by students from Slovakia.