Lake Rożnowskie – no man’s waste

Jezioro Rożnowskie

The beautiful Rożnowskie Lake, located in the Małopolska province, is starting to become popular again. Not only tourists, but also local residents would like to spend time pleasantly on its banks or doing water sports. The problem arises after heavy rains. The sight of garbage lying everywhere is not conducive to relaxation. For the benefit of all, it is necessary to remove them quickly. Just who should do it? And who should pay for it?

Rożnowskie Lake – historical outline and location

The central part of the Association of Municipalities of Lake Rożnowskie is a reservoir, flooded back during World War II. The immediate cause of the dam’s construction was the numerous floods, especially the one in 1934. The construction of the reservoir was carried out as part of the Central Industrial District. The dam was erected between Ostra Gora and Laziska in Rožnovo. Construction began by the Poles in 1935, and was completed by the Germans in 1941. Complete filling took place two years later. The creation of the artificial lake has irreversibly affected the entire region.

The combination of the lagoon with its hilly surroundings, numerous forests and meadows, as well as the Dunajec Valley, stretching between the dams in Czchów and Rożnow, has given the area, a unique, tourist character. Lake Rożnowskie resembles the letter “S” in its shape. Walking along the right bank from the dam, we pass the villages of the Gródek nad Dunajcem municipality: Rożnów, Bartkowa-Posadowa, Gródek nad Dunajcem, Lipie, Sienna, Zbyszyce. The lake then borders Kurow (Chełmiec municipality). Here there is a bridge over the Dunajec River flowing from Nowy Sącz. The left bank of the lake is the villages of the Łososina Dolna municipality, in turn: Białawoda, Tęgoborze, Bilsko, Łososina Dolna, Rąbkowa, Znamirowice, Tabaszowa. At the height of Gródek nad Dunajcem on the lake there is a natural island called Grodzisko. – Development Plan for the Rožnov reservoir for 2016-2020.

Lake Rożnowskie
pic. Catherine Biegun

Garbage troubles at Lake Roznowskie

Anyone who has come to Lake Rożnowskie at least once after heavy rainfall in the Dunajec catchment area, hoping to admire the sights and have a pleasant time, has seen a striking sight: in addition to the brown color of the agitated lake, a mass of waste of various types and origins floats or lingers on the shores, in coves and on the surface of the water. This demonstrates the consumer wealth and image poverty of users of the Dunajec River and surrounding areas. Littering is anonymous, but indiscriminate. Currently, volunteers are dealing with the problem, but their efforts are insufficient. Top-down decisions are needed on who should collect and manage the waste, as well as finance the work.

Legal division of responsibility for garbage in the municipality

Waste management is regulated by the provisions of the Law of September 13, 1996. On maintaining cleanliness and order in municipalities (i.e. OJ. of 2023. pos. 1469, 1852). According to Art. 3 paragraph. 1 of the aforementioned law, the municipality’s own tasks include maintaining cleanliness and order in its territory. In addition, Art. 6r para. 2b of that law stipulates that from the fees collected for the management of municipal waste, the municipality may cover the costs of removing municipal waste from places not intended for its storage and disposal within the meaning of the Law of December 14, 2012. On waste (i.e., Journal of Laws 2023, item 1587).

For the time being, state authorities have no plans to introduce financial subsidies or create special funds for the removal of waste accumulated by natural forces from municipalities. It is up to the municipality, within its resources, to cover the cost of the cleanup, including the garbage that flows into it in a broad stream with the flow of water.

The Ministry of Environment and Climate, in its current legal state, does not have the capacity to provide systemic support to municipalities in cleaning up Lake Rozhnovskie. Guided by regulations, managers of administrative units must find a solution on their own. And it doesn’t seem easy, since the problem is complex and affects more than one municipality.

Cleaning up what’s backlogged is one thing, but it’s also important to consider how to reduce the waste carried by the forces of nature. Virtually everyone bears the cost of the “garbage tax.” The municipality provides waste collection and PSZOK (Selective Municipal Waste Collection Point), so logistically everything is organized as it should be. Nevertheless, Lake Rožnovskie experiences from time to time that some citizens are outside the waste management system and feed the waters and shores with garbage along with the tide. The problem is not only with this reservoir, but because this object is extremely close to me, I have trouble accepting that after heavy rains it presents an apocalyptic picture from the gospel of St. John.

Local initiatives on litter at Lake Rožnovo

Every year, landowners, tenants, the municipality and volunteers set out to clean the lake and shores so as not to deter visitors, tourists and local residents. There are additional human and financial costs. For years, the topic of waste, some of which comes from the forces of nature (branches, sticks, leaves, roots, sometimes trees), has come up in deliberations, debates and even petitions. And just as I can understand to some extent the presence of natural garbage around the lake, I qualify plastic bottles, plastic bags or cans as a pathology of attitudes in the area of personal culture and environmental protection.

First of all, you need to take care of order. Trash not only deters tourists, but also causes the residents themselves to have a bad opinion of the lake. What’s needed is a thoughtful design that not only removes the waste that is currently piled up, but also allows for ongoing control of the problem. It is necessary to clearly define which legal entities are responsible for which areas – trash on shores, trash in the water, trash in forests and along roads. Once the lake is “cleaned up,” you can get down to improving the broader tourist, recreational, leisure infrastructure. – Development Plan for the Rožnov reservoir for 2016-2020.

In anticipation of a systemic solution for direct funding or the creation of a targeted fund for “no man’s waste” I will rant a little – let the practice become the promotion of environmental awareness, and its determinant is respect for nature, adherence to the rules and prevention of threats. And as Lake Rożnowskie experiences a renaissance in popularity, let’s give it a respite from direct contact with plastic, plastic bags, cans and bottles.

Photo. main: Catherine Biegun

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