On 7 July, Ukraine celebrated the International Day of the Dnieper River, the third largest river in Europe. On this day, the EU-funded “European Union Water Initiative Plus for the Eastern Partnership” (EUWI+ East) project summarised the results of a social media campaign entitled “Cleaner Dnieper starts from you”, for the prevention of phosphate pollution in the Dnieper River basin.
As part of the campaign, a contest entitled “My favourite laundry detergent – without phosphorus compounds” was launched in order to collect information and create a list of recommended phosphate-free (P-free) detergents, resulting in the development of a “catalogue” of P-free detergents.
The campaign saw wide audience engagement, in particular regarding detergents and their impact on the “blooming” of the Dnieper River.
The so-called blooming of the Dnieper River refers to the excessive growth of blue-green algae in the water. One of the main reasons for this, according to EUWI+ East, is the use of phosphorus-containing detergents that are banned in EU countries but are still used in Ukraine. The content of phosphorus compounds in the Dnieper River Basin and its reservoirs ranges from 0.38 to 0.44 mg/l, compared to 0.2 mg/l in clean water. This may kill fish through suffocation and affect human health through toxins.
The campaign was initiated by the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine and the country’s State Agency of Water Resources, with the support of the EUWI+ East project.
During the campaign, a number of infographics were distributed in order to show the process whereby detergents containing phosphates act as a “fertiliser” for the blossoming of algae in the river. The EUWI+ East project has also developed a cartoon showing the impact of phosphate pollution on the water quality and biodiversity of the river.
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