Arnika prepared several actions for the occasion of the International Danube Day. Today, it put into operation internet pages dedicated to water protection in the Danube basin at http://bezjedu.arnika.org/dunaj. During the holidays, this will be followed by a touring exhibition entitled Toxics Free Future in the Danube Basin in five towns (Jihlava, Třebíč, Uherské Hradiště, Valašské Meziříčí and Brno). The International Danube Day (1) has been celebrated on the 29th of June each year since 2004. "By this action, we want to draw attention to the fact that water is a symbol of purity and life, it does not know state borders, and, on the contrary, water protection connects countries," said co-ordinator of the action, Milan Havel, MSc, from the Toxics and Waste Programme of the Arnika Association.Thanks to construction of waste water treatment plants, and stricter limits, water quality in rivers is gradually getting better, but this does not mean that the situation is satisfactory. Industrial waste waters, and runoff from fields, still remain to be a big problem. "In Moravia, certain rivers are still highly polluted, for example, Trkmanka, Litava, Daníž and Olšava. All the above-mentioned rivers are just in the Danube basin. From approximately four thousand kilometres of watercourses in the Danube basin, only 221 km of rivers shows a very good quality, and 1335 km of watercourses is highly polluted," stated Havel more precisely.
According to the newest Yearbook of Surface Water Quality in Morava Basin, issued by the company Povodí Moravy (Morava Basin) in 2006, the most questionable substances in water include phosphorus, zinc and mercury. The quality of watercourses is negatively influenced also by agriculture. In the Czech Republic, there is still in use a number of pesticides which should be restricted (they are on the list of 17 priority substances of the EU Water Framework Directive). The 15 most used pesticides in the Czech Republic include isoproturon, alachlor, trifluralin and chlorpyrifos. For example, the limit of the last mentioned pesticide has been exceeded on a number of monitoring places around the whole central and south Moravia (Raškov, Olomouc, Bezměrov, Otrokovice, Kunovice and others) in 2003. This pesticide acts as an endocrine disruptor for animals, as well as people.
The other questionable substances used in higher amounts include the pesticide 2,4-D, used for protection of cereals. This pesticide was used for production of the notorious Agent Orange, misused in Vietnam. This substance is a potential carcinogen, and it probably affects hormonal system.
(1)International Danube Day. The day which was celebrated for the first time on the tenth anniversary of the signing of the Convention for its protection. For further information on actions on the occasion of the International Danube Day, please see: http://www.danubeday.org
(2)For more information on substances regulated by the International Danube River Protection Convention, please see: http://bezjedu.arnika.org/dunaj/