“First of all, we want to raise collective awareness. Cleaning up trash along mountain trails lies at the heart of the project, however, a push to change our bad habits is much more important. I really hope to see thousands of volunteers again this June, and to make this project an example for the entire country! – says Rafał Sonik; the mastermind, organizer, and first ambassador of the project “Czyste Tatry 2018” (Clean Tatra Mountains). The conclusive moments of the 7th edition of the Clean Tatras project will happen on June 29 and 30 in Zakopane.
“The idea behind the “Clean Tatra Mountains” initiative stemmed from my personal experiences. Every time I took my foreign friends to hike our mountains, we would always run across empty bottles or cigarette butts scattered all around. This is not an issue in Switzerland or Germany though. Consequently, when an idea to clean the Tatra Mountains was born, I instantly felt that this was something important to organize!” recalls Rafał Sonik, who is also a Dakar Rally winner, a six-time FIM World Cup winner, and a well-known entrepreneur.
“After organizing six successful editions, the association “Clean Poland” reaches even higher and farther. Our main goal is to protect the precious environment of our mountains. When we walk into a dining room that is sparkling clean, we will surely try to keep it that way. Clean Tatras in not about litter collection but about educating people. The Polish Act on Waste Management is excellent, plus we also have modern waste incineration plants, and plenty of companies recycle waste in their manufacturing process. What we still miss is collective awareness.”
The Clean Tatras project launched in 2012, and 2018 marks its 7th anniversary. So far, over 12,000 volunteers have taken part, collecting almost 4,500 kg of litter.
“I’ve recently spoken to the mere of Zakopane about the project and he said that it was one of the most important annual events in the city, or even in the whole region of Podhale. I am happy to have the support and cooperation of local authorities on this project. What we really care about is to set an example for the rest of Poland, and initiate similar events elsewhere, eventually changing the mentality of the citizens. I would like this idea to grow and spread across the country. We already take an active part in a similar action called “Clean Beskidy”, and in a summer project „Clean Beaches”, explained Rafał Sonik.
During the 2018 edition of Clean Tatras, both cleaning the mountains and the educational factor is going to be stressed. „We hope that this year’s project will be successful, which means not only collecting the litter left behind on the trails, but also spreading the information and spirit of the project all the way to the Baltic Sea. We hope to see even more volunteers coming to help out so we try to promote this event via various channels, such as YouTube, to be able to reach younger generations as well. The push to keep the mountains clean is important, but it is sowing the seed of ecological awareness that is so much needed in our country”, added President of the “Clean Poland” Association, which leads the initiative in the Tatras.
„I hope to see you all in June and work on leaving clean Tatras behind!”, concluded Rafał Sonik
The final days of the Clean Tatra Mountains project are planned for June 29-30. The registration for the volunteers has been traditionally open since April 22, the International Earth Day.