Rafał Sonik is famous for his love of the Tatras and the mountains and he spends a lot of time there while preparing for the Dakar Rally and other World Cup events. Nobody should be surprised that he came to Krynica – the gem of Beskid Sądecki, during the Running Festival, the largest festival in Poland for lovers of competing along tourist routes.
This time, the Dakar Rally winner was invited more because of his role as the president of the Clean Poland Association rather than because of his sportsman career. It turns out that the problem of rubbish left behind at mountainous trails is both due to irresponsible tourists, but also due to the runners who try to face ultra-long distances. Many of them throw away the packages of their energy gels or bars, leaving the disgraceful traces of their presence behind.
The story of the “Clean Tatras” project was to serve as an inspiration for them to change their bad behaviour.
‘During the first two editions of this campaign, together with the volunteers, we collected almost 2.5 tons of rubbish. In the last one – 250 kg. What we found in the Tatras over these 6 years is truly horrific. Littering is an embarrassment. We have good laws that describe cleaning in households. The problem appears when it comes to the forest – and nobody cleans the forests. Let’s improve our awareness and we can really become a green island,’ he emphasized in his interview with Andrzej Klemba, who runs the forum called Sport Zdrowie Pieniądze (Sport Health Money Forum).
At the end, before the questions from the floor, Rafał Sonik appealed to the runners. ‘I appreciate training in the mountains the most. This is the best way to improve your endurance. And you get to enjoy beautiful views. I envy the runners their ability to face the gorgeous nature in the mountains. They are the lucky ones, but with luck comes responsibility. This is why we should leave the mountains as they were when we got there. For the future generations,’ he concluded.