After recent jaunts to Jaśkowa Valley Park (Park Jaśkowej Doliny), which I must admit has become rather disorderly in recent years as I shall explain below, I’ve become preoccupied with the question ‘Is Gdańsk a clean city?’
Let’s explore the issue.
Gdańsk is a clean city – But untidiness is creeping in
Since COVID struck, I have noticed that there are areas of Gdańsk that are not as well-maintained as they used to be. This includes modern housing estates such as Słoneczna Morena.
I won’t use the word ‘dirty’ here in the sense that there’s litter everywhere. It’s very rare to see litter on the Słoneczna Morena estate. However, I don’t see the trees and flowers on this estate being cared for like they used to be.
It’s a similar story on other estates in Gdańsk. Hardly a visible increase in litter. Just a lot of untidiness and overgrown weeds.
The case of Jaśkowa Valley Park
Looking at the sheer disorder around Gdańsk, one gets the feeling that the lights are on but nobody’s home with the Department of Environmental Protection.
Jaśkowa Valley Park has turned into a disgrace. First of all, developers moved in. Secondly, logging companies have had a field day in recent years with the suspicious falling (or felling) of huge trees. Thirdly, nobody’s taken to removing all the organic debris from the park’s walking trails for years.
Jaśkowa Valley Park is a true urban oasis. It’d be sad to see it deteriorate further still.
Campaigns which make local citizens sit up and take notice
Despite the incompetence of the powers that be when it comes to maintaining green spaces, it’s been pleasing to see the City Council’s persistence with promoting certain campaigns in recent years.
Take the educational campaign Gdańsk bez plastiku (Gdańsk without plastic), for example. While the EU introduced a ban on single-use plastics, a directive which came into force on 3 July, 2021, local authorities are faced with the task of educating the public and making sure the dangers of plastic pollution hit home.
The “Gdańsk without plastic” campaign has been running in the city since February 2019. Of course, the aim of the initiative is to reduce the consumption of plastic in circulation. However, campaigns such as this one should have a more far-reaching impact in terms of promoting pro-ecological attitudes and caring for the environment.
I believe that the folk of Gdańsk are savvy enough and educated enough to stop and think about the dangers of plastic pollution.
“The Clean City of Gdańsk”
Another initiative which confirms my faith in the good citizens of Gdanśk to look after the environment is Czyste Miasto Gdańsk, literally “The Clean City of Gdańsk”.
Implemented in 2019 by the Generation Foundation (Fundacja “Generacja”), Czyste Miasto Gdańsk is a school educational program which focuses on efficient waste management and the prevention of waste.
Until now, more than 12,000 children from nursery schools and those up to the second year of primary school have been trained under the program.
A pilot program for years four and six in cooperation with the educational science centre Hevelianum was launched in March 2022. Plans are afoot to extend the training to secondary school children in the near future.
By learning the rules of segregation, and being encouraged not to use disposable items, it is hoped that children will adopt fresh attitudes based on conscious shopping and avoiding waste.
Is Gdańsk a clean city?
On 9 June, 2022, Stogi Beach was cleaned as part of the ‘Mój Bałtyk‘ project organised by the newspaper Dziennik Bałtycki. Wonderful. However, environmental protection encompasses more than just beaches, the sea and waste segregation.
What about the many green spaces that have been neglected in recent years?
Why don’t the competent authorities deal with the overgrown vegetation and make sure that the city’s forests are cleaned up once in a while?
As for my gripe about developers moving in on Jaśkowa Valley forest-park, Gdańsk is sadly not among the greenest cities in Poland. I wouldn’t like the city to become less green.
All in all, Gdańsk is a very clean city. There’s just more disorder here than there used to be.