One of the most significant environmental investments in Hungary over the coming years is being prepared. The water quality will be improved along a 57 km long section of river between the Kvassay and the Tass sluices, the Budapest Development Centre has announced. As a result of the project, the waterfront will be accessible, and bathing will be possible.
The Ráckeve-Danube is a unique natural asset. Few people know that it is home to the second-largest floating bog in Europe, covering an area equivalent to nearly eight Margaret Islands. The floating bog is a special formation: it is similar to a marsh of reeds, but not connected to the riverbed, it is floating on water. In addition to being home to numerous animals and plants, it also acts as a water purification facility. It extracts organic matter from the water and stores it, thus purifying the water of the Danube. A unique natural treasure.
However, due to the increased algae growth and the overgrown vegetation, the Ráckeve-Danube has become swamped in many places, the high nutrient load caused too much mud and the water is now too shallow. As a result, there is very little oxygen, without which there is no life. There are many sections where the water surface is completely invisible because of the vegetation.
Another problem is that sudden rainfall has become more frequent, which has overloaded the sewer network. This is a huge problem because some untreated wastewater from the South Pest Wastewater Treatment Plant flowed directly into the river. To improve water quality, a 7,000-cubic-metre storm overflow reservoir was built a few years ago to capture pollution during heavy rains.
Contaminated sludge will be removed
The numbers are eloquent. The Ráckeve-Danube area directly affects the daily lives of more than 380,000 inhabitants living in 4 districts of Budapest and about 21 nearby settlements. During the preparation and implementation of the project, the Budapest Development Centre is cooperating with the mayors of the surrounding districts and settlements, as well as with the actors of the water management profession, civil and environmental organizations, authorities, universities and sports associations.
Within the framework of an EU programme, the government's Budapest Development Centre has started the project preparation and planning. It will be completed by 2024 and all water and environmental permits required for implementation will be obtained. As a result of the works, the accumulated sludge will be removed from the riverbed and the river will be cleaned. In addition, where necessary, the shoreline will be redesigned to make the waterfront as accessible as possible.
Renewal of the Ráckeve-Danube is important for the preservation of water quality, water habitats and the natural environment. The project is a precondition for the residents of Budapest and those living in the area to be able to make use of the river and the waterfront and to be able to bathe in the Danube again, even in the Budapest section. As a result of the project, the way of life that once characterized the Little Danube can finally return; with bathers, anglers, athletes, holidaymakers and picnickers.
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