OTP Bank Romania actively supports Asociația Ape Fără Plastic (the Plastic Free Water Association) in its mission to prevent floating plastic, metal, or glass waste from reaching the Danube from Jiu. As part of this partnership, OTP Bank volunteers participated on Friday, October 7, in a greening action for the Jiu River, which is one of the main sources of drinking water supply for the municipality of Craiova.
Approximately 400 kilograms of waste, about 26 bags, were removed from Jiu in the Ișalniță Dam area. The action was organized by Asociația Ape Fără Plastic, employing specific intervention equipment. It was attended by 22 employees, 4 of whom come from the OTP Bank Craiova Branch, and the other 18 from the head office, thus covering a distance of 240 km for this action. By using the boats made available by the association, the volunteers “fished” for plastic objects, such as PET bottles, containers for cosmetics, or toys.
Mara Cristea, Deputy General Manager, mobilized and worked side by side with the volunteers:
“Each piece of waste requires teamwork: the boat pilot, one person who extracts the PET bottle with the pliers, one person that makes the access through the rough and tangled bushes on the riverbanks, and one person who throws it into the bag according to the category it belongs to, to be recycled later. So, collecting a single PET bottle requires willpower, effort, and sometimes even scratches from the scrubby vegetation at the riverbank. But this is only the corrective action. More important for greening, however, is the preventive attitude, and that means disposing of waste in specially designated spaces, not in nature. I think that, with this action, each of us will look at the plastic we use differently, more responsibly. This is just one actions of a series that we plan to implement to protect the environment”, said Mara Cristea, Deputy General Manager, Finance and Planning Division, OTP Bank Romania.
“I have to admit that I admired the determination of the OTP Bank volunteers to collect the plastic by hand, from very hard-to-reach areas. We are grateful for every volunteer who participates in our actions, and we would be happy if, over time, their number increases. This work, unfortunately, never ends. Every year, we have about 20 such actions, as a result of which we collect tons of waste”, said Dan Mirea, president of Asociația Ape fără Plastic.
A new action to clean the banks and riverbeds of the Jiu River, in which OTP Bank employees will join, will take place in November with the aim of preventing the subsequent discharge of waste into the Danube.
Over the past year, OTP Bank has initiated and supported internal and external projects that emphasize ecological education and has also chosen to act both by cleaning up plastic and by environmental revitalization actions, offering customers thousands of seed papers to plant.