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Hungary Calls On Ukraine, Romania To Stop Polluting Rivers

Two of Hungary's rivers have been inundated with huge quantities of plastic bottles, many of which have floated downstream from neighboring countries. (file photo)

Hungarian President Janos Ader has called on Ukraine and Romania to stop polluting a major river, which flows across Hungary, and one if its tributaries after recent floods brought in huge quantities of plastic bottles from its neighbors.

In letters to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, published on Ader's official website on July 7, Ader said Hungarian authorities could no longer cope with all of the plastic waste in the Tisza and Somes rivers.

"It is disappointing that pollution of the Tisza river with waste has not been reduced...and poses a lasting threat to the fragile ecosystem of the river," Ader said in the letter to Zelenskiy. He asked the Ukrainian president to help to resolve the problem urgently.

"Our machines are no longer able to handle the piles of garbage that come in unstoppable quantities," Ader said.

Ader said that, since mid-June, Hungarian authorities had removed 938 cubic meters of waste from the Tisza River and 846 cubic meters of waste from the Somes River.

The Tisza, Hungary's second-longest river, starts in Ukraine and borders Romania for a short distance before flowing across Hungary to join the Danube in Serbia. The Somes starts in Romania and crosses the border into Hungary where it flows into the Tisza.

Massive pollution on the two rivers has been a problem for years.

In early 2000, a major cyanide spill into the Tisza from a gold mine in northeastern Romania killed 2,000 tons of fish, and was followed by two other spills of mining sludge containing zinc, lead, and copper.

The spills caused what at the time was referred to as the most-serious environmental disaster to hit central Europe since the Chernobyl nuclear accident.

The Ukrainian and Romanian presidents' offices were not immediately available for comment. Ader's role as Hungarian president is largely ceremonial.

With reporting by Reuters
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