Coca‑Cola aims to protect nature and environment: reduces the amount of waste and water consumption, helps local organizations.
Among the Coca‑Cola System’s goals of sustainable development is to replenish 100% of the water resources used in our drinks and to ensure that local organizations have access to clean water. The project to restore the ecosystem of Lake Beloye, which was completed at the end of 2019, is dedicated to these goals. We will tell you everything the Coca‑Cola Ambassador should know about this project.
What is the problem: at the end of 2017, the lake faced serious threat from pollution: water contaminated with petroleum products, motor oils and lubricants, heavy metals and salts was coming from a nearby highway. Because of this, a toxic and mutagenic surface layer, which blocked oxygen and caused the death of aquatic organisms, appeared.
Why it is important: Lake Beloye is the biggest lake in Grodno region, its area is 710 ha. It forms a wetland system and is characterized by a large biodiversity: more than 30 species listed on the red list of Belarus live on the territory.
WHAT HAS BEEN DONE
Installed a sand-water sewage system. As a part of the Coca‑Cola Foundation’s partner project, sand and oil traps for waste water were installed near the drains from the highway, which separate hazardous substances from rainwater and make the drains safe for lake dwellers.
Put a station for water de-ironing. A filter system was installed for Poreche sanatorium, which removes excess iron from the water. Water with a high iron content negatively affects people’s health and damages plumbing and household appliance. Due to the station, residents of nearby settlements and tourists of the sanatorium will be able to drink and use water that has undergone de-ironing process.
- 111,5 thousand USD Total project funding
- 75 thousand USD Support of The Coca‑Cola Foundation
WHAT ARE THE RESULTS
Analysis of the animal world showed an improvement in water quality. To assess water, graduate students of the University of Grodno used the Mayer method — they analyzed animal-bioindicators. The inhabitants of the bottom of the lake are inevitably affected by pollutants, so the presence or absence of some species can be evaluated for water quality. With a single analysis, the accuracy of the method is low, but if you regularly examine and compare the results, you can see changes in the state of the lake. In the spring 2018, after studies of invertebrates in the lake, the Mayer index was low and indicated significant pollution. However, after installing a system for filtering runoff from the highway at the end of 2019, the lake is assessed as clean.
Analysis of flora and phytoplankton showed improvement as well. Since beginning of 2000s, the shores of Lake Beloye have become overgrown. From 2002 to 2016, the area of overgrowth increased by 90 ha that is around 64 football fields! Human activity plays a role in this: toxic substances destroy aquatic animals, because of this, organic pollution increases, the amount of phytoplankton rises and the lake “blooms” and overgrows. But there is also good news: if we decrease the level of pollution, the ecosystem will recover quickly and successfully. Therefore, before and after installation of sand and oil recovery system, graduate students of the University of Grodno analyzed flora and phytoplankton in the lake. They assessed changes in the lake from plants that float on the surface or are completely submerged in it and analyzed phytoplankton. After installing the system, cryptophytes disappeared and the number of diatom phytoplankton increased. This indicates a decrease in the content of organic compounds and a potential decrease in the rate of overgrowth of the lake.
PROJECT PARTNERS AND VOLUNTEERS
The Coca‑Cola Foundation (USA) and the organization Global Water Challenge, USA (Collaborative program New World) — funds that aim to provide financial support for water conservation programs, as well as other socially and environmentally important initiatives.
International public association "Environmental initiative "BURENCO-plus" — this public organization was responsible for the implementation of the project at all stages, from applying for a grant of the Coca‑Cola Foundation to concluding contracts with contractors for the installation of equipment.
The national landscape reserve "Ozery" — a state environmental institution supported the project by providing necessary permits and professional consultation on water resources management.
Employees of Coca‑Cola HBC Belarus and students of International summer school for youth organized by the University of Grodno volunteered for the project. After installing sand and oil traps, the employees improved the lake’s shores: they leveled the area, installed metal fences, planted grass to strengthen the soil in the area and collected garbage around the lake. And biology students conducted monitoring of the water ecosystem: they took water samples, took account of water bodies and soil microorganisms, and made measurement of soil acidity.