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'The 3am stop at a remote station miles from home is a moment you will remember for the rest of your life.'

I stress over and over again: We have to fine, fine and fine people

By 0 and 0 and 0
30 August 2012


No, its not my hands shaking... its the truck leaning to one side under the load of rubbish bags. Picture: Natalya Kobets

With 24 others, I went out to remove the appalling litter left by tourists. 

The Mana is a very popular destination indeed, favoured by rafters from all around Russia and abroad. It is a stunningly beautiful river in the Kransnoyarsk region of Siberia.

Mana river, Krasnoyarsk

Mana river, Krasnoyarsk

Mana river, Krasnoyarsk region, SIberia. Pictures: Natalya Kobets

Or is it that beautiful? If you look at these pictures with heaps of garbage you would not be so sure. 

Mana river, Krasnoyarsk, Siberia

Mana river, Krasnoyarsk, Siberia

Mana river, Krasnoyarsk, Siberia

Volunteers on their three-days trip to clean the banks of Mana river, Krasnoyarsk region, Siberia. Pictures: Natalya Kobets

I'm proud for the difference made on our recent clean-up trip. But what bothers me is a thought that the next tourism season will come, and other 'nature lovers' will pollute the river banks and woods all over again. 

I have said it before, and want to stress again:  If we want to move forward in solving the issue, we have got to apply some complex measures. 

First,  we need to fine people who can't be bothered to clear up their own mess. I would charge 10,000 (£200) for the first time when they fail to clean up, and 50,000 (£1,000) roubles for the next time. 

Second is control. Go on, legislators: the time has come to discuss it and show some leadership and action. Give a boat to a local police patrol, and make them use it at weekends to encourage people to care for this pristine environment. 

Next: a better system is needed to gather rubbish and drive it out. Talking about the Mana River, there are not enough organised camping sites with rubbish containers. It's not a big cost to get them - at least people won't litter the bushes and the river bank so much if they have somewhere to throw their waste. 

And, yes, as my experience shows on our recent trip, it is a good idea to use volunteer cleaners.  But this should come last.  

Mana river, Krasnoyarsk region, SIberia

Mana river, Krasnoyarsk region, SIberia

Mana river, Krasnoyarsk region, SIberia

Mana river, Krasnoyarsk region, SIberia

Not scared to get their hands dirty... Volunteers clean the banks of Mana river, Krasnoyarsk region, Siberia. Pictures: Natalya Kobets

We only spent a weekend there. During the first day we gathered 130 huge black bags of rubbish, each weighing about 30 kgs. They were so heavy because of the quantity of cans and glass.

By the end of last day it was four Kamaz trucks, filled with bags, making for more than 7 tons of rubbish. 

But really..... 

People must find better ways of sorting themselves out. It is a truly basic skill. You go there, have a wonderful time.  Now, do let others enjoy the same pristine nature.  Clean up. 

Natalya Kobets, 33, is a Novosibirsk-born journalist, currently residing in Krasnoyarsk. 

Natalya works for business magazine 'Sphere of Influence'.

She took part in a recent eco-rafting weekend on the Mana River, one of the most beautiful rivers of this part of Siberia, a tributary to mighty Yenisei River. The rafting trip, which gathered 25 volunteers, was organised by RusHydro (one of Russia's largest power generating companies) and its daughter company KrasnoyarskEnergoSbit (Krasnoyarsk Energy Distributor). 

Comments (7)

impressed with the volunteers. i feel sick by just looking at such amounts of rubbish, leaving aside smelling and touching it
Angela , France
31/08/2012 17:02
finally a bit of common sense
grumpy old man, zz
31/08/2012 09:28
i'm sorry but people are such swines sometimes. stating the obvious, but what else to say when you see the pictures like these
Berg, Norway
31/08/2012 01:21
well done for speaking out Natalya. No moaning, but a proper down-to-earth approach. you and your friends are truly inspiring
Damien , Australia
02/09/2012 00:33
Hello, friends! Thank you for your opinions. Really, it's so sad to see all this rubbish. But maybe some people after that can get a simple message: clean up, guys, clean up, damn it!
Natalya, author, Russia
03/09/2012 16:32
beautiful river, and a very right step to make in volunteering to clean it up. But also a right suggestion, as they can't be spending all their weekends with rubbish bags for every river in the region
Julie, UK
30/08/2012 22:39
I love the way Natalya is not trying to be polite, and calls spade a spade. You are absolutely right in suggesting to impose proper fines on those of us who leave nature spots in such state. Very well said.
Angus, UK
30/08/2012 21:28

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