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Image: thomasfuer, photocase.demore

Waste along Swiss rivers and lakes

A recently conducted national study to assess waste along Swiss rivers and lakes found that the origin of waste is quite diversified: in some cases, waste is discarded directly at the given location; in other cases, the waste washes up on river banks or lake shores or is swept up by the wind or other weather conditions. More often than not, the waste is made of plastic. This study will serve as an important frame of reference for action plans to maintain and further enhance the environmental cleanliness of Swiss river and lake regions in the future.

duck animal lake waters
Image: M. Bolliger

Swiss rivers and lakes are among the most beautiful in Europe and Switzerland is among the cleanest countries in the world. And yet anyone who looks down from the panorama to the ground on the shore of a lake will find an average of around 200 waste items, including 20 cigarette butts, over the space of a hundred metres. This is the conclusion drawn in a recent study of waste along Swiss rivers and lakes. . And even if many European beaches contain twice as much waste, every carelessly discarded plastic bag, every piece of Styrofoam carried by the wind and every piece of industrial foil that is not properly disposed of is already one too many.

These waste items harm plants and wildlife and annoy people who go there for recreation. Over time, the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) intends to find the best means of reducing such waste. With this aim in mind, it commissioned a comprehensive study of the situation at river and lake sites. The results of this study are now available in the form of an online report and corresponding data sets, which can be foundhere.

Read more in the FOEN news release.


  • Lakes