In the course of the (virtual) EU’R’AQUATIC meeting organised by our Slovenian partner students got the task to examine and compare natural, polluted and maintained river banks.

Doing so, the Austrian group produced a video for documentation of this task; we found out that landscapes along rivers can be quite varied within a very short distance. Finding trash proved to be a problem, as most areas in Ybbs and its vicinity seem to be cleaned on a regular basis by the municipality; still, on closer inspection we found out that much garbage is actually hidden below vegetation.

The place on the Danube seemed to be nice and clean, ideal for cycling and a nearby playground; on second thought we realized that the environmnet was anything else but natural – no trees, high flow velocity of the water and a lack of animals and plants on the artificial bank indicated, that this place was biologically poor. Fish cannot survive and reproduce in the river, the bank does not show any life, apart from pets and pedestrians – this river is a highway for ships, a place for energy production only.

The polluted place on the river Ybbs showed all the typical garbage of our civilisation; we found everything from tyres, cans and metal objects down to bottles and Corona masks. The noise level by cars was pretty high, animals of any kind were missing. The place hidden below the bridge seems to encourage illegal dumping, there is even a small road granting access.

Upstream we found a completely different place. The river bank was in a natural state, there was alluvial forest present and no trash to be found. Flat areas below trees saw fish, trees were left the way they were and were home to birds and – this living environment is also used for kayaking and swimming in summer.

The short video linked below illustrates our examination.