When it comes to any type of pollution in the world, I’m a European who can proudly say that my continent along with my country, Romania, are not the most polluted places on planet Earth.
In Romania, air and water pollution caused by industry are significant environmental issues, but at least we can sarcastically look at the situation from a positive point of view by being ranked only the 15th polluted country in Europe.
Approximately all cities in this southeastern European country are situated in the same place on the scale of air and water pollution. Romania uses a lot of manufacturing facilities, chemical plants, and other industrial machines that rely on burning fossil fuels, resulting in high levels of greenhouse gas and acid rain-producing sulfur dioxide.
The Danube River ends in Romania at the Black Sea and due to a lack of material value, the economy is not as high as in many countries in Europe which is a cause of the non-development of the Romanian industry. This creates runoff that ends up in the renowned Danube River, putting the bases of water pollution and making the water unsafe for drinking and damaging the ecosystem in that part of the country.
The impacts that pollution has had on Romanian society over the years were critical due to climate change caused by these types of pollution. In years like 2008 or 2010, a bunch of Romanian cities has locked eyes with a catastrophic natural phenomenon: floods. Floods over floods have passed Romania’s cities and villages leaving behind incredibly cruel damages and also leaving a vast number of people homeless, discovering they no longer have a roof above their head nor the four walls that kept the roof up.
I, myself, remember very well the flood that stumbled upon the city and the village I live in, in 2008. No one was expecting the river called the Siret to flood over the city and take up everything in sight. Animals, photos, people’s furniture, people’s houses, everything was floating on the water that was moving so fast that no one knew how to cope with it. Due to the pollution of that time, which contributed to climate change, people had to suffer as a society and manage to fix the situation as soon as possible. That year, the whole community in my village mobilized everyone to give everything they didn’t need and take everything that they were in need of so that we could have food to nurture ourselves and clothes to wear while a major part of ours have already been carried away by the water.
A positive aspect of these pollution stories, if we’re talking socially and emotionally, is that these unbelievable facts have brought us closer as a population, as a community, and as families. At that time, in 2008 when the first flood came over my village, I was 3 years old and I remember having to leave our home for a few days until the water lowered so we could be safe and we went to one of my dad’s cousin’s apartment. There, I asked my dad one morning, when we were all sitting together if I could dress up in my pink dress. I had no clue that the majority of our clothes were taken by the flood because I was little and naive. So, at that moment, my dad started crying because he knew the situation the country was going through and that we were part of it and me telling that to him, made him emotional and powerless.
So, in conclusion, at the moment my country does confront some pollution problems, but they are not as uncommon as in other countries where the air is so polluted that they have to wear masks on the street because the air is unbreathable. Because of its lack of financial disposition, Romania won’t be able to change its industrial perspective in favor of the climate very soon, but it would be a good thing for the society in every city to continue doing other small things that we’re working on right now, like recycling household waste and residues and more.