The River Clean-Up – contributing locally to cleaner rivers

07 February 2019, 09:00 EET

River Clean-Up 2019 (Älvstädningen)

Fortum’s vision is a cleaner world

In Sweden, our rivers are at the heart of nature, so it is quite natural that cleaner rivers are crucial for a lasting, green environment. One step that Fortum has taken towards a cleaner world is by initiating the Älvstädningen (River Clean-Up) project. Since 2013, we have teamed up with the sports association's environmental organization Städa Sverige (Clean Sweden), encouraging youth to join the clean-up efforts along some of the rivers where we have our hydro plants. On specific dates, sports clubs go out and clean the river in their area, spending a day out in the Swedish nature, collecting rubbish, and coming together as a team.

The reasons for the project are many

An estimated 9,000 tonnes of rubbish are thrown into the Swedish outdoors each year, which negatively impacts wildlife and the environment. We believe that knowledge is key to reducing waste. The participants in River Clean-Up get the chance to physically make a positive impact on the environment, and research has shown that engaging in activities like this at a young age can have a lasting effect; children who pick up rubbish are less likely to throw it themselves. A green attitude is vital for a sustainable future. We at Fortum hope the River Clean-Up will help to instil lasting attitudes that will lead to more environmentally-conscious adults in the future.

We engage others, we collaborate, we teach

Every club that participates in River Clean-Up receives a grant. In this way, Fortum is also contributing to the local sports life. The project gives us the opportunity to tell participants about hydropower and its importance in society today, as well as the beauty of renewable energy sources. This is one way for us to get others to join the change towards a cleaner world. And it is something that is appreciated: the leaders and managers who voluntarily get their members involved in our information material have noticed the benefits of teaching the children while being environmentally engaged.

Expansion of the project in 2019

The project has led to many positive consqeuences, both for the outdoor environment as well as the many sports clubs who are given the possibility to do more with their grant. For this reason, the project will expand in 2019 - going from cleaning four rivers to five. The Swedish Indalsälven will be the latest addition to the project, on top of the other four: Ljusnan, Dalälven, Klarälven and Gullspångsälven.

The results are often surprising and inspiring

So far, around 10,600 children and adults have participated in the River Clean-Up and have together collected over 177 tonnes of rubbish. The waste includes everything from plastic, cigarette butts, bicycles, books, pieces of metal, bottles – the list goes on and on. The most remarkable finds throughout the years have been safes, machines, refrigerators – even a message sent in a bottle many years earlier. Although the different kinds of rubbish never cease to surprise, the success of the mission carries on: less rubbish every year. Since 2013, we have been working towards cleaner rivers. And we think this is one of many steps towards our vision of a cleaner world. Join the change with us.