An event known as the Dunaj Golf Challenge was due to have taken place in Bratislava this weekend. It would have involved people attempting to strike golf balls across the Danube River. Although the organiser, the Slovak Golf Association, declared that ecological, biodegradable balls would be used, the Slovenský Vodohospodársky Podnik (SVP, or Slovak Water Management Company), has decided to halt the event.
“We consider the proposed event to be inappropriate, despite the fact that the golf balls being used are decomposable,” said Marián Bocák, spokesperson of SVP, as quoted by the TASR newswire. He added that even the temporary presence of balls in the river would pose a threat to aquatic animals. “Such an event may have a disruptive impact on other aspects of the environment, the operation of the waterway and to members of the public moving on the opposite side of the Danube.”
The Za živé rieky (For Living Rivers) environmental initiative considers the plan to hold the event to be disrespectful to the river and local wildlife, given that hundreds of balls would likely end up in the river. Participants had been scheduled to spend eight hours a day, over three days, attempting to smash balls from one side of the river to the other.
“At a time when all reasonable people are trying to draw attention to the need for the greater protection of rivers, this is probably the same level of insensitivity as when a horse-polo match was held on the frozen Štrbské Pleso mountain lake,” the environmentalists said, adding that they did not regard the use of biodegradable balls as a solution.
At the same time, the initiative pointed out that at exactly the same time as the now-scrapped event, originally scheduled for May 6-8, German professor Andreas Fath is due to reach in Bratislava as part of a 2,700-km-long swim along the Danube. By means of his two-month endeavour, Fath intends to draw attention to the pollution of the Danube.