Bees at Spolana Neratovice are doing fine and their numbers are increasing; there are five beehives now
Spolana Neratovice continues its activities related to the environmental protection and development. The traditional chemical manufacturer, which is part of the Unipetrol Group, started keeping bees on its site last year, and at the end of this June, the second-ever honey harvest took place. European Honey Bees are doing well at the site of original chocolate and saccharin production, and the bee colony has grown from the original three to five beehives.
Beekeepers from the local beekeeping organisation had the idea to keep bees at Spolana and their idea was supported by the plant’s management. A host of animal species fare well around the site and the bees are doing fine now as well. “Last year, we acquired three beehives, and the bees have been doing fine since the very beginning. During the first harvest, we gained 80 kilograms of honey,” said Lukáš Karlík, head of energy and water management at Spolana Neratovice, who takes care of the bees together with other enthusiasts from the ranks of employees.
As this idea was successful and the honey harvested at Spolana even received a gold quality medal at the Czech Honey 2018 competition thanks to a 100% assessment, the colony was expanded. “This year we used a high degree of swarming to expand to the current five hives. The bee colonies are developing quickly, but it’s at the expense of the harvest. The honey yield will therefore be weaker than last year’s, but we are interested mainly in the life of our bees and they are doing fine,” explained Lukáš Karlík after the second-ever honey harvest at Spolana.
In general, the honey yield is weaker this year. Due to a cold spring, beekeepers only harvested 30 kilograms of honey at the end of June. This figure, however, does not have to be final. Depending on the conditions, there may be a second harvest during the summer. However, the honey yield is not of prime interest. The satisfaction of bees is of key importance and they are doing fine at the Spolana site also due to a sufficient amount of greenery and the proximity of the River Elbe. “We were very happy that our floral honey from ‘along the Elbe’ succeeded in the prestigious competition last year. However, we don’t intend to start mass production. We use the honey as an unusual present that helps us bury myths from the past,” said Miroslav Falta, deputy board chairman at Spolana.
“There are a lot of myths regarding the quality of the environment inside and around our site which have their origin in the 1950s and 1960s when the environment wasn’t heeded much during industrial and agricultural production in the former Czechoslovakia. Today, however, the situation is completely different. Today’s Spolana complies with all emission limits without difficulties and the influence of its production on its surroundings is minimal,” said Miroslav Falta and added: “Every year, we invest tens of millions of korunas in site modernisation and environmental protection.”
Spolana is very active in supporting the surrounding environment. In collaboration with the Neratovice branch of the Czech Anglers Union, it has been releasing various fish species in the Elbe (for instance, carp, pike and zander). In cooperation with the ALKA Wildlife non-profit organisation, it takes care of the Peregrine Falcon which regularly nests at the Spolana site. Last year, bees were added to the list of supported species at this chemical plant.
The surroundings of the production plant, in particular the reclamation tank, are a sought-after sanctuary for many protected and threatened animal species. The cleanliness of the site is attested by the presence of the Eurasian otter, Eurasian teal, ommon kingfisher and river trout, in other words animals highly sensitive to the quality of the environment.
SPOLANA a.s. is one of the largest chemical manufacturing companies in the Czech Republic and the only manufacturer of PVC and caprolactam also producing ammonium sulphate, and sulphuric acid. It currently employs over 700 people. Spolana has been owned by Unipetrol since 2016.
The Unipetrol Group is the largest refining and petrochemical company in the Czech Republic. It focuses on crude oil processing and production, distribution and sale of fuels and petrochemical products – especially plastics and fertilisers. In all these areas, it is one of the major players in the Czech and Central European markets. The Unipetrol group includes refineries and production plants in Litvínov and Kralupy nad Vltavou, Paramo with the Mogul brand in Pardubice and Kolín, the Spolana company in Neratovice, and two research centres in Litvínov and Brno. Unipetrol also includes Benzina petrol station network, which is the largest chain in the Czech Republic with 413 stations. Unipetrol is one of the largest companies in the Czech Republic in terms of turnover. Last year, it earned more than CZK 130 billion and employs more than 4,800 people. In 2005, Unipetrol became part of the PKN Orlen Group, the largest oil processor in Central Europe.
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