Steps forward in recycling
By Ljiljana Samardzic
Sombor, July 17, (Serbia Today)- West Backa County has started new waste management project, which is initiated by partners from Serbia and Hungary. Realization of this project will take 12 months and it started in April 2009.
Raising public awareness about waste management in West Backa County and Danube region aims at improving info systems and raising public ecology awareness. This project refers to changing human habits of this area when it comes to process of sorting out waste. Due to that fact, the first phase is oriented on inquiry, which should show current state of public opinion about recycling process.
Andrija Penzes, the general manager of Public Communal Company “Cistoca” in Sombor, who is one of the project leaders, said that target groups are mainly children and youngsters since they are immensely affecting adults, especially parents.
Penzes said for Serbia Today, “We consider that students at Sombor’s University are one of the most important links of the chain. Their future role demands additional ecological education and knowledge how to pass on their knowledge about recycling”.
In previous years, citizens had little or no knowledge at all about recycling and its importance. Local authorities, but Serbian Government as well, paid little attention to this important question. In comparison to the last period, ecological sphere is vastly improved. “After years of inactivity, this small step represents a big success if we consider the fact that this sphere was undeveloped. Changes cannot be taken revolutionary, but gradually - through education, television programs, trucks with advertisings, bins for different materials and “green spots”, said Penzes.
One of project indicators will be “The week of environmental protection” where “values before and after education will be compared”. The event will be organized on territory of both partners - Sombor County (Apatin, Odzaci, Sombor, and Kula), Bac County from Serbia and Baja County from Hungary.
Despite this ambitious project, citizens still need a lot more to get used to recycling. “Privatization in Serbia wasn’t enforced in the right way, so we would have financial problems even without this economic crisis. Government should provide adequate technical conditions, locations for waste by standards of European Union and much more. All those things cost a lot of money.”
Other, more developed parts of the world are investing much more in recycling. For instance in Switzerland, recycling is not just an environmental, but also a financial issue - recycling itself is free, but throwing away garbage costs. For each garbage bag you have to buy a sticker. If not, the garbage is left in front of your house. Germans have at least five types of recycling bins - each one in different color for every material. Obviously, there are many ways of implementing new strategies for waste management, but all of them require serious material investments for countries like Serbia. Taking any steps represents successes and progress. Actualization of this project gives hope that citizens of Serbia will at least try to cope with environmental issues.