It may seem pretentious to you, but the hygiene in our city is really high. The parks, streets, and lawns around Skopje are not what they were many years ago: full of all kinds of garbage, leftover food, empty bottles, discarded packaging… Let’s not lie, it is far from a metropolis as befits a European country, but still, thumbs up to the citizens, bystanders, intentional, seasonal workers, and municipal and city utility services. If the awareness of the need for a clean and healthy environment has really been raised at least a little – then we are on the right track.
And that was exactly our goal when we started the project: “High schoolers for a clean Skopje”, which we implemented together with the City of Skopje and with the help of our friends from “Zapochista Makedonija”. Our idea was to wake up high school students because they are the lifeblood of any society. We were in every high school, we showed the students how to recycle, and how to separate waste, we motivated them to influence their classmates and friends to behave more responsibly towards nature. Well, then we invited them to join us in the eco-actions that we ran in all ten municipalities of Skopje and to set an example in action. We also gave them the task of creating a poster on the topic: “Ecology: a clean and healthy environment.” You can see it on the city bus.
We were impressed that we sometimes did not find a place for cleaning in the municipalities. You know, you’re walking around a neighborhood looking for a trash spot that would be suitable for mass eco-action. Well, discarded cigarette boxes or beer cans next to the benches have become our daily routine, so somehow we don’t get upset about it. We do not even treat cigarette butts as waste. But we believe that in the future we will also eradicate this feeling of indifference towards “a little dirty”.
Experience shows that when they are in an environment that is already quite full of garbage remains – people feel less responsibility or conscience if they also contribute to the garbage. In a way, the presence of strewn litter lends a sense of normalcy to littering. But on the other hand, in a place where there is not a single waste, the chances of someone daring to be the first to disturb the cleanliness are much less. The cleaner the environment, the greater the chances of it staying that way, and maintaining it is our shared responsibility.
In the past months, we have made sure that young people want to make a change. Let’s all make the turn in society together.