Environment

Over 2,000 people roll up their sleeves in largest clean-up drive in Serbia

Roll Up Your Sleeves campaign eko straza begec

Košutnjak, Belgrade (photo: Eko Straža/Facebook)

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April 26, 2021

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Published:

April 26, 2021

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The Roll Up Your Sleeves campaign gathered yesterday around 2,000 citizens, including hundreds of children, in clean-up activities at 52 locations across Serbia. The campaign was launched by an informal group of citizens called Eko Straža (Eko Guard).

Two months ago, when the campaign was launched, garbage was cleaned from two locations (the Peštan river near Rudovci and the Rosomačka river on Mt. Stara Planina), but on the second occasion, clean-up was carried out on 14 locations, and on the third, on as many as 52. The numbers demonstrate the great interest among Serbian citizens.

The campaign aims not only to clean the garbage from a certain location, but also to include a large number of people in order to make authorities find a lasting solution for garbage, and organize a waste management system. So far, the results have been very visible when it comes to attracting more and more people to take part in the cleaning activities. However, the authorities are yet to respond.

Roll Up Your Sleeves is held every fourth Sunday. Individuals or organizations can nominate a location for clean-up and host the activities.

Roll Up Your Sleeves campaign eko straza tara

 

Bojan Simišić, from Eko Straža, said that between 6,000 and 7,000 bags were filled with garbage in the latest clean-up effort at 52 locations.

“A lot of carpets, old TVs, pots, slippers, blankets were found. At certain locations there were up to 90 people. Although it is not as massive as a clean-up effort in Estonia in 2008, I think we are one step closer to that,” he said.

Simišić said the energy around the campaign is very positive, and that the vast majority of citizens want more such activities.

Roll Up Your Sleeves 4 is most likely to happen in four weeks, and we expect an even bigger challenge, he said, and thanked all citizens who participated and demonstrated the better side of Serbia.

The youngest are setting an example – they are in the front rows

The youngest team seems to have been from Grabovci, a village near Šabac. Football Club  Graničar wrote on its Facebook profile that the youngest residents of Grabovci gathered yesterday and supported the Roll Up Your Sleeves campaign. They cleaned our village and made it look even better for the upcoming holidays, the post said.

Roll Up Your Sleeves campaign eko straza grabovci sabac

Children were in the front lines almost everywhere, for example in New Belgrade.

Roll Up Your Sleeves campaign eko straza belgrade block 44

The residents of Niš, led by Eko Gerila Niš, cleaned the illegal landfill near the site of the emergency medical facility. There was enough waste to fill one truck of the local utility company.

Roll Up Your Sleeves campaign eko straza nis
Photo: Eko Gerila Niš/Facebook

In Novi Sad, cleaning was organized at two locations: Šodroš (pictured) and Oficirac (pictured). A petition for the preservation of the Šodroš, Kamenička Ada and Ribarac sites, located on both sides of the Danube river was also signed during the clean-up. The sites are habitats of more than 400 protected plant and animal species.

Roll Up Your Sleeves campaign eko straza novi sad sodros
Photo: Vera Rajtenbah/Facebook

Roll Up Your Sleeves campaign eko straza novi sad oficirac

People from Kragujevac cleaned the Bubanj lake. One boat was also used in the action.

Roll Up Your Sleeves campaign eko straza kragujevac bubanj

The teams were small in some locations, but that did not stop them from finishing the job. Such a case was in Lazarevac, Niška Banja, Begeč (pictured). Congratulations!

Danijela Vujošević also reported on Twitter about the cleaning action in Sokobanja, where the Moravica river was cleaned in the village of Vrelo, but also a large amount of garbage from nearby locations. Every curve is one garbage dump, she wrote.

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