One hundred volunteers from Brestovac, Metovnica and Bor responded to the call to clean up the banks of the river Brestovačka in June. The event “Cleaner Rivers, Healthier Villages” was organised by Rakita.
The event was carried out with the participation, support and cooperation of the Environmental Protection Office of Bor Municipality, local governments of neighbouring villages, the private company S-inženjering, civil society organisations and other associations.
To give their personal contribution to the project aimed at improving the state of the environment and drawing the attention of the responsible organisations and the wider public to the need and the right to live in a healthy environment, 25 employees of Rakita joined the event.
The removal of solid communal waste from an area covering two and a half kilometres started in Brestovac. It continued the following day with the clean-up of one and a half kilometres in Metovnica.
Over the course of two days, several tons of waste were collected and transported to the local landfill, and the river got its glow back. The volunteers said they were hoping that the clean-up was going to raise public awareness of environmental protection and that similar activities would not be necessary in future.
Dragan Ranđelović, President of the Association of Young Researchers, the organisation that has been taking part in similar activities since 2014, said that these activities were the best example of a changing consciousness and behaviour about the environment and contributing to its preservation.
“The Association of Young Researchers has been involved in the clean-up of the rivers Zlotska and Brestovačka through the international environmental youth camp, and in cooperation with villagers and partner organisations. We are happy to have a new, successful model of cooperation with several actors. This time, in addition to environmental organisations, local government and villagers living on the banks of the river Brestovačka, a private company got involved, putting its resources at our disposal,” said Ranđelović.
Rakita has organised the clean-up of the river banks for the second year in a row, and the results are evident. Unlike 2017, this year there was no need for a clean-up in Slatina. Instead, the plan is to give the village park a makeover.
The representatives of local government offices of Metovnica and Brestovac, Dejan Marković and Dragan Antanasković, respectively, were pleased about the mass response of volunteers and the effort they had put in to clean up the river banks.
“Rakita has always recognised the needs of the local population and has always been willing to help us with organisation and finances. Environmental protection is important but often ignored. Thank you to all volunteers for responding to our call,” said Dejan Marković.
Dragan Antanasković, who is a member of the Brestovac Council, agrees.
“Continuity is important. There is much less waste this year because we have raised awareness. We have also installed garbage bins along the rivers. We are pleased with the response of the volunteers, the participation of the non-governmental sector and with Rakita’s organisation,” said Antanasković.
According to Ksenija Nečemer, Coordinator in the Communications Department, the focus this year was on responsibility and raising awareness.
“The event was successful – congratulations to all involved. We can say that we have raised awareness and the proof of it is that there was no need for a clean-up in Slatina because the river banks were clean. Furthermore, there has been much less waste in Brestovac and Metovnica this year than last,” said Ksenija Nečemer, who coordinated the event on behalf of Rakita.
Rakita’s clean-up event has received support and cooperation from the Councils of Brestovac and Metovnica and the following associations and clubs: the Association of Young Researchers Bor, Group 55, Village, Eco Legacy, Association Sports for All, Centre for Sports and Recreation, Wave, football club OFK Brestovac 1946, folk ensemble Đido from Brestovac and Parents’ Association Bebironče.
S-inženjering lent the machines without which the clean-up would not have been possible, while Rakita provided protective equipment for the volunteers, as well as tools, a meal and transport to the locations.
Recycling for a cleaner environment
PET bottles collected during the project “Cleaner rivers, healthier villages” will be sold to a recycling company. The proceeds will go to Brestovac and Metovnica, and invested in environmental capacity building.