Kosovo Revitalizes with Nature in Celebration of the World Environment Day

Jun 5, 2017

 

The importance of preserving the environment tends to not be as of dire importance that it should be to us today. Specifically focusing on Kosovo, where the natural environment is sometimes swept aside and disregarded, yet is an essential entity to the wellbeing of its inhabitants. Kosovo has a rich natural environment that lacks appreciation that it deserves. The mountainous terrain is perfect for hiking, biking, running, yoga, or just simply hanging around and breathing in the fresh air.

5 June marks the World Environment Day with this year’s theme “connecting people to nature”, rather than bringing awareness of the environmental issues we are facing in 2017, it aims at inspiring people to get involved individually by going outside, hiking or simply by cleaning up waist, to realize the paramount significance of preserving nature. In 2017, with It is evident evermore that increased reliance on technology, was followed by an increased disconnection from the natural world. In addition, the disconnection of the origin of essential commodities such as food and water has brought on health problems that might increase in the years to come. A rich and clean environment goes beyond fighting climate change and global warming, but encouraging innovation, economic growth, safe and clean homes and neighbourhoods, good health, intellectual growth, and overall happiness. With this year’s theme we can all do our part and get involved, in order to mutually benefit ourselves and the planet.

In Kosovo, although large parts of nature remain pristine, those that are face numerous problems. Of the most significant are thermal power plants A and B in the municipality of Obiliq/ć, in the centre of Kosovo. These lignite power plants are heavy polluters causing local population living in the affected areas serious health problems. The second most problematic environmental issue is unregulated landfills and dumping sites. Those sites and the inability to effectively eliminate waste have become source of dangerous toxins, viruses, and bacteria. In addition, non-degradable waste, such as plastic wrappers and bottles are present in towns and villages alike.

In an effort to promote and encourage a cleaner environment by minimizing waste management, this year, UNDP launched the “Keep it Tidy” project, a human centered approach to waste management in Gjakovë/Djakovica municipality. A persistent problem of unregulated waste that, despite previous attempts to tackle the issue, kept reoccurring led to the establishment of the “Keep it Tidy” project, which sought to find a solution by collectively working with the municipality, stakeholders, and citizens of Gjakovë/Djakovica. Meetings with stakeholders brought to attention that the major problem originated from the youth and their lack of knowledge and awareness of illegal dumping, along with lack of concern and care for the environment. UNDP set out to work with “Rinia Aktive e Gjakovës” to initiate activities to educate the youth in schools about the environment and why it can’t be disregarded, connect to nature by planting trees, and create art that promotes a clean environment. The project was completed with a cleanup event on 24 May, joining the “Let’s do it Kosova” day, where students from thirty-nine schools cleaned up their city, a fantastic end in the spirit of this year’s theme, “connecting to nature”.

Along with the project “Keep it Tidy”, Kosovars participate on weekend hiking trips and various other outdoor activities in the Sharri/Šar or Rugova mountains and other naturally preserved areas of Kosovo. No matter if it’s cleaning the waste, climbing, or biking in nature, all is just a reminder to connect with the nature.