As human beings, we all have the responsibility to preserve the actual value of nature both for ourselves and for the future generations. The environment supplies goods that support human life — all of which contribute to human health, well-being, and livelihood. That's why the Embassy of Finland is supporting the development of waste management in Kosovo.
In Kosovo, despite the drafted legislations and strategies, which are aligned with the EU legislation, there is a great need in investing and implementing the environment and waste policies. According to the “Strategy of the Republic of Kosovo on Waste Management 2012-2021”, “the pollution of the environment caused by improper waste management is one of the greatest challenges when it comes to the environmental protection in Kosovo”.
Considering that a sound waste management system is one of the main challenges, the Embassy of Finland in Pristina extended the cooperation with non-governmental organization Green Art Center (GAC) for one more year. The overall objective of the EcoFriend project is to develop a network of institutions dedicated to the waste management and provide a sustainable mechanism for the waste separation and recycling process in Kosovo. Already last year, this mechanism was implemented successfully in 10 primary schools of Pristina municipality. This year, project EcoFriend has targeted public and private institutions as well as schools in Pristina and Gjilan.
To become member of the EcoFriend network, institutions should provide space for the waste separation infrastructure and also instruct its employees for practicing the waste separation as guided by the organization. The incomes generating from this process will be used by the school’s green clubs for implementing activities and workshops related to environment protection.
Through this process, the project will have an impact in reducing the waste that ends up in landfills. The illegal landfills cause problems throughout the country. Last year, Pristina municipality took a decision to clean one of the largest landfills and turn it into a green park and a playground for children. To mark the International Earth Day, on 22nd of April, Pristina Mayor Shpend Ahmeti and GAC invited our Head of Mission Anne Meskanen to open the season of plant seedlings.
Green Art Center continued with activities during the whole day, raising the awareness of citizens on environmental issues. More than 350 students, part of school’s green clubs organized activities and workshops at Mother Theresa square. EcoFriend project received a great attention by media which lead to receiving more requests from institutions to become part of EcoFriend network. Instead of 30 institutions as foreseen by the project the interest was higher and currently 42 institutions and companies are on board.
This is only the beginning and Kosovo has a long way ahead in improving waste infrastructure, however, the Embassy is thrilled for being part of a process for a cleaner Kosovo.