Sarajevo family properly separates waste: 15 minutes for us, and a lot for the Planet

Published: Jul 28, 2023 Reading time: 4 minutes
Sarajevo family properly separates waste: 15 minutes for us, and a lot for the Planet
© Photo: Arijana M.A.

The Mangafić-Aćimović family has been properly separating waste for years. Considering the fact that this waste is reusable, it is later recycled. This positive change in the family was initiated by Arijana, who was then followed by her husband, daughters, and a relative who lives with them.

"When I started separating, everyone started following me. It has now become a habit for us, so much so that we are embarrassed when we go somewhere where there are no waste containers," Arijana Mangafić-Aćimović explains.

At the beginning, they took the waste all the way to the landfill, because there were no containers installed at the time, which indicated the type of waste they were intended for according to the colors blue, yellow and green.

However, today the situation has changed significantly thanks to the "Efficient Waste Management System Project” in Sarajevo Canton where green islands (sets of containers) have been installed in more than 275 locations, serving nearly 500,000 citizens. This project is implemented by People in Need with partners KJKP Rad and Dekonta, and is supported by funds from the Government of the Czech Republic with a total value of 2.6 million BAM.

"I realized it's just one more thing my family and I can do to reduce waste, at least as far as we're concerned," says this responsible citizen.

We separate the waste and sort it properly

She explained how she first had three bins outside, which were used to sort plastic, paper and glass: "However, it turned out to be impractical, because when the weather was bad we didn't feel like going outside. In the meantime, we renovated part of the kitchen, and I adjusted the drawer for three bags sorted by color. We scoop up the waste, put it in the right bag, and when it's full, we take it to the containers - 15 minutes for us, and a lot for the Planet".

But she says that it took time for them too. At first it was hard for them, but it soon became a part of this family's habit because they realized that they were doing something much more than just separating the garbage, and that was raising the awareness of the entire community and building a better future for children.

"I have daughters and a relative who lives with us and who acquire these habits. I was the first to start it, but now there are five of us in the house who have this awareness. A few other people saw my Facebook posts, so they thought about it. I think it's a kind of growth, because I wasn't the same 10 years ago either. Nothing has to happen overnight," points out Arijana.

We leave everything to our children

At first, she says, she was seen as a “freak” in the neighborhood.

"There were eye rolls, but now it's different. Yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised when I heard that the neighbor next to me was separating waste. There are also some recycling machines, so that is an additional motivation. Maybe now I'm not a ”freak” anymore because people are already starting to accept these habits," she says while laughing.

Arijana says that separating waste is actually the responsibility of each individual, and that we are already seeing the consequences due to the fact that we put our comfort first.

"If we want the best for our children, we can think about changing our habits, to leave them a better world. And secondly, let's teach them not to do additional destruction," said Arijana.

Everyone has the power to initiate positive change

Aware of the environmental disaster that may be caused by improperly disposed waste in the Sarajevo Canton in the coming years, People in Need, with partners and with the support of the Government of the Czech Republic, launched a campaign to motivate citizens to change their habits.

“This Project represents one of the largest investments in this Canton. In addition, it is timely because the Smiljevići landfill is rapidly filling up. Of course, citizens cannot separate if there are no capacities for it. That's why the project provides thousands of bins, containers and composters that will enable recycling and modernization of the waste management system," explains Samir Arnautović, People in Need Project Manager.

Thanks to the support of the Government of the Czech Republic, 770 containers, 4,800 bins, 1.848 composters for organic waste, and complete equipment for one recycling yard were delivered to Sarajevo for the separate collection of recycling waste.

Currently, within the framework of the project, the campaign "Be a Heart, Separate Waste" is being implemented, which aims to motivate citizens to change their habits and become more environmentally conscious.

"Our goal is to educate and inspire all citizens to become active participants in the circular economy. However, I must point out that citizens can’t do this alone. We need the private sector to step-up their efforts as well. Everyone has the power within themselves to initiate positive changes in their community and beyond," concluded Arnautović.

Autor: Adin Šabić, Communication Coordinator BiH

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