World Environment Day is marked every year on June 5th. On this day, the United Nations calls for global action to protect the environment. It is a time for people to do something positive for our planet’s health.
Here in Kosovo, the UN has launched the “Green Steps” project. The goal is not just to clean up Kosovo – but to keep it that way through new preventative measures. According to Nora Sahatciu, who works for the UN in Pristina, we need not only to protect the environment for our own sake – but also for the next generations.
NORA SAHATCIU (U.N. KOSOVO TEAM) file HPSH001 00:31-01:16
People think that big financial investments are necessary. But there are so many things that civil society and all citizens can do. For example, we have the “Green Steps” initiative. We invite you to participate in that, and to come up with even more initiatives. We need your willingness to organize and engage, and to do more with less financial resources.
As part of the “Green Steps” project, green stickers in the shape of footprints have been put on sidewalks, visually leading pedestrians to trash bins. The idea is to use a bit of psychology to encourage people to use the bins. When a similar project was done in Denmark, the use of trash bins increased by 46 percent. Luan Hasanaj hopes to see a similar trend in Kosovo. His civil society group, called “Let’s Do it Kosova”, is supporting “Green Steps.”
LUAN HASANAJ (CIVIL SOCIETY) file HPSH004 00:44-00:49 00”56-01:06
Our idea is to launch this project in other cities across Kosovo as well … We see that rubbish bins are not used that much. With this project, we will try to get citizens to use them.
The UN Development Programme, or UNDP, wants people to be aware of the impacts that their actions can have on the environment and public health. Michele O’Dea is a UNDP environment analyst.
MICHELE O’DEA (UNDP) file HPSH005 01:27 – 01:50
Little small things really do make such a huge difference. And that is kind of the issue with environmental problems, because it has long lasting impacts and it has long reaching impacts as well, not only just the immediate things where you see rubbish on the ground and you don’t like the look of it, but then obviously everything has a domino effect and it leads to such things as health problems.
A Kosovo-wide cleanup drive was held on May 24th. It was an important occasion for Luan Hasanaj.
LUAN HASANAJ (CIVIL SOCIETY) file DS230322 00:12 – 00:25
What happened today should happen every day. We should join together to take care of our environment – and improve our health by removing over 800 trash dumps from all over Kosovo.
UN staff participated in this year’s cleanup campaign, which was held in all parts of Kosovo. Nora Sahatciu even brought her family along.
NORA SAHATCIU (U.N. KOSOVO TEAM) file DS230326 00:33 – 00:50
We found this to be a very important initiative, not only because we are contributing in a specific way to helping create a clean environment, but it’s also a model and a call for action to all citizens on what they can do as individuals to help their community.
45 thousand people participated in the cleanup campaign across Kosovo. But there is still more work to be done. In the words of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: “Planet Earth is our shared island. Let us join forces to protect it.”