Albanian cleanup - not just a cleanup

The Albanian National Cleanup day "Albanian Cleanup - Shqiperi e Paster” that took place on the 20th of April 2012 was a great success and made remarkable results on urban waste cleaning – all thanks to the participation of the Albanian citizens. In early morning the weather was cloudy and rainy in some parts of the country, but despite being an obstacle, this made people more eager to reach the goal of the Albanian Cleanup.

The expectations of the Albanian clean-up organisators were passed as more than 122 000 people took part from the action. There were people from all the spheres: all of the Albanian Government, Non-Governmental Organizations (Umbrella NGO’s, Associations, Centers, Foundations, Unions, Forums), Albanian Civil Society, International institutions, Foreign Embassies, many different Albanian celebrities and also more than 2100 educational institutions.

This remarkable amount of people managed to pick up more than 31 000 tons of waste in one day. They found and collected all kinds of waste – for example plastic, glass, metal packaging, paperboard, unrefined alumina, old tires, batteries etc.

Though the cleaning process went well for Albania, they had to face a little problem afterwards -  all this waste was going directly, without separation, in the landfill. The organizers explained that waste management system in Albania is at a low level because of the weak collection systems in cities. ,,Private companies, financed by municipalities, clean the cities and collect and transport waste to landfills,’’ says the coordinator. Albania has very few recycling systems and the necessary stipulation for waste recycling is the separation of waste at source – a request to organize and establish separate collection systems of waste from households. Hazardous waste generated by the industrial sector and municipal wastes are deposited together with urban waste. For these reasons Albania has to co-operate more with Albanian government on how to resolve these issues, and not just with organizing cleanup days, but also with successful sustainable solution models.  

The cleanup day on the 20th of April brought a very good feeling to all those who participated, because everything went better than expected. Also it led Albania to facing some changes in the near future. There will be new laws made by the government concerning urban waste management and also new environmental protection subjects integrated in educational system in elementary and high school. More garbage bins will be moved to the cities and after the cleanup day people are certainly more aware that everyone should contribute to keeping the territory around them clean.

,,We will rise up the investigation process with monitoring all our country about environmental issues and denouncing them to Albanian institutions where their big support during our work was seen. In addition, we will make a map of illegal dumpsites,’’ says the Albanian cleanup coordinator. Towards next Albanian Cleanup on the 20th of April on 2013, organizers promise to continue their work by inviting and registering more people to join this big movement. They also find important to make people more aware of how important it is to have a clean country and how it affects our life and households.