Algeria has set the ball rolling with a great first cleanup action

Early on the morning of 19th of May, 1000 people stepped out from their homes in six different regions of Algeria. They had chosen to spend their day in cleaning up their home cities and villages.

In Bouira province the cleanup efforts concentrated to the village of Raffour. The volunteers started their day as early as 7 o’clock and worked to clean the streets for 7 hours. The main type of garbage that reached the hands and bags of the pickers were beer cans and vine bottles. During the action there was a strike of the cleaning workers in that region, so that the local discharge was full. The team also contacted the local authorities and gave a message that there is a need for recycling system for the cans in the region. All in all the day was successful and the volunteers collected 8 tons of waste during that day.

In the largest province of Algeria – Tamanrasset, many cities and areas participated despite the extremely hot weather – reaching 35 degrees of Celsius. In the city of Tamanrasset, the cleanup brought together students, executives, children, non-workers and many other people. The collected waste consisted mainly of iron, plastic bottles for juice and water, plastic bags, paper and wood. People worked hard all day and collected altogether more than 7 tons of waste.

The people acting in provinces of Skikda, Tebessa and Ouargla collected five tons of waste, including wood, iron, plastic and paper.

In Algiers, the capital of Algeria, the team negotiated with many associations and together they decided to choose another date for cleaning up the capital. Some other districts decided to follow the lead of Algiers. So that there will be another cleanup action uniting different regions, coming up in the following weeks.

“We expected to be our participation much higher – up to five thousand people, but just before the cleanup action the media was all concentrated to the elections of the deputies of the parliament, so we were somewhat left out and it probably affected the final results,” said the cleanup initiator Hamza Amarouche. Stating that this was also one of the main reasons why Algiers and other districts decided to postpone the action by few weeks. All in all the organizing team is happy, because the ball has started rolling: “I can say that I am satisfied for the moment, because our goal has been transmitted to people and everybody is motivated to participate in the following cleanups,” Hamza added.

The team also analyzed the places for improvement in the waste management system and brings out some immediate issues that need to be resolved. Hamza brings out:

  1. There are not many societies which recycle plastic, iron, wood etc . So this kind of situation doesn’t encourage people and households to recycle. Because of that, after each cleanup, volunteers find themselves forced to throw the waste to the landfill.
  2. There are not many official waste management stations in Algeria, that means that people generally create illegal dumpsites to get rid of their waste. Many of those are created next to villages and sometimes even inside cities. All this makes it harder for the volunteers to create a positive impact by their actions.
  3. The lack of experience  and experts in ecology:  We need those persons most of the time to do conferences for people, and to raise the awareness with lectures about the property of nature and ecology.

According to Hamza the work with the media has been fruitful: “We have done a great work with the press - many papers talked about our cleanup, radio and especially electronic press. Also our facebook page was shared on many media sites. All this has brought a raise of awareness about this issue among Algerians, also about our goals and our intention to create many cleanups to protect our country’s nature. I must say that our press sponsor El-Mihwar has followed our preparation since its beginning, and we must thank all their journalists now.”

Hamza also says that this action brought together many associations and organisations in the country, also activated artists who helped the team with their contribution - Khaled Louma and Karim Branis, two great rock artists in Algeria, also Rachid Zouba - popular artist in Algeria who encouraged the organizers since the beginning.

The team is very optimistic and ready to continue with their efforts in Algeria “We are tending to organize other cleanups in other parts of the country, and we are preparing especially to have strong, trustful and intelligent local coordinators who can create their local teams. We are working to have many contacts with great artists who can help us to spread the message and to prepare for our big cleanup next year. We plan to also have more lectures and conferences about the environment, recycling, trainings, expositions and use other creative ways to raise the awareness in our country,” says Hamza.

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rolling stone stuff :)

rolling stone stuff :)