Youth in Central and Eastern Europe fights plastic pollution in rivers

Earlier in 2017 a newly established Youth Water Community Central and Eastern Europe started a project about the reduction of plastic pollution in the river Ishmi in Albania. The project’s first activity was a workshop with local students that took place on 5 December at the Agricultural University of Tirana.

The Fishme Ishmi project

Youth Water Community Central and Eastern Europe (YWC CEE) was born during the GWP CEE Summer School in July 2017 in Warsaw, Poland. The Fishme Ishmi is a youth-led project developed by this newly established Youth Water Community, aiming at reducing the plastic pollution of the river Ishmi in Albania. According to different studies this river is considered as the most polluted river in Albania, with the quantities of ammonia, nitrogen dioxide, and suspended solids exceeding highly the EU legal limits. The main projects objectives of this project are: to raise awareness in schools and the community about the water pollution, to capture and recycle plastic from the basin and to create green job. This project focuses on: assessment of current status, raising awareness activities, educational activities and clean up campaigns.

 Bringing together youth in Tirana

The first workshop of Fishme Ishmi youth-led project, held on 5th of December at the Agricultural University of Tirana focused on the reduction of plastic pollution in rivers, discussions about the current status, solutions and remaining challenges. The workshop was attended by young leaders and students from three different universities - Agricultural University of Tirana, University of Tirana and Polytechnic University of Tirana. The welcome speech was given by the Vice Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, Assoc. Prof. Edmond Hala.

 During the first part of the workshop were presented different topics related to plastic pollution in rivers and the complex issue of the plastic pollution problem, which needs an integrated analysis and management. The second interactive part gave the participants opportunity to discus with YWC CEE members different issues that young people could address and to exchange experiences. The session was enriched by interactive exercises, quiz games, videos and outdoors activities. The participants were enthusiastic to be part of this workshop and expressed their desire to be part of YWC CEE future activities.

 Raising awareness 

Ok 9th of December YWC CEE started their awareness raising campaign in Tirana  during the Mountain Day event, organized by the Municipality of Tirana and in cooperation with the Regional Agency  of Protected Areas and other important organizations in Albania. The message of this event was the development of biodiversity in mountains as relaxing and wealthy places. YWC CEE joined this event with the campaign about Fishme Ishmi project which was presented to the participants and the local media. Part of the campaign were discussions and questionnaires about plastic pollution, which brought important information about people’s consciousness of the effects of plastic pollution in rivers.

 Engaging with local communities

 On 18th of December 18, 2017 YWC CEE organized a field trip to the river basin, where the young representatives met face to face with the local stakeholders. Public and stakeholder participation is considered a very important part of Fishme Ishmi project. After being introduced to the project and the benefits it will bring to the community, the local people showed great interest and willingness to be involved. The Director of “Ishmi High School”, Mr. Jetmir Xhixha expressed his support to the project and the future clean-up campaign of the river, and invited YWC CEE to organize awareness campaigns at the local high school.