YRE Competition 2016
First place winner
Category: 19-21 years old
RED FLAGS AS ALERT FOR GREEN LIVES SALVATION
The Budovar Canal is the stream that springs in the vicinity of the village of Čortanovci at Mountain Fruška Gora, flows through Eastern Srem, meanders and finally flows into the Danube River, near Stari Banovci. The Canal had a large number of animal and plant species living in the water as well as on the river banks. Yes, you read it correctly: “had”! Today this place is an example of reckless behavior.
Having in mind the fact that feces and wastewaters from nearby settlements are being dumped in the Canal without any purification methods, we can notice that its current state is alarming. Beside the point sources of pollution, the problem also lays in diffuse sources, like run-offs from urban areas (streets, parking places, lawns, gardens etc.).
Research has determined that the quality of Danube water, where the Budovar Canal flows in, falls in the Third category (on a scale where the Second category stands for optimal quality). From time to time on the banks of the Canal, animal waste can be seen with very unpleasant odor, all of which can cause serious consequences to human health.
This problem occurred after years of waste disposal. People were throwing plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, plastic bags, and organic waste into the Canal or just leaving them laying around its banks, hoping that the water would carry them away. But now, the amount of waste is so big that water cannot carry it away.
Questioning the local people, I’ve found that the greatest problems occur when the water level rises. Water ejects the solid waste that cannot be dissolved and that is when the human negligence reaches its peak because the waste is spread around the street and no one is responsible for collecting it.
As a member of the association “Think Blue, Think Green” (in Serbian: Misli plavo, misli zeleno), devoted to public education on sustainable development, climate change and green economy, I have a need to raise the awareness in my hometown about importance of finding the solution for this problem and possible consequences if it is not resolved. I have the support for this project from Local Community Office of Stari Banovci which is willing to assist through promoting examples of good practice among citizens, initiating actions for environmental protection and educating the citizens about recycling. Public forum with the members of environmental group was organized in elementary school “Slobodan Savković“, in which children expressed their suggestions about water protection and its multiple benefits in human life. Traveling to school each day, children cross the bridge over the Budovar Canal, and look at the scene that should not be their first memory for nature that surrounds them. As a confirmation that this part of the Canal still has some life in it, are fishermen that can be seen, but much less than before, so let’s save what can be saved.
Also, I am inviting all Eco-Reporters to make the Map of Red Flags of Serbia together, in which we would mark with red flags all polluted areas that have problems with soil, water, and air. The map would be a push towards solving the marked problems and call for everyone to improve the relations between the men and the nature.
The Map of Red Flags of Serbia could be published on the internet, thus being available to all, and after solving the problem, a red flag would be replaced with a green one, and near each one, we will place “before” and “after” photos. In cases where help is provided by environmentally responsible companies, their logo would be placed on the flag as a sign of gratitude. I would not stop on just organizing the actions, but also organize a SOCIAL COMPANY that could provide possibilities for new forms of support in protection systems.
So, let’s alert Serbia with Red Flags!
Author: Andrijana Arsić