To the responsible institutions, media, NGOs and international donors

Regarding illegal landfill in Brezovica ski resort in Sharr Mountain National Park

 

GAIA, European Voluntary Service volunteers and young people from the Balkans want to express their resentment and frustration regarding the existence of an illegal landfill in Ski center Brezovica within the Territory of National Park Sharr Mountain. More than 50 young people from Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Kosovo, Lithuania, Macedonia, Russia, Serbia, Spain and the UK are insisting that the responsible institutions take action and clear the landfill. The youngsters and the organization recognize that the existence of the landfill is part of a bigger challenge regarding waste management within the ski resort and the National Park, therefore we are encouraging the respectful institutions to implement long-term solutions that actually prevent the creation of new landfills within the ski resort.

Picture1

12 volunteers of European Voluntary Service (initiative of Erasmus+ program of the European Commission) and 40 young people from the Balkans taking part in a Youth for Sharr gathering (supported by the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) participated in a clean-up action organized by GAIA in the ski resort in the beginning of August. The illegal landfill in the entrance of the ski resort became the centre of the action, with volunteers collecting more than 200 trash bags from just a single part of the mountain slope. Most of the trash included glass bottles (beer, wine, water), plastic bottles and packages, construction material leftovers, broken ski equipment, diapers and other traces of human presence. It is clear that the intensive tourism in combination with a lack of control and collective reluctance to deal with the problem has ended up in a slope full of garbage, piling up for years.

Picture2

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We find unacceptable that the resources of Sharr Mountain are being exploited in the name of profit while we ignore our responsibilities towards nature and the future generations. GAIA has previously expressed its strong opinions against other investment projects which threaten the values of the mountain, such as an expansion of the ski resort and small hydropower plants. Sharr mountain is proclaimed as a National Park and is even proposed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is the center of mountain biodiversity of Europe, with 2000 plant species, 339 Balkan endemic species and 18 local. Sharr is the habitat for brown bear, lynx, wolves, chamois, wild cat and other mammals, at least 147 butterfly species, 159 bird species, 47 amphibian and reptile species and many other.  Sharr mountain does not deserve tons of garbage on forest slopes going into the rivers that flow through the Balkans.

We understand that waste management is a challenging topic in Kosovo, however, we believe that with political will and joint efforts we can solve the specific case of Brezovica ski resort and its garbage. When it comes to clearing the landfill, GAIA is willing to support the organization of volunteer actions with local and international volunteers. When it comes to long-term solutions, we suggest an information campaign is needed to clarify to visitors and local people what is allowed and forbidden when it comes to waste in the ski center and in the National park, who the responsible institutions are and to encourage people to report when witnessing illegal activities. Strict control over visitors and businesses and issuing fine tickets to the ones not following the regulations is also crucial.

GAIA has been active in the region of Brezovica since 2015 by bringing young people from different countries together for activities dedicated to nature protection and environmental justice. In 2017 with European volunteers we have conducted a clean-up action at the illegal landfill, the results of which are still visible nowadays (video). So far we have received support from the respective institutions (Municipality of Štrpce/Shtërpcë, National park Sharr), therefore we believe a common solution can be found.

We are looking forward to receiving your answers and possible solutions.

For further contact: gaia.kosovo@gmail.com, 043918118 (Miroslava Popova, in English).

 

With regards,                                                                                                                                    Date: 07.09.2018

Helena Poucki,

Legal representative of GAIA

 

GAIA (website, facebook) is an organization dedicated to culture of peace, social justice, sustainable development and respect of environment. GAIA is promoting cultural diversity and works on education and integration of marginalized and minority groups in society. The main activities of GAIA are coordination of volunteer exchange, organization of non-formal educational programs, cooperation with other local and international organizations, organization of festivals, promotion of volunteering, intercultural understanding and solidarity in the region of Balkans and promotion of freedom of movement and youth mobility. GAIA is an official branch of Service Civil International (SCI), one of the world’s largest international volunteering organisations dedicated to promoting peace and volunteering.

 

International and local volunteers who support the letter:

  1. Aid Agaj, Kosovo
  2. Aleksandar Yordanov, Bulgaria
  3. Andrijana Vesic, Kosovo
  4. Angela Mojsoska, Macedonia
  5. Ariston Lipa, Kosovo
  6. Bejtullah Sharku, Kosovo
  7. Charly Duhoux, France
  8. Daniel Laurent, France
  9. Dejan Mladenovic, Kosovo
  10. Donjeta Shatri, Kosovo
  11. Dunja Dragun, Croatia
  12. Dunja Karanovic, Serbia
  13. Elio Allmace, Albania
  14. Elodie Riviere, France
  15. Esmeralda Perseku, Albania
  16. Gentrit Behramaj, Kosovo
  17. Goran Stamatoski, Macedonia
  18. Granit Gashi, Kosovo
  19. Helena Obajdin, Croatia
  20. Igor Markovic, Serbia
  21. Irdi Malaj, Albania
  22. Isabelle Wadbled, France
  23. Iva Mengova, Bulgaria
  24. Ivica Stojkov, Macedonia
  25. Izabela Markova, Bulgaria
  26. Jelena Jovcic, Serbia
  27. Jeremy Flauraud, France
  28. Jana Jovasevic, Serbia
  29. Kieran Murphy, United Kingdom
  30. Kristina Topic, Serbia
  31. Lara-Lena Godde, Germany
  32. Liubov Obraztcova, Russia
  33. Madlen Zasheva, Bulgaria
  34. Maja Mlinarec, Croatia
  35. Maria Begona Santaella Gomez, Spain
  36. Marius Leveli, Albania
  37. Marko Zajic, Serbia
  38. Mevlude Skuroshi, Kosovo
  39. Mia Cuk, Serbia
  40. Miroslava Popova, Bulgaria
  41. Nikola Ilic, Kosovo
  42. Nina Brauch, Germany
  43. Petar Blazevski, Serbia
  44. Rosa Hergan, Austria
  45. Silvia Brdar, Croatia
  46. Slavco Tisevski, Macedonia
  47. Slobodan Vasic, Serbia
  48. Sophie Bitsas, Belgium
  49. Stefan Georgiev, Bulgaria
  50. Sugen Reddy, United Kingdom
  51. Suljan Lamaj, Albania
  52. Vaida Saulyte, Lithuania
  53. Vladimir Djordjevic, Serbia
  54. Wiebke Tebbe, Germany
  55. Yana Ivanova, Bulgaria
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