In Plemetina, inhabitants suffer from the two nearby coal power plants ‘Kosovo A and B’ which emit 25 tons of dust and smoke every hour. Smoke and dust, in addition to unprocessed liquids, have been carelessly released for decades, devastating air, soil and water. The level of pollution emitted by the two plants is 74 times higher than that allowed by European standards. Just one power plant produces approximately fifty trucks of ash every month, remnants of burned coal. It’s not a coincidence that Obiliq/Obilic municipality, which includes Plemetina, has the highest rate of cancer in Kosovo, as well as a high incidence of chronic respiratory diseases. Additionally, the energy being produced there is not even constantly available for the affected villagers, what is being manifested through random electricity cuts. Sitnica, river that is flowing through the village, is the most polluted river in the area, though it used to be the richest in fish and other species. Green areas are replaced by trash areas in the village and surroundings, due to the lack or even total absence of communal service. Even if building a new Kosovo C power plant would lead to faster shutting down Kosovo A – which is now doubtful – it is not adequate. There remains an irreparable negative impact on the local young and future generations.( From Plemetina Youth Declaration, 2010)
After 4 days in Prishtina, our group of international SCI activists had an amazing opportunity to move to Plemetina and to be hosted by the Roma families, friends of GAIA Kosovo. This was very useful and inspiring because we had an opportunity to talk with them and find out more about life in Kosovo and Plementina, to find out more about their culture and especially to experience how it looks like to live in a very polluted area and with coal power plants. During 3 days we lived the life of an average citizen of Plemetina. We discovered the place by exploring the neighbourhood, by communicating with the locals, and working together with them for a good cause.
Already on the first evening we learnt that one of the most important aspects for Roma community is music. We had a chance to see it and experience it by hearing and joining them in playing different instruments and singing songs from different music styles and on various languages.
The ones that are most affected with pollution and injustice are children. We visited BSF Learning center and talk to them about the topics connected with pollution, power plants and life in Plemetina. We gave them pictures of animals and their task was to make them colorful and to glue them on the power plant. Goal of this activity was to show that nature and animals are important for us and that children can always dream of better future.
To became aware how the situation in Plemetina actually is we went to see it with our own eyes. We went next to the river Sitnica and realised it is surrounded with huge amount of garbage. It is located close to Kosovo B and right next to this powerplant there is a huge hill made of dirt and ashes, because during the long period of time it was growing together with increased pollution. Ash Mountain, as we decided to call it, was something that proves how humans can harm nature only by their ignorance and selfishness. We climbed over the hill and we discussed with couple of locals that went with us about the effects that powerplant does to them.
We used the Earth Day as an opportunity to involve families, so we offered them to plan trees together. We planted over 200 fruit trees together with families from Plemetina. Yes, people in the village do grow fruit trees, have gardens and even fish in the river! We also planted flowers in permaculture spiral in the Balkan Sunflowers center for children to make the entrance more beautiful.
Big problem that citizens in Plemetina face is big amount of garbage that can be found in many places around the village. Together with youth from Romaroad and Scouts, we cleaned the area in the center of Plemetina and in front of the elementary school. After a couple of hours the difference was very visible and local people who were passing next to us were happy and surprised that somebody wants to help them with this growing problem. In Plemetina there was no service of picking up garbage from families for a long time, since recently there is an option for this for 5 euros per month but many families cannot afford this fee. Amount of garbage that we picked up during the action proves that this problem is not something that we should ignore.
Before we left Plemetina, on the entrance of Plemetina, close to the the power plant, we painted a big mural with animals to make Plemetina more colorful. This was our gift to them and it was approved by local municipality. Not long time after we started to paint children from the ”social housing” where many internally displaced families still live, came and wanted to join us. It was very nice and enriching to show them our paintings, to talk to them , to have fun with them and to leave the village with the energy they gave to us.
Regional re-ACTION is part of SCI (Service Civil International) worldwide campaign “Create a Climate for Peace“ and our group consisted of international volunteers from Kosovo, Serbia, Croatia, Poland, Italy, Albania and Belgium. Volunteers came here with one goal and that is to find out more about the pollution and climate/environmental injustice in Kosovo and to try to find different alternatives how to change this. More info on the cause will come soon.
on behalf of the group