[Srda.rs] NALED continues to support the "green" transition of cities and the economy

The years of the coronavirus pandemic have brought greater public interest in environmental issues, but not many concrete addressed them. In the past few years, NALED has launched important projects for citizens, local governments, and the economy, and has tried to make changes in terms of funding in this area. The head of the Environmental Protection Unit at NALED, Slobodan Krstović, talks about the successes, obstacles and further plans towards a healthier and cleaner environment for the Srda portal.

The Alliance for Environmental Protection of NALED was formed at the end of 2019. How satisfied are you with the work and the results of the Alliance, also marked by a pandemic?

- Taking into account the very demanding situation in which we were all put by the COVID 19 pandemic, we are very satisfied with the work of the Alliance for Environmental Protection. Since its formation, we have carried out most of the planned activities, tasks and have overcome many challenges. In addition to environmental challenges, members of the Alliance have encountered many difficulties individually. However, we are extremely pleased because through the pandemic we managed to turn weaknesses into strengths and most importantly learn a lot. The Alliance now has more than 50 members and is very active in various topics, primarily of a better policy of eco-taxes and fees, management of packaging waste, food waste, and special waste streams. We are trying to develop all these topics that are the backbone of the circular economy, because only by switching from a linear to a circular economy can we make full use of raw materials. We are very committed to these goals, which we are working on, together with our members, primarily through a synergy between the economy and local governments.

Environmental issues came to the public's attention during the pandemic, but there have been no significant developments. What are the key steps that we as a state and society need to take to make significant progress towards a healthier environment? 

- I must note that people have become very active on this topic, but that is simply not enough, it is necessary to invest a lot in prevention. When we talk about society, we need to work significantly on raising the awareness of people around us, to improve and supplement existing knowledge, to be actively involved in various actions, which, among other things, we organize for citizens around through various projects. Participation and awareness of this topic among fellow citizens are one of the main goals of projects such as "Increasing the recycling rate for batteries and light bulbs" and "Management of glass packaging in the Western Balkans." Through both of these projects, a series of activities were carried out, which included the participation of citizens in the collection of these types of waste and their education on these topics. But above all, the citizens are provided with basic infrastructure as a precondition for proper waste disposal. If we would allow all citizens to adequately dispose of waste with more actions, educational programs, dialogues, lectures on environmental protection, we could hope for a healthier environment. It would be best if, in educational institutions, children from the very beginning of schooling would have compulsory classes specifically related to environmental protection. The state can help a lot, through incentives, changes in the legislative framework, and stricter measures for sanctioning activities harmful to the environment.

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