“Litter quitter” is a project aimed at cleaning selected locations in the city of Zagreb where illegal dumping sites are present and collecting as much waste as possible, which will then be transported to recycling centers. Illegal (wild) waste dumping sites refer to any areas outside of official landfill sites where an unknown person has disposed of waste. The existence of illegal dumping sites not only indicates insufficient environmental awareness among people but also poses a significant risk of pollution to the environment, primarily soil and groundwater. Disposing household waste in the environment promotes the proliferation of rodents and other pests that spread infections and diseases. Illegal dumping sites are responsible for numerous fires during the summer months, and their presence disrupts the landscape’s appearance.
For decades, Croatia, including the city of Zagreb, has been fighting against these wild dumping sites. The exact number of such sites is impossible to determine, ranging from locations with a few bags of waste to larger sites with bulky waste. At wild dumping sites, waste accumulates year after year in a “domino effect,” creating enormous quantities that become increasingly challenging to remove and causing significant environmental problems. Bulky and construction waste are the most common types found at these sites, along with slow-degrading items that have a strong and lasting impact on the environment. The responsibility for the remediation of such sites lies with the City or Municipality, i.e., the local government, but citizens can also actively participate by joining various activist and volunteer organizations that clean up these sites.
Following such initiatives, the Sustainable Development Section gathered members of BIUS, the Blato local committee, and students from other disciplines with the goal of cleaning an illegal dumping site in the urban settlement of Blato. The cleanup took place on April 22, 2023, Earth Day, and despite the hot weather and hard work, most of the selected location was cleared, and we joyfully proceeded to the Climate March. Although the day was successful, illegal dumping sites still persist in the Blato settlement, representing a huge problem that volunteer actions alone cannot solve. Most of these sites contain construction waste that cannot be removed by hand, and the amount of waste keeps increasing day by day. The solution to this problem lies in educating citizens about the issue itself and implementing laws that regulate waste disposal by large companies and industries, which ultimately are the major polluters.
We would like to express our gratitude to the Student Center of the University of Zagreb and the residents of the Blato settlement who helped make this project possible.
Slika 1. Volunteers with the Blato local committee
Slika 2. Collecting the waste
Slika 3. Location after cleaning
Project is funded by: