Do you know what were the most common complaints of tourists this year in Montenegro?
And no, dumping of waste didn’t make the top of the list.
Now, when summer is behind us, and after six months of running the mobile application and online platform, it’s time to have a good, long look at the reporting of waste dumps in Montenegro.
Just a brief reminder on what we’ve been up to: In December 2012, we started developing the idea for a crowd map so that people could report illegal waste dumping in Montenegro and had the first version of a mobile application and online platform developed and ready for piloting in April 2013.
The campaign for piloting the app and locating waste dumps in Montenegro started in April and ended with an international conference on using new technologies for environmental monitoring.
Thanks to constructive comments from citizens who participated in the campaign, the app has undergone further adjustments. The final version of the mobile application and online platform was ready mid June when it was handed over to EPA Montenegro.
From April 2013 to today more than 260 reports were received and around 170 waste dumps were reported.
Just in the last couple of months alone, more than 40 reports were received through the app, email or directly through the online platform. Although the public response has been good, we know that Montenegro can do better, and an awareness campaign led by national institutions is needed. The more the citizens get involved, the more locations reported – along with more pressure for authorities to clean up the sites.
Where were most dumps reported? So far most reports come from Podgorica – 33, from Tivat and Kotor – 32, and from Berane – 26.
You are probably saying, reporting is easy but what about cleaning up the dumping that’s reported? Well, cleaning up is still an issue in most Montenegrin municipalities due to different reasons, such as: limited capacities of responsible utility services, obsolete technology for waste collection, lack of good will.
Further efforts have to be made at national level to increase capacities of utility services in Montenegrin municipalities for efficient and reliable waste collection and disposal.
But, the situation is not as hopeless as you might think. We have some positive examples on waste dumps removals in Herceg Novi, Niksic, Savnik, Cetinje and Podgorica.
The steps forward are cumbersome and slow, and more effort has to be put into increasing public awareness about responsible waste disposal. The truth is that there is a lot we, as citizens, can do. We can gather our friends, family, and neighbours together, pull up our sleeves and first clean up our own neighbourhoods – and invite other neighbourhoods to join the action.
What can we do? Be responsible, become a partner to your municipality and keep reporting waste dumps.
Montenegro took on the issue of waste and waste dumping and we know it will be a long and sometimes painful fight, but we are determined to make our country a clean and green place to live.
Waste is everyone’s responsibility and we would like to hear your thoughts about what else should be done to give people incentives to produce less waste and dispose of waste in a responsible way – and encourage municipalities to partner with citizens in waste management issues.
Have you organized any cleanups in your community? We’d love to hear how you went about it – and what you learned.
And we’d love to see more green dots on the crowdmap!