Macedonia drowning in waste and dirt

Aleksandar Nikoloski
Vice President of VMRO-DPMNE

If we look around, and I mean our closest surroundings, the streets we drive on, on the sidewalks we walk on, the highways and the regional roads we travel on, picnic spots, parks and rest areas, the mountains and the lakes have never been so polluted and drowning in garbage as much as they are now. Macedonia has never been so dirty. Tons of plastic around us, garbage scattered everywhere, dust, polluted air, polluted water, etc. This, unfortunately, is the sad picture of Macedonia which, after winter leaves the snow disappears and the mountains, it becomes more apparent and clearer. Simply, we are all drowning in the garbage around us. Skopje has never been dirtier, the larger cities throughout Macedonia were never so messy, through Vardar, which according to the Prespa Agreement we can only call it Vardar only to Gevgelija, tons of plastic flow directly into the Aegean Sea no matter what we call it. That’s the sad picture.

I cannot escape the impression that after the local elections in 2017, after which the SDSM and DUI personnel gained almost one hundred percent domination in the country, ecology has been reduced to zero, and the country is still dirty. Well, I wonder do mayors even do their jobs? Do the municipal communal companies work? Is Macedonia-Road doing anything, or is it so incapable of cleaning the two highways that this country has? Do the competent institutions work, will they gather their strength to clean up Popova Shapka, Mavrovo, Pelister, Ponikva, Berovo, now that the snow has melted and the garbage has resurfaced. It is obvious that the total inability of the SDSM’s staff to take care of the country, to clean it up just a little bit so it could start looking like a normal country. There is no need to scientifically prove all of this that I’m writing, no need to collect statistics or data, all you have to do is turn around and see what the country looks like.

Here we have to take a good look at ourselves. And ask ourselves – Do we have life manners and the right kind of attitude to the public well-being? How is it possible that our homes are perfectly clean and tidy, and when we go out of our apartments and houses everything is so dirty. How is it possible that we inflict so much damage to the environment we live in and that we are not ready to devote a little of our time to clean it. Yes, it’s true, there are competent institutions in charge of this, and I have already criticized them in this column, but the fact is that we should take some responsibility ourselves.

We are on the eve of the campaign for election of President of Macedonia. I hope and I strongly believe that Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova will be the next president. This topic – how we live and how clean is the environment in which we live, what is level of pollution in the country, at first glance does not seem to be a topic of the president’s authorities, but it absolutely is. Most of all because it kills! The polluted air, the unclean environment and polluted water kill! Normal countries declare state of emergency for the condition such as this one in Macedonia! They recruit all institutions to deal with the situation as well as all experts to offer solutions. Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova has already opened this topic, many of the opposing camps hastened to say that this is not the topic of President of Macedonia and continued to deal with “high politics” related to abstract issues. I logically want to ask them to come down from high politics to the realistic – you renamed Macedonia, you changed its name, you talk about a bright future, what kind of bright future is that when your children play in parks filled with tons of waste?

I think that the next president should put this issue at the top of his/her priorities. To initiate two parallel activities – the first institutional coordination for the fight against pollution (and air, water and environment), the second strong campaign that will reach the awareness of every citizen of Macedonia to take care and to preserve the environment as a top healthcare priority.

Regarding the first, I think that it is necessary to form a multi-sector body with representatives of the central and local government that will make decisions how to deal with pollution, as conclusions to the Government and the units of local self-government. I hope that the Government will have the virtue to stand under the President’s coordinating wand and solve this problem, because it is obvious that they are not capable of solving it themselves.

Regarding the second, the president of the state should invite in one coordinative body the media, universities and top environmental experts that this country has to develop a media and field campaign that would reach each and every citizen. Use this campaign to explain how important it is for oneself and for future generations to protect the environment, be careful not to pollute the air, soil and water. To educate young people about their attitude toward the environment and realize that it is a relation to themselves and the quality of their own lives. The media should do their part, and experts and universities take to the field and educate the citizens.

I believe that with a comprehensive strategy, as early as the first five-year term of Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova, Macedonia can be cleaned up and become a more comfortable place to live in. It will be a new quality in the lives of the citizens. The cost of health-care will be reduced, and the economy, and above all tourism, will be stimulated. The topic is great and is a strong challenge, I hope that the whole society will unite under the future President’s coordination to solve it.

Views expressed in this article are personal views of the author and do not represent the editorial policy of Nezavisen Vesnik