LET’S DO IT! – Bosnia and Herzegovina and the EU Together for a Clean Environment

Bosnia and Herzegovina got a ‘makeover’ on Sunday 9 September as thousands of volunteers took to the streets and countryside for the ‘Let’s Do It!’ clean-up initiative. Volunteers from the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina/EU Special Representative together with colleagues from the British Embassy took part in a clean up action at Trebevic mountain near Sarajevo.

After the official kick-off – attended by the Estonian representatives of the global Let’s Do It project, Piret Mikkelsaar and Tiina Urm – the 10 volunteers cleared two car parks near viewpoints on Trebevic. Small debris such as drinks bottles and cans, packaging and cigarette ends were removed and bagged, ready for municipal and cantonal authorities to take away. The EUD/EUSR and British Embassy team spent two hours gathering all the litter that had accumulated at the sites.

EUD/EUSR spokesperson Andy McGuffie said: “This was a very well organised initiative that deservedly got a lot of support from the citizens in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The lead NGO, Ruke, really managed to motivate people to take action on behalf of the environment. It’s absolutely essential that concern for a green and clean Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to strengthen because the country has so much natural beauty. The EU strongly believes that it should be cherished and protected.”

The EU is investing funds through its IPA (Instrument for pre-accession assistance) programme in various initiatives that aim to promote environmental protection in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These include protecting the Sava river, developing responsible tourism and reducing the use of plastic bags. More details can be found in the ‘EU projects in BiH’ section of this website.

On behalf of the British Embassy, spokesperson Anne Macleod said, ” ‘Let’s Do It BiH’ was a great opportunity for the Embassy to join thousands of others in a collective effort to clean up one of BiH’s natural landmarks. We hope that the work of all those involved, across the whole country, will inspire others to work to protect the environment in this beautiful country.”

For the last three year the British Embassy staff and their families have supported an annual tree planting on Mount Igman. Last year 50 new trees were planted. In March 2011, the Foreign and Commonwealth office organised a seminar and workshop in Sarajevo on ‘Moving to a Low Carbon Economy’ together with ‘Friends of the Earth’ and ‘BusinessGreen.com’.

Overall, the organisers of ‘Let’s Do It!’ estimated that the initiative took place in over 97 municipalities, with around 35,000 volunteers involved. Together they collected over 40,000 bags of trash, according to local media. More information about the Let’s Do It initative can be found at: www.letsdoit.ba