Where does the waste in Struma River come from?

While looking for the sources of waste pollution in Struma River, we face with critical issues.

You might remember Meto and his friends who were cleaning the Struma River in the area of Kyustendil. A few months later, on a cloudy morning in early June, Metodi finds himself on the riverbank again. This time, together with Lucy, Afi, and Emo, colleagues from harmonica. Their goal? Pinpointing the exact locations where waste comes from. To do that, they plan to pass along the entire Struma stream and its tributaries in the region of Kyustendil.

‘Cleaning up is an option. However,  while doing that, the river keeps clogging up with garbage. So we prioritized identifying the sources of pollution and trying to stop it,’ says Metodi.

Spring foliating has covered up all the trash along the river. Until autumn comes, when it once again will all be in plain sight. What are our findings? No illegal landfills, as pollution sources, are visible at the moment.

What we find is Iskra. Iskra Stoilova from Slokoshtitsa village is a truly inspiring and active lady who broke down in tears while talking about nature pollution in the area.

‘Where will my child live if we don’t do something? It is my mission, primary concern, and pain!’ Iskra shares.

With her incredible energy, Iskra engaged her neighbors in collecting recyclable and non-recyclable garbage separately and making a large compost. The collected waste goes to a recycling station, and the raised money serves for village improvements. Iskra does everything from campaigning, tracking, transportation, and money utilization, to accountability.

With her help, Meto and his colleagues locate five sources of trash along the river on that June day. Here they are:

There appear to be two principal causes of pollution:

1. While many of the village waste containers are right next to the river, the garbage truck comes only once a month. It’s no wonder trash overflows. Animals carry pieces of garbage around eventually, ending up in the river.

2. Some neighborhoods in the town of Kyustendil lack organized waste collection and transportation. Illegal landfills form in these districts, from where waste effortlessly finds its way to the river.

Why are there no garbage containers or waste disposal in these places? Why is the garbage collected only once a month in the sites where there are dumpsters? How is this possible when the result is the ugly pollution of one of the most picturesque and beautiful rivers? We’re about to find out.

Our next step is to ask those responsible for waste management in the municipality of Kyustendil. We’ll keep you posted.

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