This week, I met with the Director of Water at the Municipality office here in Skenderaj. The director and many others have worked hard over the years to clean up Skenderaj by providing some larger waste containers on the streets of the city for private residences and businesses. However, this is not a cultural norm to which the people are accustomed, so this tactic is rarely used/taken advantage of. The socially accepted normalcy here is to simply throw trash in the rivers. As long as they don’t see it, they don’t think it exists.
The director and his employees have also experimented with recycling. Bins for plastic and glass were placed next to the bigger trash containers within the city. Each bin was properly market “Plastic” and “Glass.” However, because of cultural norms, these bins were never distinguished one from another; they simply became more general trash bins. Because of this, the city has terminated any further use of plastic and glass containers.
Financial disparities here in Skenderaj have resulted in the town not being able to afford to properly dispose of its waste, or become efficient in its usage. This not only causes pollution of the town, it grossly pollutes the water. There is trash on every bank, before and after Skenderaj. The tiny village we are working in is just south of Skenderaj. You can imagine what their water quality is like. From trash disposal, to bathroom use, this river is almost past the hope of recovery.