Youth from Varaždin takes initiative in reducing litter in their environment

Participants on the Drava river pedestrian bridge (Photo: Facebook Interact Club Varaždin 1181)

Saturday November 6, 2021 was the day students from several high schools in Varaždin took the initiative and put in their free time into combating litter in their environment. In total, around 30 students from Prva gimnazija Varaždin, Druga gimnazija Varaždin and Srednja strukovna škola Varaždin gathered in the Drava park-forest in northern Varaždin as a part of an Interact service project. Apart from Interact Club Varaždin 1181 members, they were joined by local Rotarians, as well as some people who were passing by and decided to join.

‘It is a great initiative, but it is really sad to see how much trash there actually is out in nature’, said Davor Kolarek, a Rotarian who participated in the event. There indeed was a lot, as it took the group around 3 hours to remove all trash from the forest. They found a lot of unexpected items people simply left in the forest, such as old TVs, ripped pillows, tires, and some students even found mice sheltered inside a trash bag that was left on sight.

Photo: Facebook Interact Club Varaždin 1181

The project was primarily organized by 4.IB student Mihael Kralj (Interact president) and Marko Daraboš (Interact vice-president), as their IB CAS project. The date was specifically chosen to celebrate World Interact Day, as a way to promote Interact activities within youth in the community and also address the issue of improper waste management by some residents of the city.

The club members were happy with the outcome and the amount of supporters who gathered. ‘I am very satisfied with the event, it was actually fun cleaning and thinking about nature. I would definitely recommend!’, said Filip Juraga, a first grade student from Prva gimnazija who has recently joined the club. We hope this event will attract more young people from the area to join the club, so we could work together on improving our community.

All participants gathered at the end (Photo: Facebook Interact Club Varaždin 1181)

The public response to this initiative was more than positive, with local news outlets writing about it, as well as several residents of Varaždin expressing support and gratefulness through social media. As organizers, we hope that this motivated locals to think about their environment and where they leave their trash. Now that there is no more trash and unpleasant odors along pathways, walks through the forest will be as enjoyable as they once used to be.

For more pictures from the event, check the club’s Facebook page. Below is a short video (in Croatian) to feel the atmosphere from this productive Saturday morning.

Written by: Marko Daraboš & Mihael Kralj

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