Youth, an asset of the community, can contribute its strength to better environmental management.
The EU co-founded project "Capital Cities Collaborating on Common Challenges in Hazardous Waste Management - Yerevan, Warsaw, Tirana" has provided financial support to Eco-Clubs (sub-grants and competitions started in 2021) for educational, cultural, and creative actions to raise awareness on Waste Prevention, Waste Management and Hazardous Waste Management among the young generation from schools and educational centres from Yerevan, Warsaw and Tirana. The sub-grants (Yerevan, Tirana) and competitions (Warsaw) have been very successful. Most young people care deeply about environmental issues and wish to make a positive change in the environment around them. The Eco-Clubs programme provides an ideal way for fostering environmental awareness in the community. The primary aim of the Eco-Clubs programme is to educate and empower young people to make positive decisions and become change makers for an environmentally sustainable world.
Eco-Clubs endeavours to extend learning beyond the classroom and develop responsible attitudes and commitment, both at home, locally and in the wider community. This participatory approach and combination of learning and action make it an ideal way for schools to embark on a meaningful path to improving the environments of schools and their local communities, and of influencing the lives of young people, school staff, families, local authorities, NGOs, and all other bodies involved in this vitally important area of a 5R model (Refuse, Reuse, Recycle, Recover, Residual Waste Management) as a common paradigm for waste prevention and management.
Eco-Clubs and competitions among schools have continuously raised awareness among youth by educating them about the importance of waste prevention, segregation, and proper management. In Yerevan, Warsaw and Tirana different competitions between the schools have been organised and the best initiatives have been awarded. This competitions between schools ensured that both teachers and pupils worked hard to do their best, also generated a number of benefits for the local communities. The projects have continued and expanded their efforts, among others, by placing waste segregation collection bins in all schools within the municipalities.
The Eco-Clubs and similar initiatives provide an excellent opportunity for pupils to experience and express active citizenship and environmental responsibility. The activities of Eco-Clubs and competitions aimed at waste prevention and better waste management will continue under the "Capital Cities Collaborating on Common Challenges in Hazardous Waste Management - Yerevan, Warsaw, Tirana".