Podgorica, 26 September 2017 – In the Balkans, less material is recycled than is standard in Europe  – 97% of waste ends up in landfills, while in Austria only 3% of waste ends up in public dumps, it was announced  at an introductory conference on the implementation of the project “Waste No Chance! – Enhancing the Employability and Labour Rights of Roma Waste Collectors”.

The project, which should provide better working conditions for collectors of secondary raw materials, is due to start at the end of October and will last 12 months. Activities will be implemented in Kotor, Budva, Tivat and Herceg Novi, said the Executive Director of the NGO “Young Roma”, Samir Jaha.

“What we expect as a result of this project is primarily to improve the knowledge and health care of waste collectors through the procurement of equipment and through training that we will organise under this project,” said Jaha.

Jaha also pointed out that they are planning to provide recycling machines, scales to weigh material, and also recycling and waste-collection tools.

“For this part of the project, we have allocated about €17,000,” explained Jaha. A representative of the European Union Delegation, Romain Boitard, said that this is a good way to get closer to the European Union’s standards related to environmental regulation.

“By demanding recognition for their environmental and economic contributions, informal collectors are increasing their political power. For this reason, mechanisms will be established to strengthen and promote their association – which will raise their productivity and the financial return from their jobs by extending their representation,” said Boitard.

The project “Waste No Chance! – Enhancing the Employability and Labour Rights of Roma Waste Collectors”, implemented by the NGO “Young Roma” and the Union of Free Trade Unions, in cooperation with the European Union, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare will cost €70,000.