Popovac on Tour: Baranja School Fighting Plastic Pollution in Turkey

Total Croatia News

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Students from Popovac Primary School have just returned from a week in Manavgat, a town in the south of Turkey, where they participated in the third of four mobilities of the Erasmus+ project „Kids Against Plastic Pollution“.

On January 12th, 2020, Dorian Hranić, Dora Knez, Mateo Koprivec, Ema Rudnički, Leonora Vereš and Patrik Štainer, accompanied by teachers Goran Podunavc and Suzana Vencl, arrived in sun-kissed Antalya to continue their fight against plastic pollution with new friends from Turkey, Norway and Romania.

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The host organizers prepared a program full of interesting activities. First, students learned how to make a successful campaign against plastic pollution. In international groups, they then made posters which they used to attract the attention of passengers during the beach cleaning later in the with. Using their own examples, the students showed that each change starts within each of us. The students also heard from the governor of Manavgat, who spoke about what the town does when it comes to the problem of plastic pollution.

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With slogans and drawings on posters, the students pointed on the problem of plastic pollution and on the need for action from all of us when it comes to saving nature. During a visit to one of the wastewater treatment plants in the town, they heard shocking facts regarding the most common plastic objects that wind up in the sewage. During the summer the population of 300 hundred citizens in Manavgat grows to one million. Irresponsible guests are the ones who mostly throw wet towels in toilets and since they are non-degradable they also wind up in seas and oceans.

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Workshops and lectures, also as quizzes, made the participant even more aware of the currently huge problem of plastic pollution and inspired the students to continue with the wave of positive changes in their local communities, as well as worldwide, by using the power of the Internet and social media.

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Also, there was time for visiting a mosque with four towers in Manavgat, exploring the ancient port city Side (2nd-century Antique Theater, Apollon Temple, museum) and a boat ride. In addition to the activities related to plastic pollution, the days were filled with culture and nature sightseeing which left no one indifferent.

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A day before going home, the delegation visited Antalya, which is often called one of the most beautiful cities on the Turkish riviera. The participants walked through the old city and enjoyed the streets full of restaurants, souvenir shops and small hotels, which are situated in the old houses previously used as residences. During the visit to Mevlevihane museum, the students learned that the origin of the spinning ritual (also called sema) is attributed to a widely revered holy man called Rumi, who preached inclusivity, tolerance, love and respect for all, regardless of their religion. The trip finished in a magical way, as the delegation saw the end of Düden Falls which drops off a rocky cliff directly into the Mediterranean Sea.

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The students did not only get to experience their first flight by plane, but also got to live with Turkish host families. The students got to meet the Turkish way of life first hand, including their customs, but also felt their huge hospitality.

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„Since I live in a Christian family, for the first time I saw how it is to live with Muslims and I had the chance to see their way of life. In the house of the boy Erdem I felt very comfortable, and his parents gave the Norweigan boy Vegard and me a warm place to stay,“ said fifth-grade Croatian student, Dorian. He added: „Also, I learned how many years are needed to degrade some plastic products and what each of us can do for a better world without plastic. By learning and having fun with new friends, also I managed to fall in love.“

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“Being in Turkey with this project was a wonderful experience. We were received with kindness and warmth by our host families, who showed us nothing but hospitality and love. It was a very eye-opening experience, since we visited a water plant where plastic is gathered so that it doesn’t end up in the sea. And the figures were shocking: around 3 tonnes of plastic end up daily at the plant, only from the hotels’ area. We also drew posters and cleaned up the beach in Manavgat, in order to get a little bit closer to our goal and be an example for the locals. But while dealing with plastic related issues, we also found time to have a great deal of fun. We visited ancient ruins, went on a boat trip, played games, learned traditional dances and let’s not forget one of the most important parts: We loved Turkish food,” said 16-year-old Romanian student Ana-Maria Avram.

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„I feel sorry for everyone not being here to experience what we have been through“, said the 15-year-old Norwegian student Anna Bakke. She could not stop talking about her fantastic host-family who took her with them to visit their whole family, showing her Turkish customs and giving her the experience of a lifetime. Throughout the week, she and the other students from Bergen, had through the different activities learned more in a week than most pupils do during a whole school year. About culture, plastic-pollution and how we can prevent it, in addition to getting new friends and learning something about themselves.

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Since the way back home was long enough, there was plenty of time for making new plans for the upcoming mobility in Bergen and Odda, with the main accent on a very important conference where some of the results of the project will be presented.

The Croatian students came back to Baranja on the 18th of January 2020, and their satisfaction suggests that the program of this mobility was quite a success.

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All the project activities, which are financially supported by the Agency for mobility and European union programme, can be followed on the official Facebook and Instagram page „Kids Against Plastic Pollution“.

You can follow the latest from Popovac school on Facebook


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