Aaron in Azerbaijan

Just another blog about Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan Celebrated Earth Day By Trashing Polyethylene Bag

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Earth Day passed here with little fanfare. Peace Corps Volunteers and Azerbaijanis alike had ideas of doing various community projects, such as trash pick-ups and environmental awareness seminars:

The Azerbaijani Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry reported that activities to plant trees and take care of greenery will be organized throughout the country on Earth Day – April 22.

Round tables, meetings and workshops aimed at environmental awareness will be organized in schools and colleges in Azerbaijan.

The Ministry encourages the public to actively participate in the community work day to take care of greenery.

Earth Day is a day that is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s natural environment. Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in which was first held on April 22, 1970.

I take particular pride in knowing that the above-mentioned senator is not only from the US, but from Wisconsin, my home state.  So that all sounds good, right?  Yet, nothing captures the spirit of the day better than the US Embassy-sponsored event, “I Am Against Polyethylene Bag”:

Head of “EkoSfera” center Firuza Sultanzadeh said that the contest is held among the pupils for preparation of the best eco-bag model and the purpose is to attract the youth’s attention to the decrease of polyethylene bags which damage the ecology and their substitution with the bags, prepared from the ecologic material. The team which will take the first place will be awarded with souvenirs and diploma.

In his speech, Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan Terry Davidson underlined the importance of protection of the environment and supported this initiative.

I’m still not entirely sure what the eco-bag model idea could be. Sounds good, though: reducing plastic bag usage in Azerbaijan would be fantastic. A trip to the bazaar or to the shop down the street could potentially provide you with enough plastic bags to clothe a small city. And though you can ward off their advances, your seller really wants to give you that plastic bag, even if you say no.

Interestingly, Azerbaijan has previously cracked down on plastic bag miscreants:

The State Service for Antimonopoly Policy and Consumer Protection of the Azerbaijani Economic Development Ministry during monitoring in a market, located in Qashqai 152 st., in Baku’s Nasimi district has revealed the absence of certificates of compliance and health and other relevant documents for 48.4 kilograms of packets of polyethylene bags under the brand names “Foto”, Qırmızı palas”, “Amerika” and “Bantik”, the ministry said.

Unfortunately, it also looks like SOCAR, the state oil company, is looking at increasing production of polyethylene.


Written by Aaron

April 24, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. My partner Sandra works at the International School of Azerbaijan and as part of her current teaching unit [Sharing the Planet], is working with her seven-year-olds on recycling plastic [especially bags] into other useful objects. Today we had fun creating multi-colour pom-poms and Sandra has plans for a fancy, multi-coloured skirt.

    We need to substantially reduce the amount of plastic we produce and recycle as much of what currently exists…


    April 24, 2011 at 3:36 pm

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