Over the past several months we are seeing a new wave of activism for a cleaner and greener Jerusalem, in all parts of Jerusalem. It’s great to see the energy (renewable, we hope :)) going into these efforts. It turns out that the issue of cleanliness and the environment is common to all populations in Jerusalem, all who are sick and tired of seeing a dirty city.
Much of the work is local and targeted, and is solved by working with the different professionals in the Jerusalem Municipality, and / or via various educational and clean-up activities. In parallel, we saw a need to bring the issue of sanitation and clean streets to the fore among on the political – not only the professional – level. Thus, we, together with the program partners, initiated a number of meetings with key political leaders in the Jerusalem Municipality. We wanted to hear the views and opinions of the city decision-makers. What do they think? What’s on the city agenda?
And indeed it seems that the issue of sanitation and the environment is going to be a central and leading issue for every elected official, heading into the city’s 2018 municipal elections.
We opened our series of meetings with local decision makers with the Deputy Mayor Rabbi Yitzhak Pindrus, who is responsible for sanitation on Sunday, January 28. On February 26, we met with Moshe Lion, who is today in charge of the community centers.
Activists from Palestinian East Jerusalem, from Haredi and non-Haredi Jewish neighborhoods also participated. It was obvious to all present that the responsibility for cleaning up Jerusalem is on all of us, both residents and the Municipality, elected officials and professionals. Residents told about their activities and what they seek to accomplish. They asked how they can help the Municipality to keep the city clean, and how the Municipality can help them improve cleanliness in the public sphere. They discussed infrastructure, supervision, sub-contractors, communication and joint work, budgets, procedures, information and responsibility. Hard to believe how garbage can bring people together… 🙂
The bottom line – the importance of building relationships and to work together toward a common goal – a cleaner Jerusalem. Both Deputy Mayor Rabbi Pindrus and Moshe Lion stressed that cleanliness and sanitation are central issues for him, and he’ll be able to push to do more if there is a strong rallying cry from residents, demanding the Municipality’s action.
The residents also gave updates from the field – a new subcontractor began clearing garbage in the Shuafat Refugee Camp and a group of 50 Cleanliness Promoters in the Bucharim neighborhood who will be working in the public gardens and entrances to buildings before the Passover holiday.
So this is our mission: to raise our voice that we – and the city – need clean streets. Together we’ll be able to accomplish great things.