Smart Bag and Green Reading Room won at Climathons in Subotica and Čačak

Global climate event, dedicated to addressing the climate challenges, was held in Subotica and Čačak on 25th and 26th October.

Within 24 hours six teams from Subotica, four from high schools and the other two from an IT company and an environmental civil society organization, came up with solutions to improve the waste management system in the city. The best innovation idea –  Smart Bag – was devised by a group of  students from the High School “Svetozar Marković” and the School of Economics “Bosa Milićević”. Their idea is to make a cotton bag with multifunctional benefits for consumers, as an incentive for people to carry their bags from home and abandon the use of plastic bags.

– We wanted to combine two challenges, textile and plastic waste. We did this by making our own bags out of used cotton and textiles, so that fabrics are not thrown away as waste. If our bag gets torn, it can be easily replaced with a new bag, so that the material circulates constantly. That would reduce waste and the use of plastic bags – explained Anđelka Matković from the first-ranked team.

The “Gladiators” team won the second place, with a solution for two global challenges: massive logging and electronic waste. The idea is that device similar to a tablet, the “e-nout” would be rented to students at schools at a cost of around 1,000 dinars annually.

– This device would replace the notebooks because it could be written and read on, so that instead of printing books, publishers would simply transfer them to the device in a machine-readable format. Currently, one of the global problems is logging, with about 4.3 billion trees cut down annually for paper-making, and about 2,000 sheets of paper used daily in schools, and this would be an effective way to solve it – explained Stefan Bobić from “Gladiators” team.

The invention of the team that won third prize is related to the recycling of electronic devices with a goal to improve the environmental awareness of citizens and environmental protection. The “Subo3ica” app enables users to gain information about where they can recycle their electronic devices, how to properly dispose electronic waste etc.

– It is an app that works on a local level, with various services available including routes of garbage trucks, placing ads for donation and reuse of appliances and similar information – said Stefan Popić, from the third-ranked team.

Other participants, though not awarded, also came up with interesting solutions and support for the realization of their ideas is in the planning. Realising their ideas would enable the reuse of glass in the production of souvenirs, the smart refrigerators that would notify users of the remaining food, while the recycled material would be used for the construction of roads.

Climathon in Čačak, themed “Green City”, was held in the Science and Technology Park. The challenge was to enrich and maintain existing green spaces in support of the fight against climate change. Question about how Čačak can be made a greener, more climate-resilient and a more pleasant city was answered by 28 participants in 7 teams.

The “Čačak High School” team’s solution “Green Reading Room”won first place. Their idea is to green a part of the City Library roof and create a green reading room, a pleasant corner for the book-lovers. This new green space will improve the energy efficiency of the building and as reduce CO2 emissions and air temperatures in that part of Čačak.

The idea for the “Green Corner” – to arrange a plateau within the Cultural Center so that it fits the needs of the youth as a clean, green and healthy meeting place – by “Evergreen” team won the second place.

“Bambi” team won the third place with the “Green thread” solution, which proposes arranging terraces and neglected spaces between the House of Culture and City Hall, in order to make it greener and suitable for wedding ceremonies.

Other teams: “Energo town”, “ECoMETAr”, “Ecotopia” and “Green oasis” offered different solutions to make the city squares, streets and walls greener, and help the City of Čačak become more climate-resilient.

The Mayor of Čačak Milun Todorović announced the winners, and with the support of the State Enterprise for Forest Management “Srbijašume – the Čačak Forest Administration”, each participant received maple tree seedlings, with the obligation to plant the tree.

This year’s Climathon was also held in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Niš, as well as in more than 200 cities around the world.

Climathons in Čačak and Subotica were held within the project “Climate Smart Urban Development Challenge”, implemented by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), with support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and in cooperation with Climate KIC Serbia.