Suburban composting craze turns industrial corner of Bosnia green

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GORNJA TUZLA, BOSNIA (REUTERS) – In a suburb outside one of Bosnia’s most polluted industrial towns, a growing army of housewives are battling for the environment armed only with compost bins and food scraps.

Close to the northeastern town of Tuzla, a centre for coal-mining, coal-generated electricity and chemicals, the suburban community of Gornja Tuzla has become an unlikely hotbed of organic fertiliser production. Inspired by veteran compost enthusiast Nezira Fisekovic, 72, and boosted by a European Union donation of 80 compost bins, the women of Gornja Tuzla have embraced the joy of fertilising their gardens and orchards with their own naturally made plant feed.

“All these years I have not used any other fertiliser than this one,” said Fisekovic, pointing to the black plastic composter in her back yard. A precursor in this area, Fisekovic has been making her own compost for 17 years. “The neighbours used to borrow it from me, and when they saw how good and healthy it was for the plants, they also began making their own.” Fisekovic proudly says her neighbours always admire her string beans and other vegetables for being so tasty. She also credits her natural growing and eating habits for her good health. “I never visit doctors,” she said.

The composting community in Gornja Tuzla began to grow a decade ago thanks to workshops by a local organisation, the Centre for Ecology and Energy (CEE), and last year’s donation from the EU “Suburban Recycling” project accelerated the trend.

Azra Ramic, one of the new converts, has been using her garden waste and vegetable and fruit scraps to produce her first batch of compost. She is motivated about producing a natural fertiliser but also reducing her household waste. “I hope to have my first own domestic produce, from my garden grass and leaves, in a month,” she said excitedly.

The community is leading in other environmental projects as well, such as switching to green energy sources in all public institutions and promoting energy efficiency in homes, said community leader Maida Mehmedovic. The Tuzla local government provides subsidies for these