247 discarded cigarette butts, around 30 plastic cups, and 18 bottles – that was the unfortunate tally from yesterday at Petehovac. The figures were reported by the members of the initiative Little Cleaning Bears in their daily report before the evening screening at the Snow-sledding slope. This organization, with branches in several counties, works on environmental clean-up, and plays a crucial role at the festival in raising awareness among the audience about the importance of preserving nature.
“Unfortunately, we still find a lot of litter here, and most of it was found on the first day of the festival at Petehovac. People throw it, perhaps not out of malice, but out of carelessness. They don’t see a trash bin right away, so they leave the litter where they are,” reveals Marijana Žnidarec, the coordinator of The Little Cleaning Bears initiative.
Cigarette butts are the main problem, and raising awareness about this was the main goal of the collaboration between the association and the festival. Among various educational workshops held here, one of the more important and interesting ones is about creating eco-friendly ashtrays from cans and other materials.
“People think that cigarette butts are biodegradable, but they actually take 10 years to partially degrade, leaving behind microplastics. We tried to encourage people to create their own ashtrays and maybe take them as a souvenir. The response to that workshop is very good, both among the young and the older visitors. Additionally, we are pleased to see that visitors are taking and returning the ashtrays we provide at various points,” says Žnidarec.
The audience has warmly embraced the charming opportunity to vote for the best film by using jars labeled with film titles, into which visitors disposed of their cigarette butts. The Little Cleaning Bears are participating in this kind of festival for the first time. “Our story aligns well with Cinehill’s, and it was a challenge for us to see our capabilities here. The impressions are very positive, and we are surprised by our recognizability and the reactions of the audience. People are slowly realizing that sometimes they do foolish things during the day. I have a feeling that we are really changing awareness,” says Marijana Žnidarec.
Help the Cleaning Bears preserve the festival’s reputation! Because we cannot leave even a single piece of paper behind!