Ana Batrićević – Workday at Vinča landfill


Belgrade landfill Vinča exists since 1977. With its surface exceeding 70 ha, it is the largest waste landfill in this region. The waste from almost all city municipalities. Although it does not always look like that, this waste is considered non-hazardous – household, construction and cumbrous waste, rubble, soil, tin… Total daily income of waste includes more than 2.700 tones. Upon the arrival, the waste is sorted, compressed and covered with rocks and pebbles to prevent its spreading . Where there is no more space left for new layers, the trees are planted.

Layers of waste, that landfill employees call " The Great Wall of China", have been growing for decades, seriously risking to endanger humans, plants and animals nearby. The seagulls constantly flying around Vinča are an exception. They see it as a feeding place and continue scattering waste, dirt and diseases. In spite of being the source of hazard, from environmental standpoint, at the same time landfill Vinča represents the source of earnings for socially most endangered persons. By collecting and sorting raw materials from immense piles of waste, under dangerous, unhealthy and inhumane conditions, these men, women and children are struggling to provide their living incomes. Landfill Vinča is awaiting sanitation and remediation – the salvation for the environment, but also a threat to the survival of waste collectors, who will no longer be allowed to visit it freely in search for raw materials. Their destiny is uncertain and so is the future of nature that is slowly withdrawing in front of expanding amounts of waste.

Their workday has been photographed by Ana Batrićević, PhD, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Criminological and Sociological Research in Belgrade, within her field research on environmental protection in Serbia.