Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Kosovo, the EPA's Nightmare

It is tradition in Kosovo for Labour Day to burn tires.  The tradition of making fires for the 1st of May dates back nearly 2000 years according to friends.  The tire burning goes back to old Yugoslavia under Tito.  The festivities usually begin the evening of the 30th so when I went home on Monday, the air was filled with thick black smoke and the fire department was responding to two large fires in the garbage dump at the top of Dragodan.  Obilic was also pumping out a putrid black smoke that made some of us wonder if they were burning tires in the power plant instead of coal!  I have some pictures that I just need to download of the fires and Obilic...I'm sure if I sent them to an EPA officer, the person would faint at the idea of the pollution :o)
For the two fires near my house, KPS and the fire department responded but probably after discovering that the fires were intentionally set by celebrators both left and the fires continued burning.  However in Podujevo, five Albanians were arrested for assaulting four KPS officers and trying to prevent firefighters from extinguishing their fires.