Posted 17 августа 2023,, 06:40

Published 17 августа 2023,, 06:40

Modified 17 августа 2023,, 09:36

Updated 17 августа 2023,, 09:36

In Bashkiria, local residents almost drove a family out of the village for eco-volunteering

In the Bashkir village, neighbors harassed a schoolboy for cleaning the streets

17 августа 2023, 06:40

In Bashkiria, local residents almost drove a family out of the village for eco-volunteering

A 12-year-old eco-activist has been ridding his native village in Bashkiria of garbage for several years. He goes out on subbotniks alone and organizes other volunteers. But not all villagers share the boy's enthusiasm — he often has to listen to insults. The situation escalated so much that the family wanted to move.

Julia Suntsova

12-year-old Matvey Aniskin has been trying for three years to make his native village of Iglino in Bashkiria cleaner. The student has repeatedly helped the services to green the area, regularly goes out to clean up garbage and fights illegal landfills. The boy runs a blog where he talks about environmental problems and suggests how to solve them. In addition, he developed a project to clean up the Belekes River.

In March of this year, Matvey even received a commendation from The President of the Russian Federation.

«I try to take part in all environmental actions. If we go to another area or fishing, I always take a garbage bag. I try to save money so as not to ask my parents to buy me bags, » Matvey said.

But all this time the guy is constantly faced, to put it mildly, with the bewilderment of fellow villagers. The boy's mother was accused of forcing her son to «clean up the garbage, » and threatened with custody.

Indifference, petty dirty tricks, threats, insults and even outright sabotage — the young volunteer and his family faced all these phenomena on an increasing scale.

At some point, his parents suggested that his son move to another city, but the boy insisted that it was too early to give up. At the family council, Matvey categorically refused to leave his native village. The family supports Matvey, even the younger sister boldly makes remarks to adult trash uncles, and the guy himself decided to take up boxing. Just in case.

Matvey's attitude, as he himself said, was influenced by his family — first of all, his grandfather. He watched all his childhood how he cleans the yard and the territory around the house every day, maintains order in the household.

At the age of eight, Matvey visited his homeland — the Nurimanovsky district of the republic and was amazed at the differences. There were crystal clear lakes, endless fields and rich nature, and, lo and behold, all this was not covered with mountains of garbage. The native area where the family now lives was not so environmentally friendly.

Next to the house is clean, but you move two meters away — and you don't know where to go from the garbage, the student said.

After returning from Nurimanovsky district, he ran down the street and collected everything that people «accidentally» dropped, put things in order even in the ditches.

But the next morning, the guy was horrified to discover that there was no trace of the former general cleaning — the street was again covered with garbage. And Matvey began to clean up again, and the next morning, too, and then again and again, day after day.

«We have to fight for cleanliness, » says Matvey. — Although the hands often dropped. Sometimes I said to myself that that's enough, I won't go anymore. But the morning came, I took the bag again and went out into the yard.»

Two places in the village turned into spontaneous landfills. Although they are not gigantic, they are not pleasant enough. The young eco-activist and his grandfather collected all the garbage, took it to containers and covered the site with sand. The dump died a natural death.

But the new spontaneous dump did not keep itself waiting — the locals chose a ditch next door for it.

«While walking with my sister, dad saw a woman with a child throw a bag into a ditch. My sister was five years old at the time, and she was the first to make a remark. In response, the woman swore obscenely and hurried away, leaving her garbage in the ditch, » says Matvey.

According to him, when he first started collecting garbage, he tried to talk to people. But the villagers only twisted at the temple, someone called him a scavenger. I also had to fight with boys who, in response to comments, started waving their fists.

Officials found out about the harassment of fellow villagers. The Ministry of Housing and Communal Services of Bashkiria promised to help the student with the implementation of his projects and thereby support him.

Over the past three years, Matvey Aniskin has conducted 300 self-saboteurs and organized 200 more, invented the actions «Green Bashkiria», «Water of Russia», «Plant a Forest», «Garden of Memory», passed a competitive selection to the children's council under the Ministry of Construction and Housing of the Russian Federation and became a person with whom local officials consult.

For example, together with the head of the village Council, Matvey chose new sites for municipal waste and helped to improve them. And the boy also cleared the garbage from the territories where he would like children's and sports grounds to appear. The project is already ready, and the Ministry of Housing and Communal Services promised to help the student with its implementation.

Since then, misunderstandings on the part of neighbors have diminished, but reasons for quarrels still appear.

«An alley was planted on our street in honor of Maxim Georgievich Petryashev, a veteran of the Great Patriotic War. Do you think everyone was happy? No. The very next day, a peasant took his goats out there for a walk, and those trees were devoured. The owner of the animals said that planting is better done in the yards, and there is nothing to climb on the street, they say. We planted trees again, but they were destroyed again! Since then, you can't remember exactly how many times this alley was planted, and how many times it was destroyed again and again. But for now it is still there, » says Matvey.

The boy admits that over the years of eco-volunteering, he had to go through a lot.

But he does not stop hoping that the resistance will disappear one day, and his native village will become clean and green.

«I have a cool grandfather who supports me in everything. My grandmother is a doctor, she is responsible for my health. Mom is also a very eco-friendly person. Dad is the strongest, one look from him is enough for everyone to understand everything. Well, my main friend is Masha. My sister, who is even braver than me. I manage to change people's opinions, albeit slowly, but, you know, water sharpens a stone, » Matvey sums up.

Recently, he still has like-minded people among his peers who share his interests and go out on subbotniks with him.