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Story and photos: Serhiy Bezborodko

Illustration: #OlgaShtonda


NGO Eco Misto managed the only working waste sorting center and plastic recycling workshop in Chernihiv before the full-scale Russian invasion. Chernihiv was in a siege during the March and its citizens were under the constant shelling by the Russian Armed Forces. The Eco Misto volunteers vacated the premises of their Youth Center for the military needs and handed over all their equipment and tools to the frontline. As a result, environmental activists had to look for a new occupation during the wartime.

They quickly found a solution. The public transport in Chernihiv stopped running in the first days of the escalation and a fuel shortage took hold. People needed some alternatives, namely bicycles. Therefore, the volunteers launched the bicycle center and campaign #BikesForUkraine.

With the help of bicycles, Eco Misto was able to deliver food, medicines, and hygiene products faster to vulnerable groups, such as persons with reduced mobility, people with disabilities, and older adults. European partners donated 120 used bicycles which Eco Misto repaired and distributed to volunteers, medical responders, and social workers. The communities that had suffered the most from Russian aggression were the first to receive support.

According to Serhiy, the head of Eco Misto, a bicycle has become the most important vehicle in Chernihiv, and there is abundance of cyclists on the streets now.


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