Timişoara wins the 2013 Earth Hour City Challenge in Romania



Posted on 12 March 2013  | 
Timisoara - EH City Challenge 2013, Final.
Timisoara, Earth Hour City Challenge 2013.
© Livian HoticoEnlarge
The city of Timişoara in western Romania has won WWF’s 2013 Earth Hour City Challenge, becoming the country’s new Earth Hour capital. The title brings with it the opportunity to host the official Earth Hour event on 23 March together with WWF Romania.

As part of the competition, the citizens of Timişoara collected 3,58 tonnes of plastic bottles, topping the table for active citizenship. The city of Botosani came second with 2,9 tonnes of plastic bottles piling up in the city centre, while Ploiești came in third with 2,71 tonnes collected by citizens of all ages. At day’s end, over 9 tonnes of plastic bottles were collected and dispatched to local recycling centres.

“This year's event sought to raise the bar even higher for the competing cities than last year”, said Magor Csibi, Director of WWF Romania. “This year we are focusing on quality and achieving real results for citizens. We also made it a bit harder for cities to enter the competition, so as to be able to assess their environmental policies more accurately”.

“For the first time in this competition, the same city won our two-stage competition, demonstrating that Timişoara is both the most environment-friendly city in Romania and that people living here are extremely active citizens”, Csibi said.

The city’s plans for the Earth Hour celebrations include turning off the lights of the most important buildings in the city and in the old city centre, a star-gazing event, performances by candle-light and many other activities.

“In this year’s Earth Hour City Challenge, Timişoara is both the brain and the soul of Romania, so we look forward to a memorable event on 23 March", Csibi said.

In 2012, the town of Bistrita in Northern Romania was chosen as Romania’s Earth Hour capital. Bistrita’s citizens won the WWF challenge to collect as much plastic packaging for recycling as possible.

The Earth Hour City Challenge is a competition between cities in Romania, regardless of their size or location, which was launched by WWF Romania during the 2012 Earth Hour campaign. The competition was inspired by WWF’s global Earth Hour City Challenge and will be repeated each year in order to stimulate local authorities in Romania to strengthen their environmental engagement and to start innovative projects that are of benefit to both people and environment. In this way Earth Hour becomes an opportunity for public bodies and citizens alike to show their concern for the environment as well as readiness to take action.

How Botosani, Ploiesti and Timişoara made it to the final

During the first stage of the competition, Timişoara got the highest score – 81,3 points out of 100. The city participated in the competition and final for the second time. In the “past projects” category Timişoara City Hall gathered the most points for energy efficiency, environmental education and biodiversity conservation. Under “future projects”, energy efficiency and environmental education were again the strongest points in the city’s application.

Botosani ranked second with 75,6 points out of 100, participating in the competition for the second time, but getting to the final for the first time. The city’s strongest points under “past projects” were green spaces (with 27,34 m2 per capita - above the European average) and education. Under “future projects”, plans for environmentally friendly transport gained most of the points.

Ploiești ranked third, with 59,6 points out of 100, a new and welcomed entry in the competition. In terms of “past projects” the city got the most points for environmental education, transportation, biodiversity conservation and for the good environmental practices implemented within the Town Hall. Transportation and biodiversity were shown to be priorities for the future too.

A challenge for us all

Earth Hour is a worldwide event organized by WWF and held towards the end of March annually, encouraging households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour to raise awareness of the need to take action on climate change. The event first took place in 2007, when 2,2 million residents of Sydney participated by turning off all non-essential lights. Following Sydney's lead, many other cities around the world adopted the event in 2008. Earth Hour 2013 will be held on March 23, 2013 from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., at participants' local time. Over 6500 cities in 153 countries are expected to take part, demonstrating that nearly 2 billion people around the world want to do something tangible for the environment.
Timisoara - EH City Challenge 2013, Final.
Timisoara, Earth Hour City Challenge 2013.
© Livian Hotico Enlarge
Botosani, Earth Hour City Challenge 2013.
Botosani, Earth Hour City Challenge 2013.
© Cristian Timofte Enlarge
Ploiesti - EH City Challenge 2013, Final.
Ploiesti, Earth Hour City Challenge 2013.
© Doru Oprisan Photography Enlarge

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