“Clean Serbia” in step with the world – World Water Day

This year’s World Water Day was dedicated to the urgent resolution of the crisis related to water and its sanitation. With the aim of solving this problem, Serbia is implementing the “Clean Serbia” project.

According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), two billion people, or every fourth inhabitant of the planet, do not have access to safe drinking water. Almost half of the world’s population, about 3.6 billion people, do not have proper sanitation, while 44 percent of household wastewater is not safely treated.

1.4 million people die annually from diseases related to poor water, sanitation and hygiene, while 74 million people are shortened their life expectancy.

Serbia is in 47th place in terms of the amount of water surfaces. Unfortunately, numerous pollutants threaten our rivers and lakes. The preservation of drinking water, which will be the main resource in the years ahead, and the prevention of river pollution, which has now reached a critical level, and therefore of the coastal zone and the living world in it, is one of the effects of the “Clean Serbia” project.

The number of inhabitants covered by this program is about two and a half million in 69 local self-government units. The construction of over 5,206,679.31 m of sewage network is planned, and the number of facilities is almost half of the number required for the whole of Serbia (165 WWTPs).

Sombor: By parliamentary decision until the continuation of work

The Assembly of the city of Sombor adopted the Decision on Amendments and Supplements to the Detailed Regulation Plan, which also refers to the “Clean Serbia” project, within the framework of which the construction of a wastewater treatment plant and sewage network is planned.

With the construction of sewers, wastewater treatment plants will also be built. Users will be grouped, so one purifier will cover the villages of Bački Breg-Kolut-Bezdan-Bački Monoštor, Stanišić

will have a separate treatment plant, the settlements of Aleksa Šantić-Svetozar Miletić-Čonoplja-Kljajićevo will go directly to the treatment plant in Sombor

“Sombor has always fought for us to get the possibility to build a sewage system and treatment plant, because we have a long tradition in wastewater treatment – the first treatment plant was built in 1965,” said Jasmina Bobić, director of PUC “Vodokanal” Sombor.

Last month, the Minister of Agriculture, Transport and Infrastructure, Goran Vesić, announced the start of the second phase of the works within the Clean Serbia project in Sombor.

Finishing works in Baba Zlatina Street in Vranje

After completing the works on the reconstruction of the Baba Zlatina Street in Vranje, placement of paving stone is currently in process, by which the street will be returned to its original state. As part of the “Clean Serbia” Project, sewage network has also been done in this street.

Citizens of Vranje are very familiar with the Baba Zlatina street which is also a protected cultural and historical property, and to the wider Serbian public it is also known as the street where the  writer Bora Stankovic was born. The works on the reconstruction of the said street were initiated last year, and were completed through several phases.

The first phase of works in this street was initiated by the “Clean Serbia”. The works included the reconstruction of wastewater sewage network. The street is 297 meters long and wide from 3 to 4 meters. The works were financed with the funds from the Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure.
The second phase included the construction of stormwater sewage, reconstruction of the water supply line and the road, i.e., placement of the new pavement stone. This phase was realized with the funds from the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications and City of Vranje.


In preparation for the International Day of Action for Rivers

Several thousands of water streams flow through Serbia, in the total length of 66,000 kilometers. Rivers are some of the most susceptible ecosystems, and the biggest problem poses the lack of sewage, Serbian experts warn with regard to the International Day of Action for Rivers.

“The fact that Belgrade and Novi Sad discharge their sewage into the Danube is not as big of a problem. We are talking about a powerful river and while you blink, six liters of its waters flows. Rivers that big are self-cleaners. The Danube flows out of Serbia cleaner than it flows into it. Not because we take particular care of our rivers, but because the length of its flow in Serbia is almost 600 kilometers, therefore there is enough time for it to self-clean. The problem starts with smaller water streams, which are not as powerful as the Danube, and citizens more often than not discharge their sewage directly into such water streams. The Baricka River and the Topciderska Bolecica River are in far worse state than the Danube or the Sava River” spoke for the newspaper ‘Politika’ Associate Professor Vladimir Pavicevic from the Department of Environmental Engineering of the Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy in Belgrade.

Dr Pavicevic has emphasized, in his statement for the aforementioned newspaper, the importance of the “Clean Serbia” Project:
“By polluting the surface waters we also pollute the ground waters, and all of that directly impacts the food chain and leaves serious consequences on the health of the people. In order to save both the health of our people and our rivers we must make the construction of sewage a priority. At least 70 per cent of settlements needs to address the problem of sewage network in order to be able to collect the water which would later on be treated. The State has initiated the “Clean Serbia” Project, which is worth 3.6 billion Euros and which includes the construction of 7,000 kilometers of sewage network and more than 250 wastewater treatment plants.  All of the previous Governments turned a blind eye to this problem, because sewage can hardly been seen nor does it sound attractive enough to collect political points, but without it, human lives are in danger.”

Pavicevic deems it necessary to strengthen inspection services and employ more inspectors, because, as he stated, it is not a rare occurrence for industrial facilities which are connected to the municipal sewage to discharge water without the previous pretreatment, and if they do so, it is usually only when the inspection arrives.

409 km of sewage network is planned for the Pčinja district

409 km of sewage system will be built in the Pčinja district, announced the Minister of Construction and Transport, Goran Vesić, presenting the project to the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić.

The Minister of Construction, Communications and Infrastructure, Goran Vesić, presented the project for the construction of a sewage system for the collection, removal and purification of waste water in the area of Vlasina to President Aleksandar Vučić, during his visit to the Pčinja district.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, as part of his visit to the Pčinja district, also visited Vlasina Lake, which will receive a sewage system for the collection, removal and purification of waste water in the area of Vlasina, and announced that the state will invest a lot of money in infrastructure and tourism development of Vlasina Lake.

“In order to do everything, it costs a hell of a lot, which the municipalities of Surdulica and Crna Trava have not seen in the last 70 years. Only this sewage system with purifiers will cost around 45 million euros, although now they say it will be 34 million euros”, said Vučić and added that everything has become more expensive, as well as building materials.

The president added that the investment in the complete infrastructure would certainly cost more than 100 million euros and pointed out that it is very important that private investors invest in Lake Vlasina, and not just the state.

Minister Goran Vesić Vesić pointed out that an 83-kilometer long sewage system will be built on Lake Vlasin, with a total value of 34.5 million euros.

The system will have two waste water processing plants, north and south, and 5,500 people will be able to connect to the northern plant, and 3,000 citizens to the south, explained Vesić.

According to him, the design of that system is currently being done, and about 78 kilometers have already been done with location conditions

“This project will enter the third phase of ‘Clean Serbia’, with Bujanovac, Vladičina Hana, Surdulica, Vranjska banja. “A total of 409 kilometers of sewage system, worth 200 million euros, will be built in the Pčinj district,” said Vesić.

He added that in the coming weeks, a contract for the construction of the second phase of “Clean Serbia” will be signed, within which sewage infrastructure and infrastructure for the disposal of municipal solid waste in Serbia, worth as much as 500 million euros, will be built in 16 municipalities. In the ongoing first phase, work is already underway at 16 locations in 14 municipalities worth 336 million euros. The entire Clean Serbia project includes the construction of sewage and wastewater treatment plants in

89 municipalities. “When the project, worth 3.5 billion euros, is completed, 2.7 million people will receive sewage,” said Vesić.

“From the moment we start building the sewer ring around Vlasin Lake, in the summer of 2024, it will be completed in two years,” said Minister Vesić.

In the third phase of the “Clean Serbia” project, in addition to Pčinjsko, facilities will also be built in the part of the Jablanica district where 148 km of sewerage and five wastewater treatment facilities worth almost 82 million euros will be built.

photo: srb.gov/Dimitrije Gull

Agropress: Western Balkan countries invited to action

A group of experts and non-governmental organizations from 11 countries published a list of 88 priority rivers for protection and called on the countries of the Western Balkans, signatories of the Berne Convention, to expand the Emerald network, the Organization for Political Ecology and the Initiative announced “The right to water”, reported by Agropress.

The Emerald Network was established by the Council of Europe in 1989, according to the Convention on the Conservation of European Wild Flora and Fauna and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention), and it consists of areas of special importance for nature protection in order to preserve plant and animal species in their natural habitats.

It is recalled that, as signatories of the Berne Convention, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia began inclusion in the Emerald network in 2011, when they proposed a small number of areas for protection.

To date, no country has expanded that list – most areas do not have any protection under national legislation, no one manages the areas, and systematic collection is not ensured data or necessary resources, it was stated in the announcement.

Because of all that, as pointed out, most rivers and fish species are still not protected. The list of rivers that was published is the result of the Emerald Green seminar organized by the non-governmental organization CEE Bankwatch Network in December 2022.

The participants of that seminar collected relevant scientific data on certain fish species and their habitats, on the basis of which a list of rivers that should be included in the Emerald network was prepared.

It is recalled that the Western Balkans is a globally important focal point of biological diversity, especially when it comes to freshwater species and habitats, according to Agropress

Mountain ranges, rivers, lakes and coasts are home to numerous endangered species and are important habitats for numerous endemic species that live nowhere else.

When compared to the rest of Europe, most rivers in the region are in good or very good condition, and many are ideal candidates for protection, as recognized by the published list.

Biodiversity expert, CEE Bankwatch Network Andrej Ralev said that river protection and good implementation of the Emerald network is a long-term process that requires cooperation between governments, experts, non-governmental organizations and local communities.

– Our proposal, which is based on exhaustive scientific data on fish species in the region, is an important contribution to that process. The next step is to support the governments in the region in preparing official proposals for new Emerald areas – he said.

The president of the Ecological Association “Rzav” Nataša Milivojević said that the gathering of experts who, through their many years of work, have shown that they have valuable data on biological diversity in the region, show that the seminar was a great idea that will represent a mechanism to encourage and incentivize decision makers for faster declaration of Emerald areas and their sustainable management.

Legal expert of the Organization for Political Ecology Polekol and the initiative “Right to Water” Strahinja Macić pointed out that Serbia is characterized by great genetic, species, ecosystem and landscape diversity, as part of the Balkans it is one of the six centers of European biodiversity.

– However, this natural diversity is only a small part of the Emerald areas, which are of great importance for the protection and preservation of wild plant and animal species and their habitats – he said.

He added that new Emerald areas have not been proposed since 2011, so he considers the results of the seminar to be a valuable and good basis for proposals for new areas, with a special emphasis on river basins of transboundary watercourses, states Agropress.

Janković: Mionica is changing for the better!

The President of the Municipality of Mionica, Boban Janković, once again confirmed the determination of the Municipality of Mionica to provide a healthy environment and a higher standard of living for its citizens.

Emphasizing the importance of the implementation of the “Clean Sbija” project in this municipality, Janković says: “We are continuing with the construction of a 20-kilometer sewage network and two wastewater treatment plants.”

Janković points out that the implementation of this project will solve the major problems faced by the citizens of Mionica and Banja Vrujci.

The municipality of Mali Zvornik finances the planning documentation

The President of the Municipality of Mali Zvornik, Zoran Jevtić, during the adoption of the budget rebalance for 2023, announced that this Municipality will finance the preparation of the entire planning documentation for the needs implementation of the “Clean Serbia” project.

Jevtić is talking about the projects on which the Municipality of Mali Zvornik emphasizes and the “Clean Serbia” project, the value of which is around 23 million euros. “The project, Jevtić reminded, envisages the construction of a sewage network and 11 wastewater treatment plants on the territory of this municipality.

The “Clean Serbia” project, as he stated, is the priority of Mali Zvornik along with the revival of the Radaljska spa, as well as the reconstruction of the regional road to Krupnje, the importance of which, when it is completed and put into use,

among other things, except in terms of tourism, it should be reflected in the significant shortening of the road and the reduction of costs when taking garbage to the Kalenić regional landfill.

By May, 25 km of sewage network in Kragujevac

In Kragujevac, as part of the “Clean Serbia” project, 17 km of the planned 43 km of sewage network have been completed so far. Considering the intensity of the works, it is expected that the first 25 km will be completed by May 25, and the mayor of Kragujevac, Nikola Dašić, has announced that the second phase of the works will soon be completed.

The mayor of Kragujevac, Nikola Dašić, and deputy mayor Ivica Momčilović and their colleagues visited the works that are being carried out at as many as six locations in Kragujevac as part of the “Clean Serbia” project.

For the works that are currently being carried out in Milovan Grujovića Street (Veliko Polje), Zvornička Street (Ćava), Karaula 5 (Beloševac), Branislav Miljković (Ilićevo), Pera Dobrinović (Petrovac) and Anne Frank (Petrovac), Dašić stated that perform with the expected dynamics, which was greatly contributed by the mild winter.

“The work is progressing according to the expected dynamics. Now we are about 17 km away from the projected 43 km. It is important to go out in the field and see how the work is going, because the picture is much wider than when you only get figures in the office. The project that will be implemented in the next few years is large and involves the construction of a 360 km sewage network. The first 25 kilometers of the network should be completed by May,” said Dašić, stating that the works were carried out continuously, even during the holidays in January.

Deputy Mayor Ivica Momčilović particularly emphasized the good cooperation with the contractors, the Chinese corporation CRBC, which consistently follows the predicted dynamics.

“There is practically no part of the city where we have not started the construction of the sewage network. All those who may have doubted this project at first can now be convinced that it is a serious project. It seems to me that a project of this scale in the communal area has not been seen in Kragujevac so far. We have quality control that monitors the entire project, which guarantees that the technical quality of the network will be outstanding.

In parallel with this work, the streets are restored to their original state. Our idea in this project, I mean the city of Kragujevac, is to restore the streets in full profile. This means that it is not only done what is the contractual obligation with the contractor, but that the city, from its own resources, enables the streets to return to their original state and to be the way the people of Kragujevo deserve, completely reconstructed, with new asphalt,” said Momčilović.

As stated during the tour of the works, the beginning of the second phase of the project, which refers to the city center, is expected soon. At the beginning of the second phase, the works will take place in five locations, in the streets: Vojvoda Mišić, Vojvoda Putnik, Karađorđeva, Miloj Pavlović and Lola Ribara. Preparations for the start of works in the mentioned streets are already underway.