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.