The “Clean Serbia” project is also a solution for the Danube and Sava

RTS reports that Austria and Hungary take care of the water quality in the Danube, but also the words of Sandra Dokić, State Secretary in the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Serbia, who stated that with the “Clean Serbia” project, Belgrade is also planning to build new facilities so that wastewater no longer goes to Danube and Sava.

European countries invest significantly more funds in the processing of wastewater, and with the treatment and protection itself, experts admit, they started much earlier than Serbia.

As reported by RTS, good examples are Austria, Germany, Luxembourg and The Netherlands, which treat 100 percent of their municipal wastewater. In addition to protecting the environment, often by processing waste water, they also provide part of the city’s energy for electricity and heating.

When it comes to the Danube River, Austria and Hungary are making sure that good quality water reaches Serbia.

“The quality of surface water in Austria is generally of good quality. Somewhere around 40 percent of surface waters are of very good and good quality, 30 percent are of moderate quality, 10 percent are unsatisfactory, and only four percent are of poor quality. And the Danube in Austria is of good quality, we have a lot of bathers here during the summer,” Dr. Bogdanka Radetić from the Austrian Environmental Protection Agency told RTS.

In Hungary, 53 percent of waste water is treated in accordance with the legislation of the European Union. “The purified water discharged into the Danube is analyzed regularly,” Laszlo Debreceni, director of the Budapest waterworks “Vizmuvek”, confirmed for RTS.

In the process of accession to the European Union, Serbia needs to fulfill the requirements from Chapter 27 that relate to the environment, and there are also standards that relate to the treatment of municipal waste water.

“In the coming period, what we need to do is to have 359 operational, functional waste water processing facilities and constructed or reconstructed sewage network. I can say that at the moment we have four billion for this area, and three billion from the Chinese loan. This is for the “Clean Serbia” program, which, in addition to the plants and sewers, should also build certain regional centers for waste management,” she said.

Sandra Dokić, who as an example of Belgrade’s intention to maintain the quality of water in the Danube at a satisfactory level, cited the preparation of project and technical documentation for the plant in Veliko Selo.

Vesić: Serbia not utilising its rivers enough

The Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Goran Vesic has said that Serbia does not utilise its rivers enough and that we had been acting as if we do not have that many kilometers of river coasts, pointing out that his Ministry is putting in efforts to better utilise our rivers in the future.

Among other things, he has stated that in Belgrade, within the scope of work that his Ministry is competent for, two new wastewater treatment factories will be built.

“The construction of one of the factories has begun, in Veliko selo, and we will also be building in Batajnica” Vesic said.

That will undo more than 90 per cent of all effluents that we have had in the rivers Danube and Sava, the Minister said and added that every year, the amount of discharged wastewater in Belgrade is in the size of 60,000 Olympic swimming pools.

“We should work together so that our rivers could become not only our treasure, but also a potential for our development, and on the other hand an attraction for more tourists and promotion of our country” Vesic stated.

Waste on shores endangers rivers and nature around them

The data which shows that on the shores of Serbian rivers, illegal landfills are forming is alarming. Intentionally disposed of waste subsequently ends up in the rivers‘ course.

Oil and grease packaging, automobile tires, creosote packaging and that of other poisonous substances, household waste and construction waste all often end up on river coast. Even though it is hard to imagine someone just dumping their waste on the river shore, that is in fact a very common picture in river forelands. The waste is most commonly disposed of in places where it is easy to access the river and its coast by car or some other freight vehicle.

Such waste often ends up in the rivers themselves, and the authorities claim that this phenomenon could be prevented with strong inspection, but also by educating the citizens.

The waste that is in the forelands of the rivers primarily endangers the very nature around the river, negatively impacts both the flora and the fauna, and by the same token, distorts the image of the shore so such places, instead of being suitable for the development of tourism or recreation of citizens, mostly become places which are widely bypassed.

Due to heavy rains and land erosion, the waste which ends up in the river course inevitably jeopardizes both the flora and the fauna of the rivers, negatively impacts the quality of water, so many rivers become polluted beyond what is treatable and re-usable. It is not a rare occurance for the operation of hydro power plants to be jeopardized due to the waste flowing in the rivers.

On the frequency of the landfill occurence on river shores testifies a crushing, at the time published data that on the shores of the Morava River, there is an illegal landfill every 200 to 300 meters of the coast. The case is similar for many other rivers.

Rivers and lakes in Serbia are something we are most often proud of, so this kind of image sends a very bad message to all younger generations, but to ourselves as well, because it testifies to a negligent and irresponsible relationship towards the nature that surrounds us.

The “Clean Serbia“ Project is currently building sewage networks which drain all the polluted waters and wastewaters towards the wastewater treatment plants so such wastewater does not end up in the river course. Equal responsibility falls on the citizens themselves, to report the inappropriate disposal of waste to the authorities, but mostly to show their immediate surroundings, by setting a positive example, how to preserve the rivers.

Without water, there is no life, so we have to react before it is too late!