Serbia allocates unacceptably low levels of funding for environmental protection, which is why it is lagging far behind the rest of the world. In the coming years, most money should be invested in establishing environmental standards in the areas of water management, landfill site maintenance and waste management, but also in finding solutions for polluted air. Fortunately, socially responsible companies, international institutions and organisations, the nongovernmental sector, the governments of EU member states and others are coming to the rescue in areas that the state doesn’t manage to reach.
LAW ON CLIMATE CHANGE ADOPTED
Members of the Serbian National Assembly adopted the Law on Climate Change in mid-March, which Environmental Protection Minister Irena Vujović says represents the first step in a decisive fight against climate change.
“Climate change is a global problem that unites us all, and that’s why the Republic of Serbia is continuing to provide its contribution to this global struggle with the adopting of this umbrella law, while at the same time confirming its responsibility towards our citizens. When it comes to climate change, Serbia has shown that it is striding determinedly towards the European Union. One of the priorities of the Green Agenda is the adoption of a European climate law, and the European Commission has adopted a legislative proposal for this law. With the adopting of this law, Serbia confirms that it is on the road to Europe,” said Vujović.
ADDITIONAL CONTAINERS FOR GLASS PACKAGING
Following last December’s start of the arrival of 1,000 recycling containers for glass packaging in the region, the project “Management of Glass Packaging in the Western Balkans” has been expanded to encompass eight more municipalities. Alongside Sombor, Niš, Bihać, Novi Travnik, Shtip and Ilinden, these containers will also be distributed in Kragujevac, Varvarin, Konjic, Ilidža, Skopje, Bitola, Gevgelija and Tetovo.
Launched by GIZ – the German Organisation for International Cooperation, in cooperation with companies Sekopak, Pakomak and Ekopak, one of the main goals of this project is to increase the amount of glass packaging collected in these municipalities by 20% and achieve profitability in glass recycling. With the financial support of Apatin Brewery and German development cooperation, worth a total of 300,000 euros, Sekopak and NALED will allocate 300 recycling containers for Niš, 150 for Sombor and 120 for Kragujevac, while the citizens of Varvarin will have 30 such containers at their disposal.
JUST SIX WATER INSPECTORS NATIONWIDE
Strengthening the capacity of inspections is essential, because there aren’t even local environmental protection inspectors in small communities, while the lack of national inspectors raises a question about the extent to which they can protect the health of citizens.
“This year we expect the hiring of 28 new national inspectors, because the problem of communal and industrial waters that are discharged without prior treatment and represent the main polluters of water surfaces is currently taken care of by a total of just six national inspectors across the entire country. And given that this increase still won’t resolve all the problems, competencies should be transferred from national to local inspectors, at least conditionally, in cities and municipalities where there are enough inspectors and funding for their work,” says Olivera Kikanović of the Network of Inspectors of Serbia (MINS).
ŠABAC WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT REPRESENTS GOOD PRACTICE EXAMPLE
Under the auspices of the reform campaign “Month of Water”, which was launched by the 3e Association and the Network of Inspectors of Serbia (MINS), together with NALED, representatives of the association visited the wastewater treatment plant in Šabac in order to familiarise themselves with the system’s working model and share examples of good practice with interested local governments.
The Šabac plant is actually an example of good practice that can also be applied in other cities and municipalities. It demonstrates how a local government can also help the local economy with its investments. Instead of having to construct entire systems for the treatment of wastewater, companies from Šabac and the surrounding area can now merely install pre-treatments for wastewater, which reduces the costs of investment markedly.
BELGRADERS TO PAY FOR TRANSPORT WITH PET PACKAGING
According to the tender to operate and maintain the system for charging tickets and managing vehicles in Belgrade’s public transport sector, which was announced by the City of Belgrade at the beginning of the year, the plan is to introduce a recycling machine that will enable users to receive discounts on public transport in exchange for waste deposited.
“We are launching a completely new system of recycling, or waste separation, in the city. We are creating 17 recycling yards and will install automated collection machines throughout the city, where citizens will be able to insert PET packaging. Instead of receiving money in return for that packaging, they will be able to press a card against the machine and receive money that they will be able to use for public transport services or some other discounts,” said Deputy Mayor of Belgrade Goran Vesić.
KONRAD ADENAUER FOUNDATION TO HELP SERBIA WITH GREEN AGENDA
Serbian Environmental Protection Minister Irena Vujović has held discussions with Norbert Beckmann- Dierkes, director of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Serbia, on cooperation and joint action aimed at raising awareness of the number one topic in Europe : the European Green Deal and the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans.
According to Minister Vujović, cooperation was agreed with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and is reflected in the provision of support on the implementation of key aspects of the Green Agenda and exchanges of experience and the knowhow of German experts in the fields of waste management, wastewater and air quality, as well as on the preparation of projects that will be jointly implemented by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Konrad Adenauer foundation.