Environment

Belgrade sees EUR 6.5 billion in investments lowering pollution

Belgrade sees EUR 6.5 billion in investments lowering pollution

Photo: Đorđe Jovanović from Pixabay

Published

January 27, 2020

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Published:

January 27, 2020

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Deputy mayor Goran Vesić has laid out a five-year plan to combat pollution in Serbia’s capital. Together with investments by the country’s government and other partners, spending in Belgrade comes in at EUR 6.5 billion. The sum for combating pollution includes EUR 3.86 billion projected for the first two lines of the city train, which would partly run underground.

The subway project is, however, seen for completion in up to eight years, according to Vesić. In his words from an interview with Kurir, street traffic will weaken by 30%. Another EUR 600 million is earmarked for 38 trains and the construction of 186 kilometers of railway between Obrenovac and Surčin and from Makiš to Karaburma, the official said. In order to cut pollution in public transport, he stressed, there will be no more purchases of diesel-powered vehicles.

The only contracts will be for systems running on compressed natural gas (CNG), namely methane, and electric units, he asserted and revealed plans for diesel buses were abolished. Still, trolleybus orders were also scrapped, Vesić suggested. The local authority recently canceled two trolleybus lines.

The city decided to order only electric vehicles and those running on CNG, scrapping plans for diesel buses, but new trolleybuses are also out of the picture

Belgrade won’t have a single bus on diesel in seven years, the deputy mayor claimed. The city government is continuing to install chargers for electric vehicles in its parking lots, he said. Vesić highlighted the predicted expenditure of EUR 34 million for electrification and switch to CNG within municipal enterprises.

Infrastructure and heating

Two tunnels set to be built under the city center are worth EUR 150 million in total, he said. Vesić also promised one hundred kilometers of bicycle lanes and another ten kilometers of pedestrian zones.

The top official promises one hundred kilometers of bicycle lanes and another ten kilometers of pedestrian zones

Turning to individual furnaces for heating, he said there are 300,000. Consumers will get incentives to connect to district heating or gas pipelines, but it will also become a legal obligation if the network is accessible, the deputy mayor warned.

Belgrade is getting 306 kilometers of heating lines and 250 kilometers for gas while EUR 34 million will be allocated for phasing out polluting furnaces, he said. Subsidies for the cleaning of chimneys will land at EUR 5 million, compared to EUR 10 million for the maintenance of existing individual furnaces and boilers and to add filters, in Vesić’s view.

He pointed to the ambition to establish an energy efficiency fund for buildings as well as the infrastructure for recycling, like transfer points, as a giant waste incinerator is about to be constructed. The top decision maker said EUR 26 million would be used to plant one million trees and that 50 kilometers of green walls would be erected in five years.

Industry is not biggest problem

He estimated factories are not the city’s biggest problem with regard to pollution. The deputy mayor stated Belgrade would get 25 new stations for analyzing air quality and 245 more public meters.

Earlier he said he was pleased because the European Investment Bank approved a EUR 1.5 million grant for technical documentation in the projects for sewage in Kaluđerica, an eastern suburb, and wastewater processing in Ostružnica.

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