Minister of Environmental Protection Goran Trivan and Ambassador of the Netherlands to Serbia Henk van den Dool have signed a grant agreement under the Netherlands’ ORIO programme for the implementation of a wastewater treatment project in the City of Leskovac.
A EUR 7,671,000 grant will be allocated under the ORIO programme for the construction of a wastewater collector and more than 80 km of the sewerage network for the City of Leskovac and surrounding settlements, while the total value of the ORIO project for water treatment in Leskovac is EUR 7.91 million.
Van den Dool said that the grant is part of the funds that will be invested in wastewater treatment in Leskovac and its surrounding settlements.
Thanks to the wastewater treatment, living and health conditions will be better for more than 20,000 inhabitants of Leskovac and surrounding settlements, while the environment will be more protected, the ambassador said.
According to Van den Dool, the agreement represents an important step in achieving EU standards, and harmonization with EU acquis and practice in the water sector, which is a necessary step in in the process of EU membership negotiations.
Mayor of Leskovac Goran Cvetanović thanked the Netherlands for this and other projects it supported to provide the citizens of Leskovac and surrounding settlements with better sanitary conditions and a healthier environment. He thanked the ministry for helping accomplish this important project successfully.
It is extremely important that Leskovac obtains the sewerage network and the necessary infrastructure for wastewater treatment, which is not only of local but also of national importance, Trivan said.
In the forthcoming period, the ministry will support local municipalities in the drafting of spatial plans, which is necessary for obtaining financial support and fixing environmental problems.
Cities in Serbia are beginning to realize the importance of environmental protection projects and how their implementation contributes to a healthy and good life, Trivan said.
300 wastewater treatment plants are needed
The Ministry of Environmental Protection estimates that Serbia needs about 300 wastewater treatment plants, an investment worth EUR 4-5 billion.
Only about 10% of wastewater is treated in Serbia or 7 times less than in the EU countries, while out of several dozen operational wastewater treatment plants in Serbia, only a few are functioning as they should.
In the last few years, wastewater treatment plants have been built in Subotica, Šabac, and Vrbas, while construction is in progress in Raška and project design underway for Kraljevo, Brus, Blace, and Niš. Most of these projects are funded by the EU.