Since 2001, EUR 598 million has been invested in environmental protection in Serbia, of which EUR 402 million was donated by the European Union and the rest by the Republic of Serbia. The EU grants were used for the construction of wastewater treatment plants, the reduction of pollution from the thermal power plants (TPPs) owned by public power utility Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS), and the construction of regional landfills.
In a bid to motivate citizens to improve the state of the environment together with relevant institutions, but also to demonstrate what has been done in the past 19 years, the EU Delegation to Serbia and the Ministry of European Integration, in cooperation with the Ministry of Environmental Protection, launched the campaign “Look around – Move,” which took place from mid-June to mid-July.
Some of the most important projects funded by the EU:
- Automatic air quality monitoring with 28 new stations throughout Serbia
- Development of the nature protection system NATURA 2000
- Construction of wastewater treatment plants in Subotica, Šabac, Leskovac, Kula, and Vrbas
- Reconstruction of water supply systems in Požarevac, Inđija, and Petrovac na Mlavi
- Construction of a water supply system in Veliko Gradište
- Construction of the ash disposal system in Thermal Power Plant (TPP) Nikola Tesla (TENT) B
- Construction of filtration systems in TPPs TENT A and TENT B
- Installation of equipment for the monitoring of emissions of harmful substances installed in TPPs TENT A, TENT B, and Kolubara A
- Construction of regional landfills for Pirot, Užice, Sremska Mitrovica-Šabac, and Subotica
- Development of the medical waste management system.
Until 2030 the EU plans to support projects in around 20 cities and municipalities in Serbia – from Loznica to Kragujevac, Užice, and Brus.
Wastewater treatment plants will be built in Loznica, Pančevo, Kraljevo, Brus, Blace, Kragujevac, Sokobanja, and Užice. The construction of the regional wastewater management system (which will include the municipalities of Arilje, Požega, Kosjerić, and Ivanjica) is planned in the Zlatibor district. Sokobanja will also get a new water supply system, and in Kragujevac, the construction of the Regional Waste Management System is planned to be used by the municipalities of Aranđelovac, Knić, and Rekovac. Investment is also planned in the third phase of remediation of the Grand Bačka Canal.
Green Days in Užice, Šabac, and Subotica
According to the portal of the EU Delegation to Serbia, the campaign was launched with the action of cleaning the Savski Kej in Belgrade, which gathered about 200 citizens, while Green Days were organized in Užice, Šabac, and Subotica.
In Užice, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Sem Fabrizi, Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović, State Secretary at the Ministry of Environmental Protection Dragan Jeremić, and Mayor Tihomir Petković visited the Duboko landfill, the first regional sanitary landfill in the country.
Fabrizi noted that the Duboko landfill is used by 9 municipalities and receives 80,000 tons of waste annually.
In Šabac, Ambassador Fabrizzi and Mayor Nebojša Zelenović visited the Wastewater Treatment Plant, a project worth EUR 18.4 million, of which almost EUR 10 million was an EU donation. The plant has been in operation since the end of 2017, treating 17,000 cubic meters of wastewater every day.
Zelenović said that Šabac has EUR 30 million worth of projects financed by the EU.
During the Green Day in Subotica, Fabrizi, Assistant Minister of Environmental Protection Filip Abramović, and representative of the Ministry of European Integration Aleksandra Radinović visited the Regional Waste Management Center, which will be used by Subotica and 6 surrounding municipalities (Senta, Kanjiža, Bačka Topola, Mali Iđoš, Čoka, and Novi Kneževac).
The EUR 24 million plant is in the testing phase, backed by a EUR 20.3 million donation from the EU.
Help for the last couple of imperial eagles and mural of recycled waste
In Subotica, Fabrizi also visited the area where the EU project “PannonEagle – Protection of Imperial Eagle in the Pannonian Plain” is being implemented, near the city of Srpski Krstur. As part of this project, which began in 2016, the last breeding pair of imperial eagles in Serbia – Bor and Eržika, is being protected.
During the campaign, Belgrade got a new mural, this time from recycled material collected during the campaign. The mural of the griffon vulture, a protected bird species in Serbia and the world, was made by artist Ivan Kocić. In the future, it will decorate the building of the Elementary School Ivan Goran Kovačić.
The mural is a product of four successfully overcome challenges on social networks that were part of the campaign. Over a month, four young influencers tried to lead by example and show that everyone can do something for the environment: to live for at least a week without plastic, to plant plants and trees, and to collect the waste they encounter (see the Instagram profiles: @uvrnuti_sotovi_, @lutajuci_putnik, @slavendoslo).