On April 10, Serbia’s capital Belgrade will see the Ecological Uprising, the first in the country’s history. The protest will be held at 1 pm in front of the national parliament.
The Defend the Rivers of Mt. Stara Planina (Odbranimo reke Stare planine – ORSP) movement is the protest organizer. It cited numerous issues that endanger human health and the environment. The gathering is supported by many organizations and associations from all over Serbia, a total of 45, including Pravo na vodu, Eko straža, Građanski preokret, Tvrđava, Trash Hero Serbia. The representatives of organizations from the region will also be at the rally.
The protest is organized by the Defend the Rivers of Mt. Stara Planina movement, but a total of 45 organizations will take part, and they jointly defined 70 demands
Even environmental activists with a long history of activism cannot remember when so many organizations were united around the same goal – to defend rivers, air, forests. The current situation is perhaps best described by the words of Aleksandar Panić, one of the founders of the Defend the Rivers of Mt. Stara Planina, who said at a meeting of 45 environmental organizations which drafted joint demands that Serbia’s environmental problems outgrew their local plans and actions.
Serbia’s environmental problems have outgrown the local activities of all organizations
Developments from all parts of the country confirm the claim. The destruction of rivers by the construction of small hydropower plants (SHPP) is happening on the Stara Planina, but also other mountains – Goč, Zlatibor, Golija, as well as in the vicinity of Sokobanja, Paraćin, Prokuplje. The air is equally polluted in Belgrade, Valjevo, Čačak, Užice, Niš, Kosjerić, Bor. All parts of Serbia can also witness the cutting of trees. And that’s not all.
Despite the great discontent of the Loznica area residents, the jadarite mine project continues there. At the same time, the citizens of Zrenjanin cannot get answers about the impact that the Linglong tire factory will have on their health and environment.
Ćuta, a local environmental leader: Everyone will come!
Aleksandar Jovanović Ćuta, one of the founders of the Defend the Rivers of Mt. Stara Planina, said participants would come from all over Serbia and the region, including Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.
“All those who are directly endangered and those who understand that they will soon have nothing to breathe or drink will come. There are more and more of them; we can say that it is all of us,” said Jovanović, adding that representatives of environmental organizations, individuals, and artists from the region would also attend the protest.
At the meeting held online and broadcast on Facebook, the representatives of 45 organizations agreed on more than 70 demands. The most important ones are:
- Implementation of the constitution and environmental protection laws!
- Harmonization of regulations with the highest standards of environmental protection!
- Participation of citizens in environmental issues!
- Information and education on environmental protection at all levels!
- Nature protection!
- Sustainable forestry!
- Suspension of construction and revision of harmful SHPPs projects!
- Preservation of water resources!
- Healthy urban environment!
- Responsible waste management system!
- Clean air!
- Good energy for everyone!
- Comprehensive sustainable development!