“Islands of plastic rubbish” create environmental disasters in the Balkans – NRK Urix – Foreign news and documentaries

With its clear green water, the river Drina flows through the mountains on the border between Bosnia and Serbia.

Normally, the river in eastern Bosnia is one of Europe’s gems and attracts paddlers from all over the continent

In recent years, Drina has been mutilated plastic and other rubbish. Now the situation is particularly dramatic after a lot of rain has brought rubbish down the river.

Aerial photo shows what the news agency AP describes as “plastic islands” in front of the dam of the power plant.

Aerial photos show the huge amounts of plastic bottles, barrels, planks and other rubbish that have accumulated in front of the Visegrad dam.

Photo: Eldar Emric / AP

Huge cube of rubbish

– This is a disaster. People throw everything into the river. Not just plastic, there are dead animals, barrels, you can find everything there, says Aleksandar Mladic who lives in Visegrad.

Every year, between 6,000 and 8,000 cubic meters of rubbish are removed from Drina by Visegrad.

8000 cubic meters corresponds to a cube of 20x20x20 meters, full of plastic and other rubbish.

And it’s just at Visegrad. According to the local population, hundreds of thousands of tonnes of rubbish are dumped in Drina every year,

Although the situation is most acute in Drina near Visegrad, plastic and other rubbish are a problem in rivers throughout the Balkans.

Close-up of parts of the rubbish at the Visegrad dam.

Close-up of parts of the rubbish at the Visegrad dam.

Photo: Eldar Emric / AP

Enormous proportions

– This is a problem of enormous proportions, says Dejan Furtula in the local environmental organization Eko Centar Visegrad.

“I urge institutions and everyone else to help with the clean-up,” he told AFP.

Microplastics and other toxins from the waste now end up in the food chain and threaten both wildlife and people along the river, says Furtula.

– The entire ecosystem is in danger. All of us who live here eat fish, he says.

Along the Bosna River in central Bosnia, plastic and rubbish hang from the trees.

Along the Bosna River in central Bosnia, plastic and rubbish hang from the trees.

Photo: Eldar Emric / AP

Illegal landfills

Some of the rubbish in Drina comes from neighboring Serbia and Montenegro, which are struggling with the economy and where considerations of production and employment often take precedence over considerations of the environment.

Serbia also recently experienced something similar when huge amounts of rubbish accumulated in one of the country’s lakes, writes NTB.

There are illegal landfills all over the country, and rubbish along roads and in nature is a common sight.

Special vessels

The work of cleaning up Drina received a welcome contribution from a German company this week, in the form of a special vessel called Collectix.

One of the company Everwave’s founders, Clemens Feigl, was shocked by the pictures he saw from Drina and decided to contribute to the clean-up.

In the next few days, we will try to pick up as much rubbish as possible from the water. We will continue for 14 days and do our best, he says.

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