NGO “Za Doljanku” will continue to fight by all legal means to halt the construction of the small hydroelectric power plant (HPP) Zlate on the Doljanka River, the conclusion of a public debate held at Jablanica is.

The main reason for citizens protest, they say, is that the construction of this small HPP would harm the environment, tourism potential, plant species and the biggest salmo marmoratus spawn areas in that part of Bosnia and Herzegovina and only individuals would profit.

Dženan Šašić president of the NGO “Za Doljanku” says that there are numbers of irregularities when it comes to this project.

“The environmental impact study was designed for the initial capacity of the small HPP 3.2MW, later increasing to 4.5MW. Meanwhile, the Government of Herzegovina-Neretva Canton issued a concession for the construction of small HPP Zlate with the strength of 3.2MW, which certainly does not coincide with the Environmental Impact Study. Also, the urban and building permits do not inherit the route mentioned in the Study,” says Šašić. Also, he added that citizens of local community Zlate and other local communities expressed their dissatisfaction and opposition to this project, but many feared to join the struggle.

Representatives of the Center for the Environment, who have been supporting the Jablanica citizens in their struggle for more than a year, have also participated in the public debate.

“As the pressure on our rivers grows, it is encouraging to see more and more communities who are resolutely and persistently fighting such damaging projects,” Milos Orlic from the Center for the Environment said.

The construction of the small HPP Zlate started in October last year. The investor is a well-known basketball player Mirza Teletovic who commissioned the works to the company owned by his father EKO – VAT.

Although the authorities claim that the construction of this small HPP is of strategic importance for the community, the data say differently. Specifically, the municipality of Jablanica will have, on behalf of the concession, a profit of 50,000 BAM for one year from the mini HPP Zlate and the investor 1.8 million BAM.

Doljanka is a river that runs on the slopes of Vran mountain at an altitude of 1324m and it is plowed in Neretva in Jablanica at 220m above sea level. Experts believe that the B-H Mountains of Čvrsnica, Čabulja, Vran, and Prenj are one of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe.

“Announcing National Parks (NP) in Prenj and Čvrsnica-Čabulja-Vran would prevent the further destruction of the environment. The region itself would be a tourist flourishing, as well,” Anes Podić of UG Eko Akcija from Sarajevo said.

As an example, he singled out the Italian NP Monte Pollino. The similarity of these NPs is reflected in the endemic type of pine known as Bosnian pine, which grows only in the south of Europe, on the mountains of the Balkans and Apennine peninsula.

If we look at the examples of Ugar and Kraljuščica River, the question is what is the future of the rivers in B&H if massive construction of the small HPPs continues?

According to Anes Podić, the discouraging fact is that for those who “kill the river”, there are no penalties in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This article was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the Eko BiH project and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

More information:   Miloš Orlić, milos.orlic@czzs.org

Emina Veljović, kooridnator@aarhus.ba

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