“The Sana must be urgently protected.” This was the message sent by over a hundred people who arrived at an event organized by the Coalition for the River Sana. This year, the event was organized in support of the initiative for the protection of the source of the River Sana, the Mračaj sink, and the canyon downstream from the town of Prizren.

“For ten years the Coalition for the River Sana has been pointing out the natural values of the river and the need for its protection. Despite the recently built Medna hydro power plant that we have been unsuccessfully opposing for many years, more than a hundred nature lovers gathered here to send a clear message that this area must be protected and that the River Sana itself should be managed in a sustainable way,” stated Goran Krivić, the coordinator of the Coalition for the River Sana.

The initiative for the protection was submitted by the Center for Environment from Banja Luka and the Czech ecological organization Arnika on behalf of the Coalition for the River Sana.

“The initiative was accepted by the responsible ministry and we expect the protection procedure to begin this year. We are sorry that the authorities were not willing to protect the River Sana before the construction of the Medna hydropower plant, but we have not given up on the Sana,” says Jelena Ivanić from the Center for Environment.

The participants in the event were also informed about the “Solar Pecka” initiative launched jointly by the Center for Environment, the Pecka Visitors’ Centre, and the Coalition for the River Sana. Within this initiative an online crowdfunding campaign is being launched to raise the funds needed for the installation of a solar panel system on the roof of the Pecka Visitors’ Centre. Solar energy is an alternative that the Coalition for the River Sana advocates through its campaign against the construction of hydropower plants on the River Sana.

“The Solar Pecka” iniciative is an example of development that we would like to see along the River Sana and along other rivers of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Goran Krivić.

The Coalition for the River Sana was established in 2009 and brings together 23 associations of nature and sports enthusiasts who have been working for ten years for the upper stream of the River Sana to be proclaimed as a protected area.

Despite the long struggle of the Coalition for the River Sana to stop the destruction of the river, the investor “LSB Elektrane” from Banja Luka, under the auspices of “Interenergo” d.o.o. Ljubljana, owned by the Austro-German company Kelag International, built the Medna hydro power plant in the immediate vicinity of the source of the River Sana. A study on the economic justification of this particular project has proved that projects such as Medna are economically profitable neither for the local population nor for the state, but only for the individuals that stand behind the project.

Through the initiative for the protection of the source of the Sana, the Mračaj sink, and the canyon downstream from the town of Prizren, the Coalition for the River Sana wants to support and promote the development of sustainable tourism and water sports. The nearby municipalities of Ribnik and Mrkonjić Grad can thus have real profits, and the natural environment and drinking water will be preserved for future generations.

 

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