Center for Environment welcomes the decision to stop the construction of the hazardous waste incinerator in Zvornik, which would lead to immeasurable damage to the health of the inhabitants in this municipality, as well as to the environment. This plant will not be built, because the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction and Ecology of the Republic of Srpska rejected the request of the company MEDIC OTP for construction after the identified flaws that make the project unfounded for the continuation of the procedure.
The main reason for rejection is the planned location of the incinerator in area Karakaj, which has 2828 inhabitants. In the immediate vicinity of the location intended for the construction of the facility is an Alumina factory with a kindergarten, several businesses, numerous houses, with the closest being 150 meters from the planned incinerator, school and gas station.
A large number of associations, individuals and experts sent objections of the project to the responsible ministry, and as they point out from the Mountaineering and Ecological Society „Korak“, which is among the initiators of the motion to stop this project, they are satisfied with the decision.
“Given all the circumstances that accompanied the project, and taking into account the expert opinions on the project that we sent to the Ministry in cooperation with other organizations and individuals, we are satisfied with the decision and thankful to all the associations, groups and individuals who recognized the importance of this topic for the health of our fellow citizens, the future of our city and the entire region, and gave their contribution to achieving goals of common interest,” said from the society „Korak.“
Marko Mimić from the Sports Fishing Association “Bistro” Zvornik points out that the area of Karakaj is already sufficiently endangered by air pollution from the alumina factory, very frequent traffic and the city landfill on the bank of the Drina.
“For us, as an association of fishermen, a big problem would be the wastewater that would reach the Drina. On the other hand, as citizens, it was unacceptable for such a facility to be built in the immediate vicinity of kindergartens, communities and megamarkets. In the pile of environmental problems, this is a small victory, above all a victory of common sense. Whether it is temporary or not remains to be seen. The time is ahead of us, and we are here to try to preserve for our children at least a little of what we inherited,” said Mimić.
From the beginning, Center for Environment monitored the development of the situation related to this project, and the representatives of the organization made remarks on the project at a public hearing held in March in Zvornik.
“Bosnia and Herzegovina currently has no registered waste incinerators on its territory, so this project was a pioneering attempt to introduce a solution to the waste problem. We are glad that there was a reaction from the citizens of Zvornik and the public which showed awareness about harmfulness of such projects. Incinerators are outdated systems that have proven to be an even greater threat then landfills countless times, especially in underdeveloped environments that do not have the capacity to regulate caused pollution. This is the case now, because there is no institution in the country that performs measurements of hazardous substances from the exhaust gases of the incinerator, which is a precondition for appropriate supervision and monitoring “, points out Milica Končar from the Center for Environment.
In December 2019, the investor MEDIC OTP submitted a request for approval of the Environmental impact assessment study for the project of thermal treatment of hazardous waste in the area of Karakaj in the city of Zvornik, which was put on public display from January 31 to March 31 this year when public discussion was held in the municipality of Zvornik. At the public discussion, concerns were expressed about the justification of the specified project and a large number of questions were asked, most of which were not resolved, because the investor himself did not attend the discussion.
In addition to numerous organizations and associations from the civil sector, comments on the study were submitted by the RS Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, RS Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, Republic Institute for Protection of cultural, historical and nature heritage of RS and the city of Zvornik as well as two local communities. In addition, the results of the survey of the City Administration of Zvornik were enclosed, where a large number of citizens expressed dissatisfaction, which is a positive example of experts that used their knowledge, but also the actions of the local population involved in this process.