Landfill Zaglavica ©Igor Kalaba
After receiving reports from the local population that representatives of the Municipality of Drvar are slow and inadequately responding to the problem of fire at, according to representatives of the local community, an illegal landfill in the Zaglavica Local Community, the team from the Center for Environment visited the mentioned landfill to provide support to the local community and to determine the facts on the ground.
“This is not a rare case where small communities are ignored, and their residents are endangered either due to incompetence or negligence. In such scenarios, conscientious individuals who, despite dangers and pressures, decide to seek justice and a clean environment are particularly at risk. These people are beacons of justice in our society, and we will always do our best to help them and bring their struggle to the public eye,” emphasized Igor Kalaba from the Center for the Environment.
Igor Kalaba ©Nataša Crnković
In addition to supporting people on the ground, the Center submitted a request for access to information to the Municipality of Drvar. The next activities related to this case will be based on the information gathered, concerning permits for the opening and management of this landfill.
The fire at this landfill broke out on September 3rd, and the first to react was Petar Pećanac, president of the Zaglavica Local Community. “After my daughter noticed black smoke, I immediately informed the mayor of Drvar, Dušica Runić. She directed me to call the Civil Protection, which I did, after which I called the police and the municipal inspector. Civil Protection failed to extinguish the fire; they only sprayed the surrounding vegetation to prevent the fire from spreading. The next day, the landfill was burning on the other side, indicating that someone had deliberately set the fire. I reported it to the mayor again, but she was supposedly traveling, and the fire did not go out for days. Only after we threatened to block the landfill and not allow new waste to be brought in did the mayor announce that steps would be taken to remediate the landfill,” Pećanac emphasized. He recalled that in 2017, they blocked a burning landfill, and at that time, the authorities promised to inform them about the next steps in regards to the landfill treatment.
Petar Pećanac ©Igor Kalaba
“Since then, as representatives of the local community, we have not been informed, not once about activities related to the landfill. Nevertheless, this is a significant achievement; we managed to pressure the authorities into reacting. If there is will, they could also exert the same pressure on their superiors to systematically solve this problem.”
Živana Sabljić, an activist from Drvar, says she is sorry that she always speaks out on an unpleasant occasion.
Živana Sabljić ©Igor Kalaba
“This time it’s the landfill in Zaglavica that emits gray and black smoke, which, as a layman, I don’t know if it’s dangerous or not, but it’s certainly an ugly image coming from Drvar. In a city where those in charge are irresponsible, in a country where right is wrong, it seems that only the media are left for someone to hear and see us. I sincerely hope that next time I will have the opportunity to show the clear source of Bastašica, beautiful waterfalls in Martin Brod, Tito’s Cave, a paraglider takeoff location, Black Queen, historical monuments, and the beautiful nature of my city.”
The landfill in Drvar is not an isolated case. Inadequate and illegal landfills that poison the population and destroy the environment are found throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, from Omačina on the Lim River, a tributary of the Drina, to Zaglavica near Unac, a tributary of the Una, as well as at numerous locations in between.
“It’s a systemic problem often blamed on irresponsible citizens, but whom should they look up to if local, entity, and state authorities violate laws and endanger the population? A holistic approach to the problem is necessary. Landfills themselves are a necessary evil that must be properly treated in accordance with regulations and laws that are at the moment well written. What is missing however are strategies to reduce waste, through separate collection, and reuse and recycling,” emphasized Igor Kalaba.
Photo: I. Kalaba