Today, on Solar Appreciation Day, Center for Environment has published a video from a joint action of locals and activists in Kamengrad, in the municipality of Sanski Most. To show their determination in the fight against coal exploitation in their backyard, locals and activists clearly and loudly stated, that they jointly want to stop this harmful and dirty activity, showing high motivation to turn to a clean and renewable future without coal.
“Although many are still unaware of the benefits of renewable energy sources, there are more and more people in Bosnia and Herzegovina who understand that there is a future in this type of energy. We want to continue to build a positive dialogue with this local community, which has recognised the importance and strength of community in the fight against dirty energy sources and we hope that their resistance and determination will become an example to other places in Bosnia and Herzegovina, “said Majda Ibrakovic from the Center for Environment.
The mentioned open-pit mine Zlauše is located in Kamengrad, close to households and estates in the villages of Naprelje and Gorica. The mine is under the concession of the private company Lager from Posušje, which has been exploiting coal here for several years. Due to the consequences of coal exploitation, the local population is exposed to air pollution by dust from the mine on a daily basis, as well as smoke due to sporadic fires at the location of the coal deposit, noise from machines and usurpation of property. Not far from the mine is the regionally known waterfall, Blihin skok, which was declared a natural monument in our former country back in 1954, and is now endangered by inadequate storage of coal and tailings, just a few kilometres upstream from the waterfall.
A large number of locals reject the possibility of using this coal as an energy source, which is partly a consequence of defiance and resistance to the problem of its exploitation and harmful combustion, which disrupts the environment of this otherwise preserved area.
“Why it is not possible here (solar energy), what’s the difference between Slovenia, Austria or Germany and Bosnia and Herzegovina? There is no difference, the Sun shines both here and there. It is enough to make up our minds: we will work like this, because it is better and cleaner for us “, stated Samir Velić, a resident of the village of Gorice. This is not the first time that the population of Sanski Most has shown resistance to dirty energy. In the past period, the local population and the municipal council of Sanski Most have rejected the plans of the investor, the company Lager, for the construction of the thermal power plant Kamengrad twice. The last time was at the end of 2019, when a clear signal was sent that dirty coal energy was not welcome in this municipality.
This community can be an example to all other communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and is a real indicator of the direction in which our country should go in the process of decarbonisation and opposition to harmful coal projects. On the other hand, by providing a legal basis for civil energy and a kind of energy independence (through independent production and use of energy), the people could produce energy for their own needs without any barriers. This would speed up the process of energy transition and decarbonisation, and on the other hand reduce the dependence on coal.