River Pollution


The breathtaking Balkan River is transformed into a floating trash dump.

A river that is renowned for its stunning scenery and emerald-colored waters has been transformed into a floating garbage dump by tons of waste, including refrigerator freezers, used tires, and plastic bottles.

Due to the wet weather, the Drina River in Visegrad, eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina, is overflowing with trash.

A barrier in the river has accumulated waste from unregulated riverside landfills, leaving a vast carpet of pollution that covers the entire width of the water.

A Bosnian hydroelectric plant installed fencing a few kilometers upstream from its dam to contain rusted barrels, appliances, driftwood, and other trash picked up by the river from its tributaries.

Environmentalists claim that the town has become an unofficial regional waste dump as a result of the blockage.

Numerous rivers and streams in Bosnia, Serbia, and Montenegro overflowed as a result of heavy rain and unseasonably warm weather, displacing a large number of people.

This isn’t the first time the area has become full of trash; in 2021, the same thing happened, putting people’s health and the ecosystem there in danger.

Dejan Furtula, of the environmental group Eko Centar Visegrad, said: “We had a lot of rainfall and torrential floods in recent days and a huge inflow of water from [the Drina’s tributaries in] Montenegro which is now, fortunately, subsiding.

“Unfortunately, the huge inflow of garbage has not ceased.”

The Drina River, which runs 346 kilometers (215 miles) from the mountains of northwestern Montenegro through Serbia and Bosnia, is popular with rafters because of its vivid green color caused by the limestone terrain.

In the past few days, approximately 10,000 cubic meters (or 353,000 cubic feet) of waste are thought to have accumulated behind the barrier. In recent years, the same quantity was extracted from that section of the river.

The waste will end up in a landfill and could take up to six months to remove.

Mr Furtula said the local waste site “does not even have sufficient capacity to handle [the city’s] municipal waste. The fires on the landfill site are always burning.”

He called the conditions there “not just a huge environmental and health hazard, but also a big embarrassment for all of us.”

The Balkans have fallen behind Europe economically and environmentally after three and a half years of brutal warfare in the 1990s that resulted in 100,000 deaths.

The countries in the region have attempted to become members of the European Union and have also adopted a few of the EU’s laws and regulations, but they have not made much progress in constructing waste disposal systems that are efficient and safe for the environment.

In addition to river pollution, air pollution is extremely high in many countries in the western Balkans, with some towns ranking among the world’s most polluted.


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