Thousands gather in Serbia to protect the environment

Belgrade, Serbia (AP) — Serbian protesters rally on Saturday to protect the environment in Balkan countries, which have experienced record levels of air pollution and many other ecological problems after decades of negligence. I demanded that the government do it.

Thousands of people gathered outside the Serbian Parliament building in Belgrade’s capital, saying that the “ecological rebellion” against what the organizers say is a widespread environmental destruction of the country seeking to join the European Union. Stated. Some people wore face masks to prevent the coronavirus, but not all.

Serbia faces serious problems such as poor waste management and high air pollution caused by the use of poor quality coal and other pollutants. Rivers are polluted by toxic industrial waste, and many cities, including Belgrade, lack good sewage and wastewater systems.

“We have come to say’no!’, Says Alexander Jovanović, a member of the movement against building a small hydropower plant on a river in Serbia.

Protesters raised a flag stating, “Cut off corruption and crime, not the forest!” Or “water is life” and “plant trees!” — Refers to the shrinking green spaces of cities, especially Belgrade, where huge concrete residential areas have emerged in recent years.

“I think this is the most important topic in our lives,” said protester Bojana Jovanović.

Protesters demanded a ban on the construction of small hydropower plants, better environmental education, greener urban areas, and cleaner air. International studies suggest that air pollution is shortening the lives of people living in the West Balkans.

Hours before the rally, the Serbian Ministry of the Environment said many problems in Serbia were not new and claimed that the government had launched a project aimed at finding long-term solutions to pollution. Environment Minister Irena Vyovich later described the protest as political, saying that the organizers wanted “quick political interests” rather than working to resolve the issue.

Bosnian activists participated in the protest, saying that everyone in the region shared the same concerns.

Balkan countries need to significantly improve their environmental protection policies if they want to proceed with bidding to join the EU in 27 countries. After years of crisis in the 1990s, many Balkan nations hurt by poverty and corruption have pushed environmental problems to the bystanders.

Last winter, Bosnia and Serbia received worldwide attention after photos of a large number of PET bottles and other debris-filled rivers washed away from poorly managed landfills and illegal garbage dumps. I collected it.

While much of the air pollution in the region is due to outdated coal-fired power plants, activists have also accused Serbian authorities of blinding to pollution caused by foreign-funded projects.

“This is our country!” Said Jobanovich. But under one condition: there should be no addiction to our children. “