How good is tap water in Serbia?

“In Serbia, 4 out of 10 people drink water that is harmful to their health,” warned the water expert and professor at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in Novi Sad, Bozo Dalmacija.

“In Vojvodina, 600,000 people drink water with arsenic. We know for a fact that arsenic causes skin and adrenal glands cancer,” Dalmacija told CINS.

“Realistically, today we cannot use the Danube directly for drinking water. Poor-quality water also comes from other countries, but if we look at the Morava River and all those rivers where we discharge wastewater, they are not of good quality either, so we can say that they are not usable too,” Dalmacija said, pointing out that the Morava is polluted with nitrogen and phosphorus and that the polluted canals in Vojvodina receive a large amount of wastewater and lose the purpose for which they were made, which is irrigation.

“The question is why do we irrigate our land with such water,” Dalmacija said, pointing out that all small rivers near large cities and industrial centres are polluted. “In Vojvodina, the big Bačka Canal is very problematic, containing about 400,000 cubic metres of polluted sediment that we have to remove. The Bor River, which is surrounded by mines, is basically a sewage stream. The big rivers are less affected by that pollution, but because pollution is diluted with a large quantity of water, so we feel like it’s not dangerous. However, it is becoming dangerous, especially in Lake Djerdap, where all the pollutants from all over Europe and Serbia accumulate because of the dam,” Professor Dalmacija added.

Poor water quality, as he pointed out, negatively affects fish quality and biodiversity.

In Serbia, he added, only 10 percent of wastewater is treated; the other 90 percent is discharged into rivers. “The biggest water polluters in Serbia are actually three cities that do not have sewage treatment plants. These are Novi Sad, Belgrade, and Niš. We all say we need to treat wastewater, but the question is how. We don’t have a critical mass of experts who can deal with that area, regardless of the fact that we have now received a loan from China to be used to build 70 sewage treatment plants. We have to have a technology that uses as little energy as possible, and on the other hand, we have to use everything that comes out of the wastewater. We can use such activated sludge for biogas production or as fertilizer,” Professor Dalmacija explains.

As far as the impact of mini hydroelectric power plants on rivers goes, he said that such plants should be built in parts of Serbia where there is no significant biodiversity.

(Bizlife, 06.06.2022)


This post is also available in: Italiano

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