What damages will the reduction of wastewater discharge fee cause?

The Serbian government plans to reduce the wastewater discharge fee from 25 to 0.025 dinars per cubic metre.

Experts believe that the decision is not in the best interest of people in Serbia as rivers and creeks will become additionally polluted and will not stimulate the polluters that have not been paying the fee so far to start paying it.

“This is yet another move in a series of destructive systemic rules and laws related to the protection of our waters, which are already threatened and under attack,” says hydrogeologist and member of the National Environmental Association (NEA) Branislav Božović Denis.

He adds that if Serbia ever joins the EU and the country has to abide by laws that govern the Union’s environmental and economic sectors, we will have to accept that but Božović fears that, by that time, it would be too late.

He also refutes that big rivers like the Sava and the Danube can take more wastewater than others.

“That is simply not true. Wastewater settles in the sediment, it gets into the animals, and the ecosystem. 40 years ago, when the tailings pond in Majdanpek burst, we conducted tests after a few years (since the incident) of aquatic and terrestrial animals (animals in the water and those living near the water). We determined exactly when the pollution occurred by examining the stomachs of frogs, fish, and moles. Pollution enters the genetic code and causes various illnesses,” Božović warns.

There is a lot of cover-up, says Božović, and mentions the Lido island near Zemun, where a military pontoon bridge is being built so that people can cross the river and reach it more easily.

“Next to the very beginning of the bridge, on the Zemun side, lies the biggest pump in the Zemun sewage system, where faecal and other water is discharged into that backwater. A pontoon bridge now blocks this waste and cannot flow away. Only 200 to 300 metres away there is the Lido swimming pool, frequented by children,” says Božović. 

According to various estimates, Serbia needs around 300 wastewater treatment plants.

Regarding discharge wastewater fees in regional countries, Croatia pays the equivalent of 14 dinars per cubic metre of discharged water.

(Nova Ekonomija, 14.09.2023)


This post is also available in: Italiano

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