In April 2016, Arnika (Prague) and Centre for the Environment (Banja Luka) are monitoring current cases in Republika Srbska of Bosnia and Herzegovina – and trying to support struggle of local communities for better environment. Part of the whole-year project is educational programme for law students at Banja Luka University and their involvement in local cases.

At the outskirts of Banja Luka, capital of Republika Srbska of Bosnia and Herzegovina, wood manufactory operates for 10 years already.
 
 
The owner of the small factory asked local people whether they do not mind if he constructs a family house here. But he never intended to live in the area.
 
 Neighbours of the factory suffer from noise, dust and stink of chemicals used in wood manufacturing. Distance between the facility and family houses in just few meters.

The wood manufactory never asked for permission for its operation. Authorities started to deal with the case only recently after numerous complaints of the locals.
 
 
Banks of the river Vrbas are still natural, even in the centre of Banja Luka. Its biggest island – Ada – looked like a rainforest… till recently.
 
 
The government declared the project as “a public interest” and the city granted the businessman a long-term concession for using the island.
 
 Businessman running fancy restaurant with a little ZOO decided to turn Ada island into another attraction for locals and visitors.Nature is turning into a fun zone fast. Right now, nesting herons cannot understand why people decided to destroy their island.
 
 
Even outside the industrial zone, number of smaller-scale industrial facilities can be found in Banja Luka. Unfortunately, many of them in sight of residential areas.
 
Here in Lozionicka street, people get used to the close vicinity of the railway, but cannot stand polluting industries.
 
Family houses are protected from dusty industrial site only by transparent fence. It does not help from the dust and noise at all.
 
Three brave neighbours decided to fight for their rights. At the beginning, they tried to moralize the businessmen, now they want them to leave their street.
 
At the territory, four industrial companies processing the scrap metal operate. The fifth opened the reloading of the bauxite ore in here – it causes the major problems.
 
Quite typical in Bosnia: bauxite ore reloading company did not ask for any permission and it also uses the lands illegally. State authorities were inactive for years, and so was the state-owned railway company, owner of the land. Orange bauxite or is being dumped on open ground, without any fencing or other protection measures.
 
Vrbas river, Krupa village – a location with extraordinary natural and cultural value. Several 500 years old water mills stand here by the wild water stream.
 
Visitors can observe traditional milling technology – a mill-stone powered by the water.
 
What is the most surprising: the water mills are still fully functional and used by local farmers. Miller Djordje proudly presents his device.
 
Area of the wild water streams and romantic mills is endangered. Privet companies supported by the government plant to erect not far from here several tens meters high dam with the power plant.
 
Middle of the forest? Not really. Banks of Vrbas river are not regulated even in the centre of the city of Banja Luka, the river streams through rapids and does not lose its natural shape.
 
Selling fleshly milled flour is simple and prices more than affordable.
 
 
New hydro power plant on Vrbas river. One of about 200 newly planned or already constructed plants on wild mountain stream, problematic from environmental point of view.
 
Construction of the power plan requires excavation of the river banks.
 
InterEnergo company is a part of Austrian-Slovenian Kelag consortium. It promotes itself as investor to the green technologies.
 
Water power plants change the level of the water and natural character of river ecosystem.
 
There is virtually dry river bed under the dam.
 
Fish ladders are built according to present-day technologies, but the fish can hardly use them when there is virtually no water in the stream.
 
Major part of the energy produced is exported.
 
Construction of another water power plant started only recently.
 
In the canyon of virgin river, every technical construction causes heavy hits.Part of the rivers stream will be directed to the turbines – and level of water in the river will significantly decrease.
 
Wild stream of Vrbas river is popular for rafting.
 
In 2016, world championship in wildwater canoeing happened here. Narrow gorge is ideal not only for rafting...engineers see here ideal opportunity for construction of the dam.
 
The river stream is almost disappearing after the power plant, which threatens all life dependent on water.
 
Destructive impact of uncontrolled construction of hydroelectric power plants is being explained to us by our guide Viktor fro the local NGO Centar za životnu sredinu.
 
Deep forests of central Bosnia were recently cut by new road construction near the springs of the Sana river. In the heart of nature, the Austro-Slovenian Kelag company recently started to build a new hydro power plant.
 
A group of activists filed a complaint against already issued environmental and of construction permits and environmental impact assessment (EIA) and has asked the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining to terminate the concession contract.
 
Even though the coalition of activists won the case, the construction continues illegally without any attention of the state authorities.
 
The springs of the Sana river are located in the pristine nature of the mountains around Mrkonjic Grad.
 
Sana river is one of the six most important rivers for the globally threatened Danube Salmon or huchen (Hucho hucho). This river provides the backbone of the remaining huchen population in Europe.
 
Three springs of crystal clear water supply the Sana river – one of them springs from a cave.
 
Eko Zona Zelenkovac – a tiny village of artists working far from the noise of the city - is one of the bases of citizens' fight to save the springs of Sana river.
 
People coming here value nature and oppose the construction of new power plants.
 
Construction of the Medna power plant is underway only about 300 meters from the springs of the Sana river.
 
Several other power plants are planned to be constructed downstream.
 
Water at the springs is fresh and clean.
 
The junction of the three springs of Sana river is a popular fishing spot.
 
Historically, the power of the wild river was utilized for such water mills.
 
Limestone rock formation and untamed river create picturesque forms.
 
 
 

Arnika in the World