Nataša Crnković, Center for Environment: „Center for Environment for more than 12 years is against building new hydropower plants and we support citizens from all over Bosnia and Herzegovina that are fighting for the same cause in their local communities. Founding the Coalition we want to solve the problem of unplanned approach to hydropower plants from the start and our reaction from one river to another. We want the voice of people, experts and NGOs to be heard, that new hydropower plants are not welcome.”
More than 300 projects of hydropower plants in Bosnia and Herzegovina threaten to destroy all of our rivers, so we need common approach at the national level and campaign to fight against these projects. That is the reason why in June this year we started The Coalition for River Protection, which gathers organizations and individuals that deal with this problem.
Jelena Ivanić, Center for Environment: „There are many examples where hydropower plants brought nothing but damage and where the local community is against them, but they are still being built, like hydropower plant Medna on Sana river. The coalition will support local community to get involved in the decision making, and make a common attitude about hydropower plants in Bosnia and Herzegovina.“
There are numerous positive examples from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the most successful campaigns that managed to save the rivers or part of them are Sutjeska, Hrčavka, Vrbas, Neretva, Ljuta, Buna, Una, Unac, Željeznica.
Robert Oroz, Ekolological-humanitarian organization Gotuša: „Our fight against hydropower plants on the river Željeznica in Fojnica lasts over 10 years. The biggest fight was on the field, the canyon of the river Željeznica, in the village Gotuša. We stopped the entry of machines in the riverbed with our own bodies and 325 days and nights we were there in shifts so we can alarm local community and other activists to prevent works together. Also, with legal acts we stopped the projects.“
Beside environmental organizations, in the Coalition we appreciate organizations and individuals that show how rivers can be used sustainably, with minimal effects on the environment and with benefits for local community.
Nikola Stanković, Kayak canoe club Vrbas: “Banjaluka became world kayak center and it was classified in the calender of competitions of the World Kayak Federation. Because of manifestation of sports on Vrbas, Banjaluka is visited by more than 300 sportsmen and there are more than 4000 nights in the hotels. Beside the tradition of kayak that is long more than 70 years, there is also boat characteristic for Vrbas, dayak, which is one of the symbols of the city and many other potentials directly connected with Vrbas and its river basin. It would be huge damage that the built of hydropower plants destroy the sport and touristic potentials.“
The Coalition adopted „The declaration of suspension of plans for building of hydropower plants and ecological use of rivers in Bosnia and Herzegovina“, and in the next period, it will act towards institutions, media, investors and public, and the focus will be rivers that are the most endangered with the plans of hydropower plants.