Big jumps instead of small hydropower plants. Join and swim for Bosnia-Herzegovina's rivers

8.7.2021 - PRAGUE / SARAJEVO
PHOTO: Jakub Hrab / Arnika

Big Jump - European day of swimming in the rivers - is being organized all over Europe to demonstrate people's relationship to rivers and lakes. Goal of the initiative is to bring attention and build support for efforts to protect and restore Europe’s freshwaters. Through a public call, Coalition for the Protection of Rivers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Center for Environment and Czech non-governmental organization Arnika demand Bosnia-Herzegovina's governments to amend the laws on concessions to prevent constructions of harmful hydropower plants. At this occasion, they invite the broad public to join and make a big jump into local rivers together on July 10th to strengthen the voices calling for better river protection.

By meeting and swimming in rivers, the organizers want to demonstrate that rivers are not and should not be only sewers, sources of water or power or a transport route, but that they are part of our lives, a place of rest and encounter with nature and its beauty. “We want to remind people why and how much we all love European rivers and that they need our protection so we could enjoy them and keep them wild and free also for the future generations,” explains Zuzana Vachunova, coordinator of the community events from Czechia based NGO Arnika.

For now, there are 12 confirmed locations where nature lovers - adults, children, groups and individuals - will gather on July 10th at 11:45 to actively participate in the celebration of our rivers. The organizers invite people to either join the event on one of the confirmed locations or pick their own spot and share their experience by sending a video of their jump. “Our rivers are facing massive exploitation by private investors building more and more small hydropower plants. This prevents locals from using the water from the rivers - both for water supplies and relaxation or swimming - but it also destroys their wild natural character and biodiversity,” says Saudin Merdan, biologist, member of the Coalition for the Protection of Rivers and president of the Center dr. Stjepan Bolkay Society. “Moreover, the laws on concessions leave out the public from decision-making, so we invite the people to join the public call to change it,” he adds.

The event is organized within the joint project “Dams-free municipalities” of non-governmental organizations Coalition for the Protection of Rivers of Bosnia and Herzegovina,  Center for Environment and Arnika (Czechia), financially supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic within the Transition Promotion Program.

A full list of locations where the Big Jump will be held on July 10th from 11:45 a.m.  including a map, can be found on Facebook: 

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