“For years, the Coalition for the River Sana has been pointing out the natural values of the river and the need for its protection. Despite the recently built Medna hydro power plant, we have been unsuccessfully opposed to for many years, more than one hundred nature lovers gathered here to send the message that this area must be protected and that River Sana itself should be managed in a sustainable way,” said Goran Krivić, the coordinator of the Coalition for the River Sana.
The initiative for protection was submitted by the Center for Environment, from Banja Luka, and Arnika, a Czech Ecological Organization, on behalf of the Coalition for the River Sana.
"The initiative was accepted by the responsible ministers, and we expect the protection procedure to begin this year,” says Jelena Ivanic of the Center for Environment.
Participants in the event were also informed about the 'Solar Pecka' initiative launched jointly by the Center for Environment, the Pecka Visitors Center, and the Coalition for the Sana River. This initiative is an online crowdfunding campaign that was launched in order to raise funds for the installation of the solar panel system on the roof of the Pecka Visitors' Center. Solar energy is an alternative that the Coalition for the Sana River advocates through its campaign against the construction of hydropower plants on the Sana River.
"The Solar Pecka" is an example of development that we would like to see along the Sana River and along other rivers of Bosnia and Herzegovina,"said Goran Krivić. Coalition for the Sana River was established in 2009. The organization brings together 23 associations of nature and sports enthusiasts who have been working for the upper stream of the Sana River to be proclaimed as a protected area.
Despite the long struggle of the Coalition for the Sana River to stop the destruction of the river, the investor "LSB Elektrane" from Banja Luka, under the auspices of "Interenergo" doo Ljubljana, owned by the Austro-German company Kelag International, built the Medna hydro power plant in the immediate vicinity of the Sana River. A study on the economic justification of this particular project has proved that projects such as Medna are economically profitable neither for the local population nor for the state. The only ones to earn a profit are the individuals behind such projects.
The Sana River, the Mračaj Sink, and the canyon downstream of the Prizren River are supported by the Coalition for the Sana River which also encourages the development of sustainable tourism and water sports. The nearby municipalities of Ribnik and Mrkonjic Grad can thus have real profits, and the natural environment and drinking water will be preserved for future generations.