What is the quality of tap water in Serbia?
“In Serbia, 4 out of 10 people drink water that is harmful to their health,” warned water expert and professor at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics of Novi Sad, Bozo Dalmacija.
“In Vojvodina, 600,000 people drink water containing arsenic. We know for a fact that arsenic causes cancer of the skin and the adrenal glands,” Dalmacija told CINS.
“In reality today we cannot directly use the Danube for drinking water. Poor quality water also comes from other countries, but if we look at the Morava river and all these rivers where we discharge waste water, they are also not of good quality, so we can say that they are not not usable either,” said Dalmacija, pointing out that the Morava is polluted with nitrogen and phosphorus, and the polluted canals of Vojvodina receive a large amount of sewage and lose the purpose for which they were built, namely irrigation.
“The question is why do we irrigate our land with such water,” Dalmacija said, pointing out that all small rivers near big cities and industrial centers are polluted. “In Vojvodina, the large Bačka canal is very problematic, containing around 400,000 cubic meters of polluted sediments that we have to remove. The Bor River, which is surrounded by mines, is essentially a sewage stream. Large rivers are less affected by this pollution, but since the pollution is diluted with a large amount of water, it seems that it is not dangerous. However, it becomes dangerous, especially in Lake Djerdap, where all the pollutants from all over Europe and Serbia are accumulating due to the dam,” added Professor Dalmacija.
Poor water quality, as he pointed out, negatively affects fish quality and biodiversity.
In Serbia, he added, only 10% of wastewater is treated; the remaining 90% is discharged into rivers. “The biggest water polluters in Serbia are actually three towns that don’t have sewage treatment plants. These are Novi Sad, Belgrade and Niš. We all say we have to treat wastewater, but the question is how. We don’t have a critical mass of experts who can deal with this area, even though we have now received a loan from China to build 70 sewage treatment plants. You have to have a technology that uses as little energy as possible, and on the other hand, you have to use everything that comes out of the waste water. We can use this activated sludge for biogas production or as fertiliser,” says Professor Dalmacija.
Regarding the impact of mini-hydropower plants on rivers, he said such plants should be built in parts of Serbia where there is no significant biodiversity.
This position is also available in: Italian