VISEGRAD: Huge islands of waste are floating on some rivers in the Balkans, causing an environmental emergency and threatening a regional hydropower plant.

Plastic bottles and bags, rusty barrels and other garbage on Tuesday could be seen clogging the Drina river near the eastern Bosnian town of Visegrad. Upstream, the Drina tributaries in Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia are carrying even more waste after the swollen winter waters surged over the the landfills in the area.

The Balkan nations have poor waste management and tons of garbage routinely end up in rivers. A broken barrier this week caused a massive congestion of garbage on the Drina that has threatened the Visegrad dam.

Officials say that between 6,000 and 8,000 cubic meters of waste are pulled out of the Drina each year near Visegrad.

Although the problem is not new, Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro have done little to fix it even as they seek to join the European Union.

Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2021

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