Places where the Danube and Sava are contaminated with sewage excreta

According to architect Dragoljub Bakić, a member of the Serbian Academy of Architecture, sewage from Belgrade flows directly into the Danube and its tributary Sava at more than 200 places; excrement, dead fish and all kinds of waste float in Europe’s second largest river, and the waste accumulates in the Serbian capital, which is also the biggest polluter of the river throughout its course.

A few days ago, faeces in the Danube stopped German chemist Andreas Fat, who had embarked on a nearly 3,000 kilometer swim to collect water samples along his route for analysis by a team of scientists from the University of Vienna. Fat swam to Belgrade, then gave up due to feces.

“The problem is not only that sewage flows into the Danube, but also that Belgrade has thousands of septic tanks. The whole left bank of the Danube has no sewage system, as well as parts of Dedinje and Vračar, so these pits are emptied, washed away and dumped into the river. The Sava has more than 100 sewage outlets and the Danube more than 130. We are the only capital in Europe that does not have a sewage treatment plant,” says Bakić.

Serbia also has tons of construction waste and no space for its disposal. “Glass wool, lead, plaster… All the sites are contaminated. This waste is dumped in illegal landfills, and in Belgrade alone there are more than 500. Developers buy land and pay for the dumping of construction debris, usually near the garden, orchard, etc. from someone. We should recycle the debris on the construction site itself. Real estate developers cannot bother to do this, they are only interested in building a complex of buildings as soon as possible, completing the project and moving on to the next. They are not developers, but manipulators,” adds Bakić.

The main sewage discharges start at the Ada Bridge, where the Topčiderska River flows through the outlet near the Gazela Bridge and on the part of the promenade, from the Belgrade waterfront to Ada Huja. In addition, the Topčiderska river, which crosses the districts of Dedinje and Rakovica, has been transformed into a collector of faecal water and industrial pollution. The river ends in the Čukarica stream, which is known for its unpleasant smell, garbage and even dead fish corpses floating on the surface. The water then flows from the Čukarica stream into the Sava River, with most of the sewage discharging under the Gazela Bridge, where faecal water is concentrated near Kumodraž and Voždovac, on one side, and on the other side , near Veliki Mokri Lug and Mali Mokri Lug, to Učiteljsko Naselje and Crveni Krst.

The main fecal outlet of Novi Beograd and Zemun is also on the Danube side in Novi Beograd, at the mouth of the Sava, along the quay where the Karadjordjev Trg pumping station, the main sewage pumping resource, is located generated in this part of the city in the Danube.

A 2019 study by Austrian university scientists showed that the Danube is polluted with fecal matter throughout its course through Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria. The situation is particularly critical in Novi Sad and Belgrade, where the presence of Escherichia Coli bacteria in water is extremely high. Belgrade Deputy Mayor Goran Vesić said earlier that there are up to 100 direct sewage outflows in Belgrade, which is equivalent to 60,000 Olympic-size pools of excrement that end up in the rivers each year.

(News, 05.06.2022)

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