Podgorica, 16 November 2018 – The non-governmental organisation Network for Affirmation of the NGO Sector organised a discussion at the EU Info Centre titled “The Impact of Construction of the Bar–Boljare Highway on the River Tara”.

The regulation of the River Tara which is taking place is not being done because of the needs of the local population, but rather has been invented to avoid domestic and international regulations during the construction of the highway, it was assessed at the roundtable.

A professor at the Faculty of Science and Mathematics, Vladimir Pesic, said that their team had carried out one study, and that is, as he said, the only scientific study that exists.

“Unfortunately, for decades there has been a lack of serious scientific studies being carried out in Montenegro, and that is a big problem which is the source of ongoing conflicts between the demands of the non-governmental sector and the announcements from official institutions,” said Pesic.

He believes that this lack of serious scientific studies is leading to the public becoming indifferent to what is happening in the area of environmental protection and, as he said, the public does not know whom to believe.

Pesic explained that the team from the Faculty of Science and Mathematics carried out the study in only one season, in June, and, from a scientific point of view, it has many shortcomings because not enough samples were taken and the period over which it is being done is not long enough. Pesic stressed that there is only one, individual study, and that standards for such infrastructural facilities, in accordance with the Water Framework Directive, have been laid down about how to monitor and how to do this successfully. 

The Executive Director of the NGO Green House, Natasa Kovacevic, said that, at the River Tara itself, the landfill sites are collapsing, and, according to the new plan, these contain 2.5 million tons of waste and according to the old plan, about four million tons. As she said, the regulation plan is the most problematic thing.

What we expect from the European Union is for experts to carry out short-term measures which can be done today on the revitalisation and remediation of the river basin and biodiversity in this area,” said Kovacevic.

The Executive Director of the NGO Ozon Environmental Movement, Aleksandar Perovic, stressed that the transparency and availability of information is lacking when it comes to the highway. He stressed that citizens have had no chance to declare whether they wanted to undermine the idea of an ecological state by building a motorway.