Bosnia’s Visegrad hydropower dam threatened by huge islands of garbage

Huge islands of garbage floating on some rivers in the Balkans are currently threatening the regional hydropower plant in Bosnia. It has also raised concerns from environmental scientists over the pollution crisis in the state.

Threat to Bosnia’s Visegrad dam caused by broken barrier

The threat to the dam has been traced to a barrier that broke earlier this week. Plastic bottles, rusty barrels and other waste could be seen clogging the Drina River near the eastern Bosnian town of Visegrad. Upstream, the Drina’s tributaries in Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia carried even more garbage after swollen waterways spilled over into landfills. In southwest Serbia, the Lim River has created a similar problem at the Potpecko accumulation lake.


Efforts to clear away the clogging garbage has already begun, but the images of the overflowing garbage sparked outrage among activists and citizens alike.


“Horrific and shameful,” read a headline in Serbia’s Blic daily newspaper this week, describing the Potpecko lake as a “floating landfill.”

Floating islands of garbage in the Balkans caused by poor waste management systems

Different waste products, including washing machines, computer screens and others are routinely seen floating on the rivers.


The Balkan nations have poor waste management programs, and tons of garbage routinely end up in rivers as a result.


Officials estimate that between 6,000 and 8,000 cubic meters of waste are pulled out of the river each year near Visegrad. Although the waste problem is not new, Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro-the three nation’s part of the Balkans—have done little to address the problem.


Environmental activist, Dejan Furtula, from the Eco center group, claims that the garbage in the Drina river is a hazard for the local community.


“We are all in danger here,” he said, adding that the waste removed from the river is dumped on a local landfill, which is often on fire and produces toxic liquid that flows back into the Drina.