We all need clean water and clean rivers – this is the most important message from the opening of the photo exhibition “Nišava – Sustainable River Future” at the 7. juli Park on the Nišava riverfront. Twenty exhibition panels tell the story about the life of the City, its residents and the Nišava River in the course of history and today. A special section of the exhibition is dedicated to the future and the significance the wastewater treatment plant with the sewage system in Niš will have. Serbia, EU and Sweden will implement this investment together.
Sweden is supporting the Serbian Government and the City of Niš with EUR 1.3 million for the preparation of documents for the plant within the “Priority Environmental Infrastructure for Development Project“ – PEID.
During the exhibition opening in Niš, Jan Lundin, the Ambassador of Sweden, emphasized that the knowledge and experience gained by all the participants during this project will spread throughout Serbia.
“This is a typical example of the European integration. It’s not just political talk, things are really moving forward, and this project is a proof of that. With the help of your experts, we are trying to explain the importance of the Nišava River in the context of sustainable development of Niš, but not only of this City, as the water will flow from here to the Black Sea. We don’t want dirty water anywhere“ says Ambassador Lundin, emphasizing that the European Union cannot be fine if the neighbours are not fine, which is why we need to cooperate.
Lundin stresses that everybody is working together having in mind that Serbia will become the EU member, and that meanwhile there are many positive things happening, like the wastewater treatment project in Niš.
Most of untreated communal and industrial wastewater is directly discharged into the Nišava River and natural watercourses, which is one of the key factors of the environmental pollution. This exhibition draws the attention to the importance of wastewater treatment as a significant chance of recovery of the most important natural resource we have.
The exhibition thus emphasizes the mutual impact of human activities and the Nišava River, reflected not only in the quality of public health, food and the living of residents of the City of Niš, but the entire Black Sea basin that the Nišava River flows into.
Sandra Dokić, Assistant Minister at the Ministry of Environmental Protection talked about the environmental challenges in Serbia, primarily in the field of water:
“Serbia paved its way to the European Union, and that is something we strive for. We still have a lot to do to achieve the standards we are expected to achieve, as defined in Chapter 27. It is not a simple road, but we are not alone. We have partners from Sweden that have been helping us for years to achieve the results important not only for the EU, but for ourselves. This project is important for Niš, for the Republic of Serbia, for the EU, for all of us, as all of us need a healthy and clean environment, and all of us need to deal with it“ said Sandra Dokić, adding that the most important thing is to know that everything that is being done is not being done to join the EU, but because it is important for us.
“Nišava – Sustainable River Future” is a part of the “EU Green Week” marked this year from 29 May to 4 June throughout Europe with the same goal – to achieve “zero pollution” and preserve the environment.
Antoine Avignon from the EU Delegation to Serbia reminded that the wastewater treatment plant project is very important for the EU, and that it will be the largest plant we will build together. Avignon mentioned the exhibition that was officially opened exhibition as well.
“I see a lot of bridges on the exhibition, and that is important, as it is better to build bridges than to build walls. It is the spirit of the EU accession, to build bridges connecting municipalities, ministries, the EU, Member States, in order to implement projects, as in this case that will make the Nišava River cleaner“ added Avignon.
The EU will significantly contribute to the construction of the wastewater treatment plant, with the City of Niš and the Serbian Government taking active part in the project.
Adriana Anastastov, the City of Niš Councillor, thanked everyone who participated in the preparation and realization of this exhibition.
“Cooperation on promotion of the projects that are very important for the City of Niš and the Republic of Serbia is much needed. I hope we will keep on presenting all these valuable project like this, in particular the wastewater treatment project“ said Anastasov.
The new wastewater treatment plant will reduce pollution, promote the quality of surface water and groundwater, improve the status of rural and urban sewage networks, all of which will have a positive impact on human health, flora and fauna, as well as the development of recreational and professional sports on the rivers.
The wastewater treatment plant in Niš with the sewage system is one of the largest green investments in Serbia.
Dušan Radivojević, the Director of the Local Economic Development Office in Niš that is included in the project implementation, talked about the significance of the new plant, emphasizing that this project will resolve an issue that Niš has been facing for decades.
“Apart from the plant construction, we will complete all the missing collectors in Niš. This is indeed the most valuable environmental infrastructural project in the Republic of Serbia, more than EUR 60 million worth, and the financing is provided by IPA fund“ says Radivojević, emphasizing that the environmental protection represents an imperative for everyone.
“Nišava – Sustainable River Future“ exhibition will last until June 20th.