Sunday, 12 May 2019

Protest Against Waste Management Centre Held in Koprivnica

ZAGREB, May 12, 2019 - About 100 people rallied in the northern town of Koprivnica on Saturday to protest against the planned construction of a regional waste management centre at Piškornica.

Ivan Jakupić, the head of the Green Piškornica Association which organised the rally, told reporters that the project posed a threat to a nearby water pumping site which is vital for the entire Koprivnica-Križevci County.

"The present practice of disposing waste from the whole of north-western Croatia at the Piškornica landfill, which is located only seven kilometres from the centre of Koprivnica, is unacceptable," Jakupić said.

He said that the project could not be justified because on entering the European Union Croatia undertook to sort considerable quantities of waste "on the doorstep". Such a sustainable waste management policy makes the construction of regional centres unnecessary, he added.

"We need a landfill for inert waste, that is waste that cannot be sorted. Such a landfill must not be located in the low-lying part of our county but in its hilly area," Jakupić said, claiming that Croatia had so far used little EU money for implementing a sustainable waste management policy.

"It's not clear to us what criteria the government followed to declare the Piškornica project a strategic project," he said, adding that bringing waste from other counties to theirs "cannot and must not be a strategic project."

More news about waste management practices can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Hundreds Protest in Sisak against Waste Management Companies

ZAGREB, May 5, 2019 - A protest rally was held in Sisak on Saturday where a few hundred demonstrators gathered to raise public awareness of the existing and potential environmental problems arising from the growing number of businesses engaged in the management of both hazardous and non-hazardous waste.

Protest leaders said that they were particularly concerned at the arrival of the companies of Rijekatank and Remondis which, they said, were expelled from the towns of Rijeka and Jastrebarsko.

Rijekatank's core business is industrial cleaning and waste management.

The protesters claim that this company would likely process 30,000 tonnes of non-hazardous and 10,000 tonnes of hazardous waste in Sisak.

Officials of the opposition Živi Zid party, who were on the campaign trail for the European Parliament elections, today joined the protest rally in Sisak to express their support to the demonstrators.

More news about environmental protection in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Forbes Praises Adriatic Hotel and Zlarin Island for Not Using Disposable Plastic

Croatia is a favourite holiday destination for many, and numerous tourists discover the beauty of Croatia again and again. While foreign media often writes about Croatia as a dream destination, praises for environmental protection are somewhat less common. However, the renowned Forbes magazine has published a story about the Adriatic Hotel in Rovinj, part of the Maistra Collection brand, which recently decided to replace all disposable plastic items with available alternatives, which means it will become the first hotel in Croatia that is actively committed to a cleaner environment and the no-plastic-waste vacation principle. The campaign was launched on April 22, the Earth Day.

“Every human should take responsibility to protect the environment where we live, work and travel. Here in Rovinj, we have hotels right above a beautiful bay, next to a protected forest of centenary trees and on the main town square,” says Lovorka Struna, Maistra’s hotel director, as quoted by Forbes. “With this long-term initiative, we want to preserve this uniqueness and beauty, since it is ultimately about our shared future.”

As the first hotel in Croatia without disposable plastic, the Adriatic Hotel strives to be a leader in innovation and sustainability. Last year, it started using substitute paper straw instead of plastic ones, and by June the hotel will cease using 80 per cent of disposable plastic products. By the end of the year, it will have completely eliminated them from all accommodation units, bars and restaurants.

“We want to create a mindset where people will naturally refuse disposable plastics that are used for a few minutes but can last in the environment for centuries,” explains marine biologist Chiara Fumagalli, a project partner involved in the Adriatic for Adriatic campaign, as quoted by Forbes. “The idea is to inspire businesses, individuals and governments to follow suit, start a dialogue and raise awareness about the plastic pollution problem.”

The similar drive has been launched on the small island of Zlarin, which aims to become the first island in Croatia that will not use single-use plastics.

In March, the small Dalmatian island signed a charter that regulates that entrepreneurs on the island will not use disposable plastic such as bags, plates, cutlery, straws and cups. Plastic is an increasing threat to Zlarin, as a small number of inhabitants of the island face a large-scale increase in the number of tourists and guests during the summer months. About 15,000 plastic bags end up in the garbage, and plastic also pollutes the sea.

“As proof of its dedication to the cause, Croatia is hosting the very first edition of the Plastic Ocean Summit in March 2020 on the island of Mali Lošinj. It’s organised by the Ocean Alliance Conservation Member (OACM) group, a conglomerate of countries that have united to protect, preserve and clean the oceans, lakes and rivers. These are impressive major steps for a small country taking a stance against one of the world’s biggest problems,” writes Forbes.

More environmental news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Protest Held Against Future Nuclear Waste Disposal Site

ZAGREB, April 11, 2019 - A protest was held in Dvor near the Bosnian border on Wednesday against plans to build a site for the disposal of nuclear waste from the Krško nuclear power plant at the Trgovska Gora location.

The rally drew hundreds of locals, members of ecology associations and representatives of neighbouring municipalities and towns from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Dvor mayor Nikola Arbutina welcomed the citizens' initiative against disposing nuclear waste at Čerkezovac, a former military barracks at Trgovska Gora, saying the municipality had done everything to stop nuclear waste from being disposed there.

He said the protesters should protest in Zagreb because decisions were made there and not in Dvor, whose authorities, he said, had no say in the matter.

"Only the state can decide where the nuclear waste will end up. Only by uniting the right and left banks of the Una river can we do something. If we carry on as we have until now, scoring political points on this problem, then we'll achieve nothing," Arbutina said, adding that today's protest was in the service of elections for ethnic minority councils and European Parliament elections.

Mario Crnković, president of the Green Team association, said the nuclear waste disposal site was a common problem and interest of the Croatian and Bosnian communities along the Una river and that only by uniting could the people oppose the project. "We mustn't trade with Trgovska Gora."

The Una river, which the two border regions share, does not deserve to be polluted with hazardous waste, said Miroslav Drljača, head of the Bosnian municipality of Novi Grad.

Bosnian MP Jasmin Emerić said the nuclear waste would destroy the most beautiful European region.

Dušan Bjelajac, deputy head of the Croatian county of Sisak-Moslavina, also warned about the danger of the disposal site.

Petrinja mayor and Croatian MP Darinko Dumbović said he had spoken about this problem in the Croatian parliament a number of times, "yet many MPs wouldn't listen... because they raised their hands for the Trgovska Gora location." He added that he was referring to the ruling Croatian Democratic Union, the opposition Social Democrats, the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) "and other ethnic minorities."

Dumbović called out SDSS president Milorad Pupovac, saying he had betrayed his people in the Banovina region because of the ruling coalition, of which the SDSS is part. He added that Arbutina was deluding his people.

After one hour, the protesters dispersed peacefully.

More news about the nuclear energy can be found in the Business section.

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Protest against Excessive Deforestation Held in Zagreb

ZAGREB, March 30, 2019 - About 200 citizens, organised by the Green Squad, the environmental forum of the war veterans' organisation Vidra, rallied in St Mark's Square in Zagreb on Friday to draw attention to excessive deforestation in Croatia, accusing several ministries, private and public companies and leading politicians in the last 20 years of ecocide.

Protesters said that in the last nine months they had gathered sufficient evidence of "the appalling devastation of forests", which they included in a 400-page complaint addressed to the State Attorney's Office, the Office for Prevention of Organised Crime and Corruption (USKOK), the Human Rights Ombudsman and EU institutions.

"Forests are literally disappearing before our very eyes," Green Squad leader Vesna Grgić said, adding that "the scandalous Forests Act even encourages forest cutting, and all this in the race for profit because wood is scandalously cheap."

Grgić said that one cubic metre of wood cost 300 kuna (40 euro) in Croatia and 120 euro abroad. She said that the damage done to Croatia was estimated at two billion euro and that those responsible should be brought to account.

"This is ecocide, and ecocide is a crime. That's why we have every right to call it a joint criminal enterprise and we have evidence to prove it," Grgić said.

More news about environmental protection in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Cres, Losinj, Hvar, Brac, Korcula in 1st EU Clean Energy Transition Islands Initiative

Brussels, 18 February 2019 - Today, 26 European islands have officially launched their clean energy transition with the support of the European Commission’s Clean Energy for EU Islands Secretariat. 

In the first phase, 6 islands, the Aran Islands (Ireland), the Cres-Lošinj archipelago (Croatia), Sifnos (Greece), Culatra (Portugal), Salina (Italy) and La Palma (Spain) will develop and publish their clean energy transition agendas by summer 2019. The other 20 islands will do so by summer 2020.
These islands are:

• Hvar, Croatia                

• New Caledonia, France      

• Pantelleria, Italy          

• A Illa de Arousa, Spain

• Brač, Croatia

• Crete, Greece

• Azores, Portugal

• Gotland, Sweden

• Korčula, Croatia

• Samos, Greece

• Ibiza, Spain

• Öland, Sweden

• Kökar, Finland

• Cape Clear, Ireland

• Mallorca, Spain

• Orkney, UK

• Marie-Galante, France

• Favignana, Italy

• Menorca, Spain

• Group of Off-Grid Scottish Islands, UK

Dominique Ristori, Director-General for Energy at the European Commission, said:

“The 26 islands selected display a remarkable potential and enthusiasm for developing strong and lasting multi-stakeholder collaborations around the clean energy transition. By embarking on this path, not only will they become more energy self-reliant and prosperous, but also provide inspiring examples for other islands and Europe as a whole. This in turn will help the EU achieve its ambitious climate and energy targets.”

There are more than 2200 inhabited islands in the EU. Despite having an abundance of renewable sources of energy, such as wind, solar and wave energy, many of them currently depend on expensive fossil fuel imports for their energy supply. The clean energy transition can help islands not only become more self-sufficient and prosperous, but also unlock new employment opportunities in their communities.

The objective of the Clean Energy for EU Islands Secretariat is to help as many European islands as possible embark on and advance their clean energy transition in a way that includes the whole island and its stakeholders. Based on experience with successful transition processes, the key to success is to involve all levels of governance of the islands - citizens, municipalities, local businesses, universities and schools – as well as relevant stakeholders from the mainland and bring them on board to actively support and shape their own transition. 

Croatian MEP Tonino Picula said: "Islands are becoming more and more visible on the European agenda. The support for 26 islands throughout the Union is an important step in making island communities torchbearers in clean energy transition. This is a first, but an important, step in securing permanent EU assistance to islands. Congratulations to everyone!"

The 26 islands were selected based on their potential for establishing a high-quality transition process with the support of the Secretariat. In order to serve as inspiring examples for as many European islands as possible over the coming years, special attention was paid to including islands covering a broad variety of geographic and contextual conditions.

To learn more about the project and follow progress on its interactive map, click here

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Twenty EU Environment Projects Presented

ZAGREB, February 12, 2019 - Twenty projects relating to environment and nature protection and climate action were presented at a conference in Zagreb on Tuesday. The environment projects are worth over 14 million euro, of which nine million is provided by the European Union.

The LIFE conference is organised by the Environment and Energy Ministry as a national contact point for the EU's LIFE Programme, State Secretary Mario Šiljeg said.

The purpose of the conference is to show that LIFE-funded projects are among the best ways to improve the implementation of environment and climate policies and a mechanism to achieve European and national goals.

The EU launched the LIFE Programme in 1992 to address challenges to the environment, nature and climate, and Croatia recognised its value even before it joined the EU. "This is not surprising given that the programme encourages an innovative approach and the application of new measures and methods," Šiljeg said.

As part of the LIFE Programme in Croatia, efforts are being made to protect the Drava river and its backwaters, improve biodiversity in wetlands, protect large wild animals such as lynx and bear, and take action against bird poaching.

"I am confident that all projects that are being implemented under the LIFE Programme will contribute to economic growth and sustainable development," Šiljeg said. "I am sure that already in April we will see progress in the participation of Croatian business entities in LIFE projects."

This year's tender for the LIFE Programme is expected to be opened in April and all those interested were invited to contact the Environment and Energy Ministry.

More news on the environmental protection in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Croatian-Slovenian Carnivora Dinarica Project Launched

ZAGREB, February 4, 2019 - The EU-funded Carnivora Dinarica cross-border cooperation project, which is meant to improve the conservation of large carnivores in the northern Dinaric range, has been presented in Croatia's Risnjak National Park.

The project is aimed at enabling better coexistence between humans and large carnivores, particularly wolves and bears in the Natura 2000 areas of Slovenia and Croatia - Javorniki-Snežnik, Notranjski Trikotnik and Gorski Kotar and northern Lika.

This unique landscape of forests in Central Europe is home to approximately 20 lynxes, 60 wolves and 700 bears and their long-term conservation is vital for the preservation of biodiversity and ecosystems in this area, it is said at the presentation.

The project, launched in September 2018, is being implemented until the end of February 2021. It is being co-financed from EU funds as part of the V-A Interreg Slovenia-Croatia cooperation programme and is valued at 2.3 million euro.

WWF Adria will support the project at the national and local levels organising various communication activities.

Project Partners include the universities of Ljubljana and Zagreb, local municipal and county authorities, the Risnjak National Park and WWF Adria.

More news on the nature protection in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

With Refinery Off-Line, Will Slavonski Brod Have Cleaner Air?

The oil refinery in Bosanski Brod in Bosnia and Herzegovina, just across the border from the town of Slavonski Brod in Croatia, which is a significant air polluter due to its obsolete technology, stopped its production on January 9. The management of the loss-making and Russian-owned refinery said that the overhaul works could last at least a year, reports Jutarnji List on January 31, 2019.

According to Petar Đokić, the minister of energy and mining of Republika Srpska, one of two entities comprising Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is uncertain when the production at the refinery will resume since it is unclear why the production has been suspended. The refinery management just announced that this year, due to the overhaul, there would not be primary processing and that the refinery would not import crude oil. Its buyers will be supplied through the Serbian oil company NIS.

“The refinery probably has its own reasons for the long overhaul. Perhaps there are some organisational factors or market conditions which are the reasons for the delay in production. It is not uncommon for large companies to supply each other from plants which are the cheapest and the most profitable. Large corporations are trying to maximise their profits by optimising all production capacities. If one comes to the conclusion that it is not worthwhile to produce something on their own, but rather to buy it from someone else, that is a legitimate and normal decision in the market economy,” said Viktor Simončić, an independent environmental expert.

In the past eleven years ago, when the Russian owners of the refinery restarted the production, citizens of the neighbouring Slavonski Brod in Croatia have been having problems with polluted air. Will the people of Brod finally be able to breath more easily?

“As far as the refinery is concerned, the citizens of Slavonski Brod will breathe a little cleaner air, but it will not be completely clean until the problem of home furnaces and transportation is resolved. According to my rough estimate, except in some rare extreme situations, about 90 per cent of air pollution in Slavonski Brod is coming from local home furnaces and transport. These pollutants have nothing to do with the refinery,” said Simončić, challenging the widely-held assumption that it is the refinery which is causing health problems for people on both sides of the border.

Translated from

More news on Slavonski Brod can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Is Petrinja in Danger from Proposed Nuclear Waste Site?

ZAGREB, January 30, 2019 - Sisak-Moslavina County Prefect Ivo Zinić on Tuesday commented on the possibility of the Trgovska Gora mountain range becoming the location for medium radioactive nuclear waste site, saying that Petrinja is some 60 to 70 kilometres away and would not be under any threat, adding that some people were trying to portray the county as a place where there is no life and where hopelessness prevails.

Asked by reporters to comment on Petrinja Mayor Darinko Dumbović's appeal to join him in the fight against Trgovska Gora's becoming a radioactive waste dump, Zinić said that that was politicking and that some people wanted to portray the county in a bad light, as a place with nuclear waste where there are no jobs and no prospects for life and where hopelessness prevailed.

He explained that Trgovska Gora is the possible site for low and medium radioactive waste, while nuclear waste from the Krško Nuclear Power Plant would be stored near Krško in Slovenia.

The waste storage site in Čerkezovac is related to medical waste, radioactive needles, material, lightning rods, protective clothing and the like. We have to control the storage of our radioactive waste and we presume that uncontrolled sites (with that type of material) exist around the country and perhaps even in military warehouses and bunkers in Čerkezovac. Even though our county physical plan doesn't foresee that site for waste storage, we have to respect physical plans of a higher order, Zinić said.

Zinić reiterated that the issue concerning a site for radioactive waste on Trgovska Gora, similarly to the dispute over the Sisak oil refinery, is being exploited to attract attention and that this was about 'political promotion and politicking by certain groups or individuals.'

More news on the nuclear waste issue in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

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