Friday, 19 June 2020

Dalmatia's Tourism Boom Creates Crap-Filled Hinterlands

June 19, 2020 — As Dalmatia’s housing footprint expands faster than its infrastructure, locals relieve the swell of sewage and construction scraps however they can. The result: much of Dalmatia’s hinterland is brimming with crap.

A manmade pool of festering feces sits just 10 kilometers outside of Zadar, near a town adjacent to the airport called Babindub. Excavation equipment dug the hole; trucks laid the gravel leading to it. Now septic tank cleaning services empty their wares there.

The smell of raw sewage and garbage permeates the hot air as the pond grows with every new deposit of feces, then recedes as the summer sun evaporates the water.

Authorities wish they could find a better solution, but the residential market is growing faster than government-funded infrastructure can keep up.

Croatia’s tourism boom set off a cascade of changes along a sleepy coast which once housed merchant seamen, farmers and fishing villages. 

Old seaside stone houses transformed into private accommodations for tourists. Many opted for gut renovations, carting off wheelbarrows-worth of support beams, stones and brick. Second or even third stories were added to increase capacity and available space.

Septic tanks and sewer lines meant for humble single-family homes were now inundated three months a year with constant toilet flushes and frequent showers of multi-apartment dwellings. Residential zones expanded as well, sparking building booms on property once reserved for sheep and a rotation of crops. 

The local infrastructure, already aging poorly, could hardly handle the new annual spike in water use and refuse. Local authorities often did not branch existing sewage lines out to connect newly-built homes, forcing most new houses to include septic tanks that must be emptied by municipal services.

Septic tanks, which have been known to overfill at inopportune times during the tourism season, posed a unique problem. Costly municipal emptying services fuel a black market for poop removal. Many homeowners with overflowing tanks found a solution in the backcountry roads and abandoned parcels on the outskirts of their town. Police in Zadar recently caught three men allegedly dumping household wastewater off a side road. The practice is so common, authorities are trying to control the situation somehow until infrastructure catches up.

Hence, Babindub’s crap hole.

Local authorities in the neighboring municipalities of Bibinje and Sukosan on June 1 approved the Babindub hole’s creation, according to Zadarski List. The governments decided to use the hole as a “temporary” holding place for feces, promising to treat the festering pool with enzymes to break the crap down.

The hole itself has instead turned into an orgy of toilet tissue and pests, with a pool of feces expanding and contracting with new deposits and subsequent evaporation, as if it were a tide of poop. Locals are clearly peeved, but authorities say they are short of options.

“I would be happiest if we had a solution to this problem, but unfortunately we do not have it,” Stipe Bugarija, a member of the local Sewage Board, told Zadarski List. “In order to reduce the damage, we procured enzymes with which the workers spray the pit in order to decompose it faster and faster. If anyone can solve this, let them solve it, because we have no way.”

Bibinje and Sukošan have been at the heart of a construction boom. Once humble outskirts to Zadar’s hub, they’ve now become a long chain of newly-built houses and ongoing construction sites. A stroll through either will see as many construction dumpers and trucks as passenger vehicles. Yet authorities have put off expanding the existing sewage infrastructure or adding new branches to the existing network, requiring to build a new treatment plant first.

Those works are still on hold, and authorities at the national level claim they’re looking into the matter.

Monday, 17 February 2020

Savica Heating Plant to Produce Electricity Using Flue Gas Thermal Energy

Why should the smoke just disappear into the wind when it can be turned into electricity? HEP has big plans for the unassuming Savica heating plant chimney next to the Sava river in Zagreb.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 17th of February, 2020, in this way, HEP wants to harness the thermal energy of waste flue gas from the Savica heating plant chimney, which is currently being released through the chimneys into the environment, and would also show the possibility of the alternative use of existing chimneys.

"One of those options is a process where a chimney is used as a plant for converting heat to electrical energy using an air booster effect," HEP explained to Vecernji list, which will soon announce a tender for a project worth around five million kuna in total. They detailed precisely what the job of the company that offers them the best deal for the Savica heating plant's chimney will be.

“A thermal power plant is a type of power plant that uses heated air buoyancy and the height difference of the tower to launch an air turbine and generate electricity. The flue gases inside the chimney have a lower density than the surrounding atmospheric air. This establishes a pressure difference between the gases inside the chimney and the surrounding air, resulting in the flow of lighter flue gas from the bottom to the top of the chimney. The greater the difference in pressure - the greater the volume flow of the mixture of ambient air and flue gas,'' they explained from HEP, adding that the flue gas temperature at the inlet to the chimney is about 150 degrees celsius and, therefore, it has a relatively high thermal potential.

This heat, they explain, is currently only used to achieve flue gas build-up, that is, to create a vacuum in the chimney. And there are two main ways, as they say from HEP, to harness the energy of flue gas buoyancy. One is the installation of a wind turbine in the centre of the lower part of the Savica heating plant chimney itself.

"In order for this solution to be implemented, it's necessary to undertake a quality analysis of the equipment that can potentially be installed," they say from HEP, stating that electricity can also be produced by entering the main flue duct and erect a new branch of the channel to house a wind turbine. That new duct would be fused at a 45-degree angle to the existing one in order to reduce local flow resistance.

"This would mix ambient air into the main flue gas stream. The air flow is proportional to the pressure exerted in the main flue duct. The flow through the wind turbine or channel branch will be regulated by movable control flaps. This will also regulate the temperature of the mixture of flue gases and air entering the chimney, that is, the pressure created by that buoyancy,'' HEP Production explained in detail. 

A future designer will have to do a study in which they will analyse the possibilities of creating one of these ideas within the Savica heating plant's chimney.

When exactly the chimney of the thermal power plant located next to the Sava could start producing electricity will depend on the design of the project itself and then on the execution of the works.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for more.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Rijeka Environmental Group Installs Sea 'Trash Can' At Croatian Port

The first Seabin device, a floating “trash can” and seawater filter, was installed on Friday in the passenger port of Rijeka.

Rijeka Based Initiative S.E.A. Donated Seabin Device

The Rijeka-based Initiative S.E.A. (Save, Embrace, Achieve) donated the Seabin device to the Port Authority of Rijeka to raise awareness about the need to protect and conserve the marine environment. The initiative also introduces sustainable solutions for the use and management of marine life as one of its most valuable resources.

Seabin is a floating trash can which constantly filters seawater, collecting plastics, microplastics, detergents, oils and other materials from the surface, preventing them from drifting off to the open sea and harming marine flora and fauna, according to Morski HR on February 10, 2020.

“The initiative was founded to primarily to raise awareness about the need to change environmental attitudes, especially in our oceans, and to foster further debate on the ‘green transition’ which is beginning to take hold in response to the global environmental crisis. The focus of the initiative is to dispose of plastics and micro plastics. It also promotes implementing the most advanced green methods, practices and technologies for better environmental management and utilization of its resources,” they explained.

Seabin Acts as Floating ‘Trash Can’ in Marinas, Yacht Clubs, Ports

According to their website, the Seabin V5 unit is a ‘trash skimmer’ designed to be installed in water at marinas, yacht clubs, ports and any body of water with a calm environment and available suitable services.

The unit acts as a floating trash can which skims the water surface by pumping water into the device. The Seabin V5 can intercept floating debris, macro and micro plastics and microfibers with an additional filter. By acting as a trash skimmer, the Seabin V5 is also able to clean the water from contaminated organic material including leaves and seaweed.

The Seabin V5 can be equipped with oil absorbent pads that absorb petroleum-based surface oils and detergent which is predominant in most marinas worldwide.

Surface Water Passes Through Catch Bag At 25,000 Liters Per Hour

Water is sucked in from the surface where it passes through a catch bag inside Seabin. The device is equipped with submersible water pump capable of displacing 25,000 liters per hour and can be plugged directly into either a 110V or 220V outlet. The water is then pumped back into the marina leaving litter and debris trapped in the catch bag.

The Seabin V5 can catch an estimated 3.9 kilograms of floating debris per day or 1.4 tons per year (depending on weather and debris volumes) including micro plastics as small as 2 millimeters.

Follow our Lifestyle page for more information on environmental initiatives in Croatia. More information about the Seabin V5 can be found on their website and Facebook page.

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Split 'Green Guerrilla' Planting Trees Illegally in Croatian Park Marjan

While most Split residents are asleep, members of the secret Split-based Green Guerilla direct action group covertly roam Marjan Forest Park with seedlings in hand, planting trees to help the city’s lungs breathe. They claim that everything they do is in collaboration with top forestry experts.

In addition to the Aleppo pine, they plant oak and cypress. However, they do not want to reveal how many trees they have planted so far and where, according to Ivana Perkovic/Dalmacija Danas on January 6, 2020.

The Split based group call themselves Green Guerrilla and their activities, although illegal, have met with widespread public approval. Nevertheless, some have wondered if these people might have better things they could be doing. Here's what they have to say:

To begin with: Split residents are interested in knowing; who are you and why did you organize?

We are a group of Marjan fans from Split who are tired of watching the destruction of life going on in the park. We have had enough of pillaging by the political elite, in which green spaces and trees in Marjan are being transformed into timber and are becoming prey to political calculation.

Some have wondered if you might have better things to do with your lives. Why did you begin planting right now?

For too long, those in charge have been saying that the afforestation process is set to begin. But they stand around with their hands in their pockets and prolong this process and pace it with campaigns for upcoming local elections. We’ve waited long enough, and it is a shame that the fate of Marjan is being decided by people who are calling the survival of vegetation into question. After a couple of years of delays, the forest has not been rehabilitated according to the agreed-upon method, and chopping down thousands of healthy trees cannot be called remediation. The real word that describes what has happened in Marjan is ‘criminal.’

Do you have experience in planting? What you say about statements by Damir Grubšić (JUPŠM/Public Institute for Marjan Forest Management) that you are doing more harm than good?

We are doing everything according to instructions from top forestry experts who wish to remain anonymous because they fear for their jobs. We would love to hear about what a shame it is to plant an oak, pine or cypress in the forest. If he is looking for pests in Marjan, he should first look at his current assistant and former director, Robert Koharević, and then at some other anomalies in the Public Institute. The real Marjan pests are those who illegally paved green areas and those who allowed them to are going unpunished while they remain in the city administration and Public Institute.

Are you afraid of being caught?

If one of us is caught, we will stand as one in solidarity and demand to be punished together. But we will also seek sanctions for those who have illegally harvested more than 20,000 Marjan trees, as determined by the State Forestry Inspectorate, and sanctions for those who have looked after Marjan in this manner.


Green Guerrilla | Facebook

Are you planning to plant trees in large areas or just a symbolic number? How many trees have you planted so far?

That will remain our secret.

Will you respond to Mirko Rušić's invitation to plant trees when he officially begins the afforestation project?

We will not, because we do not want to work with a person who is unskilled, uneducated and unqualified to perform forestry work and, above all, a person who participated in the illegal felling of more than 20,000 Marjan trees.

We will only respond to an invitation to plant trees from an authorized forester. That person must stand up for afforestation, put his name behind it, and be responsible for all forestry efforts spanning the entire Marjan Forest Park protected area, which has already been slated for afforestation by the spatial plan and management program. Well, Marjan has been without a major forestry planning document for a year now. Should we be expecting an invite from someone who we can thank for putting Marjan in this situation?

You say that you are doing this "in defiance of those who would build and not plant on Marjan." Do you think that they are really trying to destroy the forest so that apartments and hotels will pop up on Marjan?

It’s not a matter of that we think. Parts of Marjan Forest Park have already been irreversibly destroyed by the unplanned and illegal construction of hotels and apartments, and now there are plans to build new cafes. Recent changes to spatial plans have been announced and who knows what else is happening in Kašuni, Kaštelet and Prva voda.

It has been officially confirmed that 75 buildings have been illegally built in this protected area, part of which is being used for apartments. There won’t be any peace while there are construction sites in the park forest, illegal construction continues, and the commercialization of Marjan is put ahead of its protection in the minds of those responsible.

How would you respond if someone started to harvest the trees you planted?

Trees cannot harm anyone, so destroying them would mean that they want war with well-meaning Split residents. If they want war with residents, they will have one, and a bigger tree will replace every tree that is removed. We will also make sure that the news of this behavior is spread beyond Croatia’s borders. This is at a critical time when the whole world is working on afforestation due to climate change, which has occurred due to the destruction of forests.


After the Aleppo pine, it was time to plant an indigenous oak and there was also a spot for a cypress. In view of yesterday's news story RTL Danas, we would like to address the statements of Mirko Rušić, President of the Marjan Commission, Deputy Coordinator of the Crisis Staff, and President of the Governing Board of JUPŠ Marjan:

Green Guerrilla documents several potential sites prior to planting, and then, in communication with forestry experts, selects planting sites for species proposed by the foresters themselves. Green Guerrilla, unlike the Marjan Commission and the Crisis Staff who have been left without professionals, has foresters who are happy to tell us what, where, how and when.

Increased patrols by the JUPŠ Marjan rangers are welcome. Perhaps they will now notice the illegal construction, pyromaniacs and other problems in Marjan, which have passed under their radar so far. The trees will continue to sprout either by our own hands or naturally, and no one can claim that any new tree is not part of a plan or program because we’ll remind them of the management program and afforestation plan.

It is a shameful for the team, held responsible by the State Forestry Inspectorate for devastating this forest, to deliberately delay the afforestation process as an election campaign nears. Greetings from the Green Guerrilla. While you p*** we will continue to plant. If you love Marjan get rid of the f****** construction sites in Marjan Forest Park rather than condemning and trying to find us.

Check out our Lifestyle page for more information on efforts (legal and illegal) to protect the environment in Croatia. Updates on Green Guerrilla's activites can be found here.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Croatian Electric HEP: New Solar Power Plants on Adriatic Coast

Renewable energy sources are increasingly being harnessed on the Croatian coast, where there is ample wind and sun. In addition to wind power plants, which are multiplying every year, the construction of solar power plants is also on the rise.

There is one plant in Istria, which became operational in 2018, and three more will produce electricity in early 2020: on the islands of Cres and Vis and near Vrlika according to Morski on November 26, 2019. With investments of HRK 80 million, Croatian Electric Company (HEP) will add four new power plants to their network with a total capacity of 11.6 megawatts (MW). In the long term, they plan to complete solar power projects with a total power of 350 MW by the end of 2030.

The Kaštelir solar power plant has a capacity of 1 MW and an expected annual production of about 1.5 million kWh, which will meet the electricity needs of about 500 households. The power plant is equipped with solar panels manufactured by the Solvis company in Varaždin. This plant has been operating since December 2018. It has a contract with HROTE (Croatian Energy Market Operator) as a preferred producer within their incentive system. Here is an aerial video of the plant.

The location permit for the Cres solar power plant was obtained in June 2018 and that plant is being developed by the County of Primorje-goranska. The location of SE Cres is about 2 kilometers north of the settlement Orlec on the island of Cres. The power plant is 6.5 MW with an expected production capacity of 8.5 million kWh per year, which will meet the electricity needs of about 2,500 households. The total value of the investment is HRK 41 million. Preparatory work on the site is underway and the power plant will begin operating in 2020. Here is a simulation of the Cres power plant.

The Vis solar power plant will be located on the hill of Grizova Glavica, near the village of Žena Glava, about 3.6 kilometers southwest of the town of Vis and about 4.8 kilometers east of Komiža. HEP purchased the project from Končar-Obnovlji izvori energie (Končar Renewable Energy). The expected annual output is 4.2 million kWh, which will meet the needs of about 1,400 households. This investment is valued at HRK 25.3 million. The power plant is under construction and is expected to be operational by February 2020.


The Vrlika Jug solar power plant represents the completion of the first phase of planned construction in the southern part of the Kosora working zone in the town of Vrlika. The power plant will have 2.1 MW of power and an estimated annual output of about 2.9 million kWh. Construction will be completed in the first half of 2020, according to HEP.

For more information on HEP solar plant projects, check out their website here.

To keep updated on renewable energy projects in Croatia, follow our Business page here and our Lifestyle page here.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Croatia: Environmental Organization Sea Shepherd Opens Office

Sea Shepherd, a world environmental organization, is establishing an office in Zagreb, Croatia. It was founded in 1977 by Captain Paul Watson to fight for the protection of the sea and its inhabitants. Since then, Sea Shepherd has become the most active and successful organization dealing with the protection of the ocean and marine fauna.

The Sea Shepherd fleet consists of 13 ships with crews of volunteers from all over the world, and has the largest private fleet in the world, which is on call day and night. Sea Shepherd doesn’t engage in protest rather they focus on responding and use tactics and direct actions to investigate, document and prevent illegal activities which cause damage to the world’s oceans.


Stopping Whale Hunts

Over the past 40 years, due to their actions, massive underwater life hunts have been on the decline worldwide. Sea Shepherd has worked against the seal massacre in Canada, the whale massacre on the Faroe Islands, illegal fishing in the Mediterranean, dolphin killing in Japan, and for the protection of the Vaquita porpoise in the Gulf of Mexico, among many other actions. For ten years, they have been actively combating commercial whaling of the Japanese fleet in the Pacific Ocean, despite attempts by that fleet to disguise the hunt for research purposes. This is the action they are most well-known for.

Each year, the Japanese fleet seek to slaughter a minimum of 1,000 whales to make their catch commercially viable. Thanks to Sea Shepherd’s on-site responses, they have been prevented from hunting and have been virtually forced to give up. About 5,000 whales have been rescued and set free. Sea Shepherd continues to operate due to the success of their campaigns and the support of volunteers and donors. For more information on Sea Shepherd’s global work, visit their website here.


First Event in Croatia

Sea Shepherd organizers will be holding their first public event in Croatia on November 28, 2019. They will be discussing their organization at the Oris kuća arhitekture (Oris House of Architecture) in Zagreb. They will also reveal how they are fighting to preserve the ocean, the current state of the Adriatic Sea and how to take action to promote the survival of underwater life.

This is an opportunity to obtain information, ask questions, and find out how we can save the sea and support the world's most active marine conservation organization.

DATE: 11/28/2019
TIME: 19:00
PLACE: Oris kuća arhitekture (Kralja Držislava Street 3, 10 000 Zagreb)
GUESTS: Captain Alex Cornelissen CEO of Sea Shepherd Global and others

Other guest speakers include Andrea Morello CEO Sea Shepherd Italy, Robert Mach CEO Sea Shepherd Austria, Scientists at the Ruđer Bošković Institute and numerous guests from the world of science, sports and entertainment.

More information about the event can be found here.

A video of Sea Shepherd removing an illegal driftnet in the Mediterranean:

For more information on environmental issues in Croatia, follow our Lifestyle page.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Croatia: Electric Companies Offer Solar Panels for Homes

Electricity from the sun: an initial investment of HRK 35,000 (4700 EUR) will pay for itself within six to eight years! The benefits of investing in a solar power plant on the roof of a single-family home in Croatia are up to 75 percent lowered electricity costs and will protect the buyer from rising market prices.

As Dubravko Grakalić/GlasIstre reports on November 19, 2019; alternative energy is becoming less and less of an alternative, and more commonplace for our households and small businesses. Croatia's two largest electricity companies, HEP and RWE, have begun offering to install solar power plants on rooftops of single-family homes or businesses so that Croatian citizens and residents can generate electricity for their own needs. Interested households can easily arrange with their respective electric providers to become energy self-sufficient.

Simplified Procedure in Croatia

Due its geographical location and number of hours of sunshine a year, Croatia offers considerable potential for harnessing solar energy, experts say, and emphasize that less than one percent of all electricity is currently produced from photovoltaic systems. In early 2019, with the adoption of the Renewable Energy and High-Efficiency Cogeneration Act; self-supply electricity is now regulated by legal norms and the process has been greatly simplified. This legislation has paved the way for Croatian households to make the most of the sun's energy for their own benefit and makes the use of solar power plants more accessible to everyone.

- The simplified procedure for issuing energy approvals enables citizens to become self-suppliers by having their own solar power plant installed, which will meet most of their electricity needs; even up to 75 percent. This offer applies primarily to households and small businesses within the tourism, hospitality and trade sectors, says Zoran Miliša, CEO of RWE Energija Croatia.

Setting up a solar power plant does not pollute the environment. And it produces electricity from sunlight, a renewable energy source, which is a safe and low-risk investment, according to the companies offering solar power plant installation to customers.

The benefit of investing in solar power plant on the roof of a single-family-home is up to 75 percent lower electricity costs and will protect the buyer from rising market prices. The repayment period is estimated at six to eight years. RWE Energija's solar power plant installation offer includes a 25-year warranty and 10 years of insurance. Customers can expect to have their power plants installed within 90 days and the installation itself takes up to two business days.

The solar consultants at RWE Energija handle the necessary documentation and provide advice on choosing an optimal solution for every roof. And clearly there is an increase in the value of rental space for tourists who prefer environmentally friendly accommodations and are willing to pay a higher price for them, they say at RWE. They also offer solar calculator on their website so that prospective customers can see for themselves how much they will save with a solar power plant.


RWE Solar Calculator

After entering the real estate location and electricity consumption on an annual basis, the RWE solar calculator calculates the savings for every prospective customer. The calculator also accounts for the estimated power capacity of the power plant, the targeted amount of electricity, and the minimum roof area needed to install the solar panels. And it calculates the estimated repayment time. The minimum recommended annual consumption for the higher tariff is 2500 kWh. Then, the orientation of the roof, type of construction and the productivity of a solar power plant are assessed onsite. A perfect example is a family house on the coast with a north-south roof orientation. They calculate the available roof surface and consider that a power plant of 3 kWp requires about 18 square meters of roof. A 5 kWp power plant requires approximately 28 square meters of roof. The average power plant has a capacity of 3 kWp and is priced from HRK 35,000 (4700 EUR), which RWE Energija allows customers to repay over 36 installments.

Legalizing the power plant isn’t necessary since a mandatory part of the supporting documentation is proof that the building is legal (i.e. a building permit). As a solar power plant connects to a metered site, it is assumed that any building that has a meter is already legal, they explain at RWE energija. RWE will purchase any excess electricity produced by a solar power plant, but that is not currently a profitable venture for most home electricity producers.

HEP Upcoming Offer

HEP (Hrvatska elektroprivreda) will also offer two similar services to its customers very soon. HEP ESCO, a HEP company that offers various energy services, in collaboration with HEP Supply, will launch a HEPI Solar project designed for customers interested in erecting a solar power plant on their roof to cover their personal electricity consumption.

HEP will offer solar power plants from 4 to 10 kWp according to the ESCO model. This means that the company will independently finance the installation of such a power plant and maintain it for the ten years. The power plants will be paid for by the surplus electricity the plant produces, which will then be supplied to the grid. Signing three contracts is the only the legal prerequisite. The power plant will become the property of building owner after the contract period expires, HEP explained.

More information on the RWE solar plant offer and their solar calculator can be found here. Check out the HEP website regularly here for information on their upcoming solar plant offer.

For more information on clean energy in Croatia, follow our Lifestyle page.

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Ecological Footprint Measured at NP Kornati and PP Lastovo

October 24, 2019 - Thanks to the DestiMED project, the Kornati National Park and the Lastovo Islands Nature Park were able to measure the ecological footprint of their tourist offer, which is now available to Croatia’s other protected areas.

Not surprisingly, food turns out to have the most impact on the ecological footprint of visitors on the protected area itself.

Namely, HRTurizam writes that at the closing ceremony of the international DestiMED project held in Rome, the latest methodology for monitoring the ecological footprint of tourists in protected areas in the Mediterranean Sea was presented, and among the areas where the method was tested were the Kornati National Park and the Lastovo Islands Nature Park.

Using the standardized tools of the world's leading eco-footprint measurement organization, Global Footprint Network, as a starting point, partners in the DestiMED project adapted the eco-footprint methodology for environmental impact assessment. Not only was the ecological footprint of each tourist who participated in the latest eco-tourism offer measured, but concrete steps were taken to manage the environmental footprint in that offer. Specific components, such as food, lodging, transportation, and recreational activities, were taken into account.

The results indicated that food and drink had the most substantial environmental impact, especially in those packages that offered large quantities of meat products.

"The methodology for monitoring the ecological footprint we developed within the DestiMED project and the first of its kind in the world has helped protected areas and tourism professionals in the Kornati National Park and the Lastovo Islands Nature Park see where their tours are great, and where there is space for improvement when it comes to the impact on the environment and nature. Moreover, new and alternative business opportunities have been identified that are pushing us towards more sustainable local development,” explains Mosor Prvan of WWF Adria, DestiMED project manager.

By making better choices and promoting the best practices in tourism and recreation, protected areas can address the environmental impact of their tourism packages developed as part of the DestiMED project, while improving the quality of services offered to tourists, concluded WWF Adria.

In the future, the free online eco-footprint calculator will make the methodology applicable to all protected areas in the Mediterranean that are ready to create and test their ecotourism packages.

You can view the online tool here.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Lackluster Oversight Turning Croatian Adriatic Into A Toilet

November 28, 2018 — Croatia’s crystal-clear Adriatic Sea remains one of the country’s bigger selling points come tourism season, sending the nautical tourism sector into overdrive. But governmental oversight and hygienic controls have not grown in tandem, according to Slobodna Dalmacija, which begs the question:

How many tourists can empty their bowels into the Croatia’s Adriatic before it becomes a feculent cesspool?

Feces technically are classified as biodegradable waste which can be released into the open waters under certain conditions: 12 nautical miles from the nearest shoreline for boats without a purification system, or three nautical miles for those that have one, according to the MARPOL Convention

Burgeoning hotspots for nautical tourism, such as Makarska, have seen a boom in overnight stays among the well-heeled guests renting yachts of 50 meters or more, according to Harbor Manager Ivan Rašić. The nautical renaissance started when it installed a new breakwater. Since then, Rašić says the marina is nearly filled to capacity at least four days per week during the summer season — Wednesday and Thursday, as well as weekends.

The boom has seen the usual positive economic effects, with an increase in anchorage fees and residual spending by guests who disembark and start ambling along the shoreline.

Yet harder to quantify but also increasing is the amount of waste and noise created by the upsurge in guests. The characteristic “stains” and floating garbage visible in the port's waters have become something of a public secret, according to the paper, along with its inadequate waste collection system.

The problems are myriad, and begin with a lackluster system which charges per disposal, as well as lagging oversight of every boat’s own waste control system. Every boat must have an oil book and garbage book chronicling its waste disposal schedule. The records are not inspected by the usual agency meant to oversea nautical activities, Port Authority. Instead, they fall under the auspices of the Ministry of Environmental Protection — which has little to no inspectors at smaller ports such as Makarska’s.

Not all vessels have septic tanks capable of retaining or refining waste water before releasing it into the sea. Tourists on charter cruises and smaller sailing boats with hand-crank pumps that send waste water directly into the sea have little recourse but to eliminate their feces into the water. 

Smaller harbors such as Makarska’s don’t have the infrastructure to collect waste water off of vessels. Rašić depicts the system as a Pandora’s Box, which makes it very difficult to penalize offenders who may dump their septic tanks into the harbor’s waters, or too close to the shore.

Authorities’ hands are tied by a tight bureaucratic knot as well, even when skippers or boat owners release their poo into coastal waters. Evidence like video footage or photos — some of readily available — isn't enough; samples must be taken from the offending vessel and compared to what was dumped into the sea. Mobile or fixed machines meant to collect waste and refuse exist, and are in use at larger marinas along the Adriatic but are a rare sight in smaller ports.

The resulting flotillas of feces and garbage have been known to migrate with the wind and current, often ending up on beaches — a familiar site to many who’ve been on the shore long enough.

Until the oversight and inspection system is fixed, little will change, according to Rašić. In the meantime, the Adriatic may see an increase in cloudy brown splotches interrupting its crystalline blue.

To read more about nautical tourism, check out our dedicated page.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

One Billion Kuna for Energy Renewal of Schools, Healthcare Facilities and More

Is more emphasis on energy efficiency on its way to Croatia's public sector facilities?

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