In Serbia last year was spent in environmental problems, but also in the fight for the environment

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After the reduction of air pollution levels during the summer, primarily due to favorable meteorological conditions, autumn and the beginning of winter marked the return of pollution to our cities. Along with the increase in pollution, the resistance of the citizens also grew. The initiative “Don’t let Belgrade d(r)own” organized several protests in Belgrade on this issue, protests, actions and performances were organized in other cities as well. More and more civil society organizations as well as informal initiatives have joined the fight for clean air.

During 2020, attacks on the remaining public goods continued, and since the factories were privatized a long time ago, nature came under attack.

In July, Kosutnjak came under attack, where a new detailed regulation plan for “Avala Film” foresaw that 70% of the existing forest would be turned into construction land, where the construction of almost 570 thousand square meters of new residential and commercial space is planned.

In December, it was the turn of Makiško polje, the main water source zone of Belgrade. The detailed regulation plan for this part envisages the conversion of 425 ha of agricultural land into construction land; forest reduction from 90 ha to 49 ha; reduction of green areas from 93ha to 70ha, with the construction of about 10,000 housing units. Such construction would jeopardize Belgrade’s water supply.

The year behind us was also marked by the continuation of the fight against the construction of mini-hydro power plants, whose subsidies will be continued in the next year as well. The problem of subsidizing “renewable” energy sources in Serbia remains on the agenda for next year. While waiting for the change of regulations, the residents of Rakita, with the help of citizens from all parts of Serbia, during the work action, removed a part of the pipeline of SHPP Zvonce from the bed of the Rakita river.

One of the biggest threats to nature in western Serbia is the planned opening of a lithium mine. Several protests were held in the Loznica quay against this ecologically but socially harmful “investment”. This, like many other processes related to environmental degradation, is characterized by almost complete exclusion of the public from the decision-making process.

For the end of the year, there is hope that the global coronavirus pandemic has taught us something. Yes, if we want to reduce the chance of some future viruses appearing, it is necessary to reduce the pressure on nature. And if we want to save the planet and thus ourselves, it is necessary to change the system, because currently 1% of the richest who own a total of 44% of global wealth, is responsible for 15% of total carbon emissions, while 50% of the poorest (over 3.1 billion) in the period 1990- 2015 contributed with only 7% of total carbon emissions, and were most affected by the effects of climate change.