October 4, 2020 - The World Wild Fund (WWF) has launched a campaign against the construction of small hydropower plants - SHPPs - in the Balkans "because it is a game in which we all lose." Part of that campaign is the petition to ban all Balkan governments' plans regarding putting rivers into pipes. Such a petition was launched in Montenegro today.
The WWF said that SHPPs are harmful to the environment because they pollute and drain rivers, even though they draw energy from renewable sources.
"Our region is home to the last free-flowing rivers in Europe, but they are under a lot of pressure today. State incentives are the main reason why around 2,700 SHPPs are planned across the Balkans. If this is not stopped, hundreds of rivers will be destroyed. With this type of construction, we could lose 5,000 km of untouched rivers," reads a statement from WWF and Bankwatch, announced on the occasion of the World's River Day, September 27.
WWF points out that the primary motive for constructing more than 50 small hydropower projects on 33 Montenegrin rivers is the established socially - economically unacceptable and financially harmful system of incentives for electricity production from renewable sources (RES).
WWF has launched a campaign in Montenegro and the region to stop state incentives for small hydropower plants. Without them, most of the 2,700 small hydropower projects in the Balkans would be unprofitable then stopped.
"Don't be a loser either, sign the petition at losingrivers.com/cg and join the fight to save rivers in Montenegro and the region," the WWF said.
Citizens Are Protecting Rivers with Their Bodies
People in the north of Montenegro have been protecting the endangered rivers with their bodies for months. Despite the intense storm, the residents of Bare Kraljske gathered today to say once again: "Not a drop".
Info table about SHPPs construction on rivers Crnja, Ljubaštica, Crni Potok, Source: Vijesti
Milovan Labović said that no storm would shake them. Only one outcome was possible, the rehabilitation of the area and a ban on the construction of small hydropower plants on all watercourses.
The rivers visibly swelled from heavy rainfall, and soil erosion occurred at the water intake site. The storm didn't prevent Plav activists from attending today's protest and giving support, PCNEN reports.
Montenegrin Institutions Are Not Reacting on Citizens' Demands to stop all SHPPs projects
The civic movement URA has previously launched a petition to stop all projects for constructing the SHHPs in Montenegro. And that was not the first initiative.
"STOP construction of SHPPs on the rivers Crnja, Cestogaz and Ljubastica," is the title of the petition to suspend all further works on the construction of SHPPs on the rivers Crnja, Čestogaz, and Ljubaštica in the area of the Regional Park "Komovi," and return the watercourse of the river Čestogaz to its previous state.
Works on SHHP construction on the River Čestogaz, Source: Vijesti
The extent to which the former Montenegrin majority did not care about environmental protection is also shown by the fact that the Parliament of Montenegro never reacted to the petition NGO Green Home sent in May 2019, signed by over 6,300 people, requesting a permanent suspension of all SHPP construction projects in Montenegro.
"Not a Drop" campaign, Source: Facebook
It is to be noted that among the owners of companies that build SHPPs on Montenegrin rivers are the son of the President of Montenegro, Milo Đukanović, and the husband of Dr. Vesna Miranović, a member of the Crisis Medical Staff of the National Coordination Body for Infectious Diseases.