June 12, 2019 - The main conclusion of the UNESCO mission that ended at the end of last year was that the construction of bridges, as well as the exploitation and disposal of gravel and sand, severely devastated the Tara river bed within the UNESCO protected area "Man and Biosphere," announced the Research Center fof the Network for Affirmation of NGO Sector- MANS.
The UNESCO rating comes after both the European Commission and the European Parliament in their reports to Montenegro recognized the disastrous impact of the construction of the Bar-Boljar highway on the Tara river and demanded urgent enforcement of devastation measures.
The UNESCO report states that compliance with environmental and biological standards for the construction of a motorway is not adequate and does not meet all the necessary parameters, especially in the part where the monitoring results with the instructions for the improvements are not immediately communicated to the contractor and the supervisory authorities.
What was witnessed in the footage produced by the MANS Research Center in October UNESCO's findings now confirm last year. The Mission registered more landfills, sand and gravel dumps in the mainland, as well as in the Tara River basin itself. UNESCO warns that "although these problems can be addressed after the end of the highway, it is clear that there will be visible impacts even after the completion of construction.
As the main negative impact of UNESCO's construction, it recognizes the fact that the toll ramp and the inclusion/disconnection from the motorway at Matešev are planned and built in the so-called floodplain area, resulting in the devastation of the floodwater character of the river. As stated, this river property is key to maintaining the ecological value of Tara, along with the biodiversity, the particular fauna of the fish. If it were not built in this area, there would be no need for regulation, and the impact on river ecology would be smaller, according to a UNESCO report.
In its recommendations, the Mission proposes to make an immediate assessment and closely monitor the impact of motorway construction on the downstream Tara River and to report on this to UNESCO regularly. UNESCO's recommendation is to modify the existing Strategic Assessment to include all the potential impacts that the works have in the downstream sector and to develop a rigorous Environmental Management Plan that will mitigate all negative effects.
MANS, in cooperation with environmental organizations, has been calling for the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism to stop ignoring the problem that exists on the Tara, which is a direct consequence of the construction of the priority section of the Bar-Boljare highway.
Although since the first record of devastation and filing of criminal reports has been over half a year, no one has so far responded to what has been recognized by all relevant international addresses as a clear breach of not only domestic regulations but also internationally undertaken obligations to protect the Tara River.
The data and whether and to what extent the Chinese CRBC company is reputed is not known because the state has declared it a business secret, and judging by what was publicly available, Minister Pavle Radulovic did nothing to comply with the recommendations of international institutions and mitigate the consequences devastation.
Unfortunately, by such behavior, Minister Radulovic sends a direct message to the contractors and subcontractors for a public letter that devastation will not be punished, that profit above the protection of the environment, and above all that its role in the complete project consists in protecting them rather than the public interest.
MANS will continue, in cooperation with environmental NGOs, to insist on the transparency of the entire project, but also after defining the level of devastation measures for its sanitation, and the penalties all responsible for the multi-month devastation of the Tara River.