Huge islands of garbage floating on some rivers in the Balkans are causing an environmental emergency and threatening a regional hydropower plant. Plastic bottles, rusty barrels and other waste could be seen clogging the Drina River near the eastern Bosnian town of Visegrad on Tuesday. Upstream, the Drina's tributaries in Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia carried even more debris after swollen waterways spilled over into landfills. The Balkan nations have poor waste management programs, and tons of garbage routinely end up in rivers, including the occasional washing machine or computer screen. A broken barrier this week caused a massive buildup of garbage on the Drina that has threatened Bosnia's Visegrad dam. Serbia and other Balkan countries, still recovering from the wars and economic turmoil of the 1990s, have done little to tackle environmental issues, in part due to a shortage of funds. Both the Drina and the Lim rivers are known for their emerald colour and the breathtaking scenery along their banks. Running along the border between Bosnia and Serbia, the Drina is highly popular with river rafters in the region. Credit: WASTE ED
Poverty deprives people of adequate education, health care and of life's most basic necessities- safe living conditions (including clean air and clean drinking water) and an adequate food supply. The developed (industrialized) countries today account for roughly 20 percent of the world's population but control about 80 percent of the world's wealth.
Poverty and pollution seem to operate in a vicious cycle that, so far, has been hard to break. Even in the developed nations, the gap between the rich and the poor is evident in their respective social and environmental conditions.