The Trebevic Mountain has been a protected area since the fifties of the last century, and now it is threatened with destruction. Due to unplanned and unregulated construction, as environmental activists and experts warn, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH) mountains could soon turn into cities, with hectares of cleared forest and tall concrete buildings. The continuation of construction would endanger the water, and the citizens of Sarajevo and Istocno Sarajevo would be left without one of the rare refuges from pollution close to the city.
“Sarajevo is surrounded by mountains, but Trebevic is special because it can be reached by cable car or by car in less than ten minutes. Even if you start on foot from the city, you can reach this beautiful mountain in less than an hour. You can imagine how precious it is, since we live in this terrible air in Sarajevo, to go out to Trebevic and now we will lose this natural wealth because of a handful of greedy people who want to build,” said environmental activist Anes Podic from “Eko akcija”.
Environmental activist Suncica Kovacevic of the Coalition for the River Protection points out that the expansion of construction on Trebevic is just another example where politics puts profit first, not people, nature, and the public interest.
“Unfortunately, there is increasing pressure to take away our forests and mountains, and what is particularly worrying is that urbanization is carried out unplanned and unregulated. Although now the most significant change is in the landscape, which is why our mountains are starting to look more and more like cities, and urban parts, I think that the consequences of the lack of quality planning policy will only be felt in the future. I would say that these kinds of constructions are destroying our environment and that nowadays we really need policies and a society in which it will be good for everyone, both people and nature,” she stated.
Attempts to revoke the status of a protected area
Environmental activist Anes Podic from “Eco akcija” explains that Trebevic was protected as early as 1954, and that protection is still ongoing.
“The Canton Sarajevo (CS) made a decision on the formation of the protected area of the Trebevic Natural Monument in 2014, and the government of the Republika Srpska (RS) made a decision last year on the declaration of the Trebevic Nature Park. Unfortunately, we do not have a copy of the decision from 1954. However, on the basis of other decisions, the content of which we have, I can say with high probability that construction was prohibited on that part, except for what the institute would allow. Only when we get a look at the decision from the 1950s, we can say with certainty that the construction is illegal,” Podic emphasized.
Podic explains that every lover of the environment would sign the Development Strategy of the Municipality of Istocni Stari Grad for the period 2021 to 2027, because it mentions the development of sustainable tourism and agriculture, good administration, and there is a proposal to build a cheese factory and a market where local products would be sold, but Podic adds that nothing will come of it.
“All this construction was not planned with that strategy at all, and apparently these investors came in afterward. So this mayor’s vision of how the city should be in this part is more recent and only appeared when the investors came with bags of money,” he added.
The situation is similar in the Federation of BiH (FBiH), and in February 2022, city councilor Almedin Miladin from the ‘NiP’ party proposed that Trebevic and Dariva be stripped of their protected area status, and all other councilors unanimously supported it.
“Fortunately, the city council does not decide on this but the CS Assembly, however, the same parties are in the city council as well as the canton assembly, so the federal part could suffer the same fate as the part of Trebevic in the RS. If this is achieved, it will look like visitors take the cable car to Trebevic, and are greeted by asphalt, concrete and private properties. We will have residential areas surrounded by walls, where there will be empty apartments, and rich people, who will hardly be there. Trebevic, the kind we all had, will no longer exist,” Podic concluded, Info Radar reports.