During Green Week in Serbia Screening of Ecological Documentary Films from the Project “Environmental Response in Timočka Krajina”

On the occasion of Environment Day, the EU Delegation in Serbia marked Green Week 2024 with a series of events and activities. This year’s Green Week, under the slogan – See Water Differently – #WaterWiseEU, included participation of the Association “Za Drinking Fountains” from Zaječar. From June 5 to 12, during EU Green Week in Serbia they presented seven episodes of the ecological documentary TV series “Look Around You” on the website of the EU Delegation in the Republic of Serbia. This series was created as part of the project “Environmental Response to Mining Expansion in Timočka Krajina, funded by EU.

Additionally, during this period, stories from the TV series dedicated to the preservation of water resources were public screened in Zaječar, Novi Sad, and Niš, organized by the EU Info Center.

Foto: Dejan Todorović

In Zaječar, at the archeological site of the imperial palace Felix Romuliana, the first screening of the episodes from the series took place on June 6. High school students from the Timok Region, who participated in ecological workshops over the past two years as part of the project “Environmental Response in Timočka Krajina,” held their final workshop on this occasion. Besides learning about the heritage of the late antique Roman period, they had the opportunity to watch and discuss the documentary films from the series “Look Around You.” The first film discusses the impact of mining on the pollution of the Timok River, particularly the toxins brought by one of its tributaries, the most polluted river in Europe – the Borska River. The second story addresses the issue of the reclamation of an abandoned mining pit, which is now Rgotsko Lake. The impressions of the high school students after watching the episodes were unanimous; they were all surprised that industrial pollution could kill life in the river.

Photo: Dejan Todorović

In continuation of the Green Week celebration, on June 10 in EU info point Novi Sad, the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia, in cooperation with the Association “ZA Drinking Fountains”, presented two more stories from the series “Look Around You.” The audience in Novi Sad saw the devastating industrial pollution of the Timok River, as well as the struggle of the people of Zaječar to preserve the invaluable natural resource the city has – its artesian wells.

Mr. Antoine Avignon, Program Manager for Environment and Climate Change at the EU Delegation in Serbia, commended the documentary filmmakers and stated that stories like these are precisely why the European Union rightfully chose the theme of water preservation for this year’s Green Week.

“In the European Union, there are systemic solutions for the preservation of natural resources, such as water, while in Serbia, efforts are still uncoordinated. A positive example is the Association “Za Drinking Fountains,” which, during its ten-year struggle, managed to halt the devastation of artesian waters and turn it towards the protection, reconstruction, and restoration of the fountains”, Mr. Avignon emphasized.

A problem in preserving water resources is also the punitive policy. The legal regulations exist, but the fines are small and do not deter polluters who destroy natural resources, it was noted after the film screenings. Raising environmental awareness among citizens is crucial, while social responsibility is essential in preserving the environment.

Photo: Dejan Todorović

Green Week concluded with a screening of ecological documentaries in Niš on June 13 in. The stories about the pollution of the golden Pek River and the struggle of the people of Zaječar to protect their artesian wells were shown in organization of EU info point Niš. The host was the Food and Chemical School in this city, which educates future environmental protection technicians. Professor Slobodan Milutinović, who teaches Natural Resource Management at the Faculty of Occupational Safety, also participated in the discussion. For many years, the citizens’ association “Green Key” has existed in Niš, and Olivera Milošević, who also participated in the panel, believes that activism can lead to the necessary changes, but persistence from citizens alone is not enough.

Association “Za Drinking Fountains”

This text was produced within the project “Environmental response to mining expansion in Timočka Krajina” funded by the European Union, and implemented by the Association “Za Drinking Fountains”, the Association of Young Researchers Bor, Civic Library “Europe” Bor and Children’s Center Zaječar. The content of the text is entirely responsibility of these associations and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.