The mazut fuel oil spilled into the Moravica River in Ivanjica, a town in southwestern Serbia, is now threatening to pollute all the places along the river's course - but also the Zapadna (Western) Morava, which is formed by the Moravica and Djetinja rivers.
This environmental incident started three days ago. At first it was not known who was discharging large quantities of fuel oil into the river through the sewers - and then unofficial information arrived that cracks had appeared on a 75-ton tank storage at the Ivanjica Rehabilitation Institute.
A state of emergency was declared in Ivanjica yesterday!
After Ivanjica, the next town to be hit by pollution is Arilje, and then a part of Pozega, in the part of its territory where Djetinja and Moravica form the Zapadna Morava.
The first major city on the banks of this river is Cacak, and its inhabitants are already worried, especially considering that swimming in the river is very popular this time of year. Oil slicks have already been spotted upstream from Cacak, in Ovcar Banja.
Kraljevo could also be affected, as well as all the towns and villages along the way. The contaminated water should not be swam in, or used to water crops and gardens.
WORK IS DONE TO PREVENT EVEN MORE SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES
The Emergency Sector and the water management public company, Srbijavode, have come to the aid of the municipality of Ivanjica to remedy the problem as quickly as possible. According to the Infoliga portal, three tank trucks have arrived from the town of Ub at the Rehabilitation Institute, taking on about 70 tons from the broken storage tank. This fuel oil will be transported to health centers in Uzice and Cacak, as well as to the Cacak heating plant.
The water authority has installed a special "curtain" on the Moravica River that should mechanically prevent further spreading of pollution along this river, and along the Zapadna Morava.
"This measure will prevent the further flow of fuel oil and it will be mechanically collected," the Water Directorate has told Telegraf.
Deputy Mayor of Ivanjica Momcilo Mitrovic said after last night's activities that the continued flow of fuel oil into the river and downstream from Moravica has been prevented. He explained for the Infoliga portal that the cause of the incident has been found.
"We located the problem and saw that the tank, which had about 75 tons of fuel oil, gave way somewhere. We now have three tanks trucks that are pumping out the fuel oil and from the rivers, though (the leaked) fuel oil has gone far. There will be consequences, because I think this is the biggest environmental disaster that has ever hit Ivanjica. We reacted as quickly as we could," said Mitrovic.
Local inspectors have also made a statement.
"After receiving reports from citizens, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and fishermen, we went out and found that oil spillage in the Moravica. We located the place where it came from, and with an insight into the atmospheric sewage we found that the oil came from the heating pipe of the Rehabilitation Institute," said municipal communal inspector Branko Raicevic.
POLLUTION DANGEROUS TO SWIMMERS AND AGRICULTURE
Just before the big incident in Ivanjica, a thin layer of pollution was noticed in Cacak, resulting in the children who were swimming in the river that day developing a rash.
On August 9, the Institute of Public Health recorded pollution and the presence of fats and oils. Although the values were minimal, due to the low water level, oil slicks were visible to the naked eye, Ozone Pres reports.
Artificial fats, lubricants, oils, and petroleum products represent quite dangerous water pollutants.
"Medicine says that it is a danger and can cause irritation of the skin and eyes, and may cause respiratory irritation. In the long term, these substances cause greater harm to humans. As for the environment itself, there is destruction of wildlife in the river. These cannot dissolve and therefore have a bad effect on the atmosphere. If water is used for irrigation that would certainly be problematic," former director of the Institute for Public Health, Dr. Ana Misovic, told Ozon Pres.
VIDEO: This river is swimming in chemicals, but inspectors can't see the foam