A Toxic Timebomb: The Lurking Hazard of Poorly Managed WastePublished: Jun 7, 2023 Reading time: 2 minutes
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the clock is ticking on an environmental disaster of potentially catastrophic scale. Poorly managed toxic waste, under invested landfills, and burgeoning illegal dump sites pose a severe threat to the health and well-being of communities and the environment.
When people think of waste management challenges in BiH, they often picture River Drina clogged with plastic waste. While disturbing in many ways, this is only part of the problem.
A recent article published by the Sarajevo Times highlights the grave concerns from a local civil society organization, revealed a startling volume of toxic waste left behind after private companies closed their doors in Tuzla. The lingering toxins, which include ethylene, propylene, chlorine, and mercury, have accumulated into hundreds of tons of hazardous waste.
Regrettably, Tuzla is not an isolated case.
Dump of death
Across BiH, overflowing landfills are woefully unprepared for the accelerating influx of waste. This situation has led to the unfortunate emergence of illegal waste sites, tarnishing previously untouched rivers and valleys. Whilst governments across BiH have gone after illegal dump sights, many still exist.
Near the beautiful city of Mostar there is a landfill, dubbed the ‘dump of death,’ where locals are increasingly concerned that toxic runoff – like copper, lead, zinc, and arsenic – could be contaminating underground aquifers and other freshwater sources. Despite the landfill being in operation since 1962, it has lacked a comprehensive waste management system and regular investment in upkeep and modern technologies, which are crucial for preventing the leakage of hazardous waste.