Pollution of Begejac channel, Kula, Serbia

The Begejac channel is heavily polluted due to discharge of untreated communal waste waters and makes life impossible for people of the town of Kula.


Kula is a small town situated on the Begejac channel, which is the part of the Danube-Tisa-Danube (DTD) channels system located in the north of Serbia. DTD is highly polluted due to the several decades of discharge of industrial waste waters and it is known as one of the environmental hot spot of Serbia.

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Basic Data
NamePollution of Begejac channel, Kula, Serbia
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Water Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Water treatment and access to sanitation (access to sewage)
Specific CommoditiesWater
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsMunicipal waste waters of Crvenka with 10,000 citizens are daily emitted into the channel Begejac.

Begejac passes through the town of Kula in length of 2,5km.

The Central Waste Water Treatment Plant in Vrbas will have total capacity of load for 180,000 population equivalent.

The extension of the sanitary sewerage collection system will include: 83,2 km of collection network, 30 km of transmission main and 22 small pumping stations.

30,000,000 USD- investments in Waste Water Treatment and Sewage Collection.
Level of Investment (in USD)5,500,000 (construction of sewage system)
Type of PopulationUrban
Potential Affected Population20,000
Start Date2006
Company Names or State EnterprisesJP Vode Vojvodine from Serbia - DTD channel management
Vodoprivredno preduzece DTD-Krivaja from Serbia - Begejac channel management
Relevant government actorsThe Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection of Republic of Serbia; The Provincial Secretariat for Architecture, Spatial Planning and Environmental Protection; The Municipality of Kula; The Municipality of Crvenka
International and Financial InstitutionsEuropean Union (EU) - Investor in “Waste water treatment and sewage collection project Vrbas/Kula”
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersNon-formal group from Kula; Vojvodjanska zelena inicijativa: http://www.vojvodjanskazelenainicijativa.org.rs/; Ekoloski pokret Vrbasa: http://www.ekovrbas.net/
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases
OtherRespiratory diseases, cancer.
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Displacement
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseEnvironmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Negotiated alternative solution
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Development of AlternativesLocal people demanded resolving the problem of the channel Begejac pollution. They proposed closing down the channel into pipes to prevent the direct contact with the polluted water.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.The local water management company has pumped the water from the other channels to dilute the pollution, and has cleaned part of the sediment to speed up the water flow. The constructions of the sewage and the waste water treatment plant are to be finalized in 2017 that together with uncertain finalization of the central waste water treatment plant is expected to resolve the conflict. So far, there is no data on removal of the toxic sediment from the Begejac channel.
Sources and Materials

Kanal muci stanovnike Kule
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Zapretili da ce zatrpati kanal
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Peticija za čišćenje Velikog bačkog kanala
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Stop smradu iz Begejca!
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Pocinje ciscenje Begejca
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Kako ublažiti zagađenje Begejca
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Ispitivanje uticaja otpadnih voda industrijskog basena Crvenka-Kula-Vrbas na Veliki Backi kanal
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Kula: Nove cene komunalija bez najave
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Transport do deponije
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Od Begejca I pacovi pobegli
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Rak kosi svaku drugu kucu
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Project details Veliki Backi Kanala-Waste Water Treatment and Sewage Collection Project Vrbas/Kula
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Kula rešava problem fekalnih otpadnih voda u Begejcu
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Počeli radovi na kanalizaciji u Kuli
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Počeli radovi na kanalizaciji u Kuli
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Završena izgradnja magistralnog kolektora za otpadne vode između Kule i Vrbasa
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Media Links

Documentary movie by NGO Vojvodjanska zelena inicijativa
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Channel ‘Begejac’ picture library
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Begejac smrdljivi
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Other Documents

Stinky Begejac-Smrdljivi Begejac Discharge of waste water into the Begejac channel
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Protest in Kula in 2012 Local community protests against pollution of the Begejac channel
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Meta Information
ContributorJovanka Spiric, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)gmail.com
Last update23/05/2016