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Waste water collection and treatment project on the Banlozi Roma settlement, Bosnia & Herzegovina


The Banlozi Roma settlement and former refugee camp for Roma that fled Balkan Wars in the early 1990s is situated on the outskirts north of Zenica [1] [4]. Approximately seven kilometres away from Zenica [4]. There is no regular supply of clean running water, the few existing toilets are in desperate condition. During winter, many residents here have no heating. Many of them often get sick, and some even die from the desperate living conditions [1].

To make the situation even worse for the Roma, since January 2012 there is permanent threat of eviction and dislocation of the Roma because the City Council of Zenica decided to build a waste water separator (project funded by German Development Bank- KFW and Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)) on the site of the Banlozi Roma settlement. Due to the waste water project Roma will be evicted and the settlement demolished [1] [3]. The construction of the wastewater collector, the wastewater treatment plant, and other infrastructure is planned to begin by the end of 2019 [5].

The wastewater collection and treatment project would include the management and separation of municipal wastewater from industrial wastewater, i.e. separating the municipal sewerage network and industrial coal mines waste from ArcelorMittal mine complex [5]. 

As one of the local Roma inhabitants of Banlozi described: “you only have to put up a fence and this would be a real concentration camp” [1].

Thirty-eight  Roma families are still waiting on the authorities to deliver on their promise of temporary social housing. But another eight families will be left on the "streets" as soon as the city council goes ahead with the demolition of the settlement and the waste water separator project [1].

"We have been already forcibly moved from Radakov to this Banlozi settlment" "We are all rejected". My son got sick at this [Banlozi] camp [3]." "The settlment we live in is spread with humidity, bacteria, and viruses". "Four children have lost their life only in 2018" [4]. The Roma are not satisfied with their unclear situation, and fear the municipality could again evict them at any point [4].

A local Zenica Roma organization -  Association of National Minorities from Zenica (UNM Zenica) contacted the European Roma Right Centre  (ERRC) for support of the Roma residents’ legal battle against the Council’s plans to evict them. According to the association, the Roma families only received oral notification from the municipal authorities about the planned eviction. On June 25th, 2018, ERRC submitted a letter of concern to the City of Zenica regarding the planned eviction of the the Roma. However, no replay has been received, so far, from the authorities [1]. 

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Waste water collection and treatment project on the Banlozi Roma settlement, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Country:Bosnia and Herzegovina
State or province:Zenica-Doboj canton
Location of conflict:Zenica
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Specific commodities:Domestic municipal waste

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Agreements on the donation from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and cooperation with German development bank KfW were signed by Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of BiH and Minister of Finance and Treasury Vjekoslav Bevanda, Director of the KfW Office in Sarajevo Matthias Schmidt-Rosen, Swiss Ambassador to BiH Andrea Rauber -Saxer, and Zenica Mayor Fuad Kasumović. The agreement on the donation was signed by the BiH Council of Ministers and the Government of Switzerland and the agreement on financing and the project by the City of Zenica and KfW, Bevanda said. At the end of 2017, the City of Zenica received a EUR 13.5 million grant from KfW and secured EUR 1 million on its own. The EUR 4.75 million from the SECO rounds off the EUR 19.2 million needed for the project. The construction of the wastewater collector, the wastewater treatment plant, and other infrastructure is planned to begin in early 2019. According to Kasumović, the Zenica mayor, the wastewater collection and treatment project in Zenica could be linked to the Green Cities project [5].

Level of Investment:14,000,000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:2500
Start of the conflict:01/07/2018
Company names or state enterprises:German Development Bank- ( KFW) from Germany - Funder of the project
Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) from Swaziland
Relevant government actors:Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of BiH and Minister of Finance and Treasury Vjekoslav Bevanda
Faud Kasumović, the Zenica mayor
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:-Udruženje nacionalnih manjina iz Zenice UNM Zenica
-European Roma Right Centre

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of mobilization:Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Fires, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsVisible: Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths, Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsEnergy poverty, lack of heating
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession


Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (undecided)
Development of alternatives:The alternative for the Roma of the Banlozi settlement is to provide social housing by the local government. However, 8 families would be left homeless, since the families are undocumented Roma living in the settlement. Furthermore, all Roma families are concerned about this second displacement due to a waste water plant treatment plant. The promises have not been kept before.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Although an alternative social housing has been proposed, not all families will be provided with new homes. Furthermore, the controversial question is why there are funds for "green city" development projects, from which the Roma are excluded. The government is giving priority to waste water treatment plants projects over Roma's living conditions. The Roma have been living in the settlement without water and sewage for decades now.

Sources & Materials

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[2] Dnevni Avaz: 2.500 Roma u Zenici je zaboravljeno i iznevjereno

[3] Blic Srpsaka Info: ROMA LIFE IN ZENICA They wake up with snakes and rats, but this is NOT the Worst they face

[4] Romske porodice u Banlozima mogle bi ostati bez krova nad glavom


Balkan Green Energy News: Funds secured for wastewater collection, treatment project in Zenica

Other documents

Banlozi Roma settlment in Zenica Source Dnevni Avaz [2]

Meta information

Contributor:Ksenija Hanacek ICTA-UAB
Last update15/10/2019



Banlozi Roma settlment in Zenica

Source Dnevni Avaz [2]