Between June 18 and 22, the Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo (CIN) held round tables in Sarajevo, Mostar and Tuzla at which it presented a database about approved subsidies in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), and the results of an investigation into abuse of public funds.
The database CIN reporters have created contains records about nearly 1 billion KM in subsidies provided by the Federation of BiH, Republika Srpska and Brčko District authorities between 2011 and 2017.
Some of the money was spent with little checks and balances and in a non-transparent manner according to the CIN investigations.
Along with the presentation of the investigation into subsidies, participants at all three round tables held discussions about waste disposal issues in BiH that featured the representatives of the relevant authorities, ecological associations, government auditors, inspectors and many members of the public.
The participants discussed the spending of money for waste disposal at a Sarajevo landfill Smiljevići; the issues that Mostar citizens are facing and how hazardous waste was disposed without regulations in Tuzla.
These issues have been exposed in CIN’s investigations and in a short film “Land of Toxins”.
The participants from all three cities agreed that the lack of adequate waste disposal may endanger the health of population and represents a grave ecological danger for BiH. A professor at the School of Technology in Tuzla, Abdel Đozić, said that the environmental pollution is the sixth leading cause of death in BiH.
The representatives of ecological associations and residents of neighborhoods that have been the most impacted by the lack of adequate waste disposal, said that the authorities did not do enough to protect the environment and the people. On the other hand, government representatives said that more money was needed.
“The Ministry of Environment has a waste disposal plan. We have documents, but in order to implement those documents we need to have funds,” said Sanela Popović from the FBiH Ministry of Environment and Tourism. “And those funds aren’t there.”
The events were organized as a part of the EU-financed project “Empowering Civil Society in Fight Against Corruption: Monitoring Fiscal Transparency”.