On its long and checkered road to the EU, Serbia needs to adjust its internal policies with the legal heritage of the European Union in various fields. One of the most demanding aspects of such adjustment is the harmonization of environmental protection policies with the standards of developed countries.

Serbia, as a country in economic transition, has limited funds and finite capacities to fully comply with usually high environmental standards. This aspect of compliance is noteworthy, especially having in mind that most of ex-socialist countries that became members of the EU followed the ever-rising trend of modernization in the aspect of environmental protection. Their economic strength at a time could follow the demands of developed western countries. However, green policies became much more expensive and demanding in the last few years and nowadays represent a significant burden for a country which still struggles with many other aspects of economic transition and is of a weak financial health.

Fortunately, the IPA funds are there to help. The European Union has reserved a considerable amount of financial means for development of certain aspects of society of future Member States. More specifically, these funds, also known as Instruments for Pre-Accession Assistance, serve as the enhancement and safety net for economically weak countries in Europe that have to develop their infrastructure, rural infrastructure, industry and provide their citizens with better living conditions.

In Serbia, the Ministry of Mining and Energy of the Republic of Serbia has commenced with the implementation of first such project.

The goal of the Cadaster of Mining Waste is to help Serbia overcome all negative effects of inadequate storage of toxic waste. Properly stored and adequately registered, this dangerous waste will be monitored and organized in the same way as it is done in all other developed countries.

During the procedure of introduction of this new system, several important steps will be taken. Serbia will first have to classify all types of mining waste that are currently existing and then to conduct an adequate risk assessment. Such analysis will help the public authorities determine the level of pollution and the danger coming along with the extracted waste.

According to the latest information, a German company PLEJADES GmbH, in cooperation with its compatriot DMT, has been chosen as the provider of services.

Even though this project is rather expensive, 90% of all necessary resources are supplied by IPA funds and Serbia needs to contribute only 10%.

Although this project seems like just a drop in the ocean, this is truly an important step further in the implementation of demanding and expensive environmental policies which will provide a much healthier environment for all.

After all, we did not inherit this planet, it is just our duty to maintain it livable for future generations. Or at least until NASA confirms that the 7 new planets discovered in the TRAPPIST – 1 system are inhabitable.