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Vasove Vode Illegal Landfill, Montenegro


The decision on landfill location was made in 1995, while sanitary landfill and a recycling center were constructed seven years ago with no public opposition.

However, in 2012, when the construction was almost done, citizens of Beranselo and Beranselce started protesting against the landfill including blocking the access roads. They consider the landfill illegal, hazardous, and too close to the homes. Besides representing a serious risk to human health, waste from this landfill is being washed away by the river Lim and in such way threatening to become an international problem and get a political dimension. Due to the blockade, a huge amount of waste has accumulated in Berane resulting in communal water pollution which provoked an epidemic burst of stomach problems in more than a thousand people.

The police and the judiciary got involved in countless meetings at various levels, however with no results. Due to the alarming epidemic situation in Berane some citizens/reporters perceive the blockades as a negative response, and characterized it as "torture of a minority over the majority". The blockade of the access road lasted for three years, during which it was broken several times by the Montenegrin police including arrests of the protesters. The expert group formed in an agreement among Beranselo’s activist and local government opposed to the project claiming that the experts report on landfill was lacking objectivity, and under the influence of corruption.

Meanwhile, while waiting for the final decision on the issue from the relevant state authorities, garbage is being disposed to the landfill in city of Bar (200 km), however this is just a temporary solution that it is financially, technically and environmentally unsustainable and includes a threat to human health. The first report elaborated under the name of "Environmental Impact Assessment of the Regional Sanitary Landfill in Berane Municipality" expired and a new one was developed under the name of "Environmental Impact Assessment of the project of the landfill remediation and the construction of a regional center for the waste treatment for Berane, Rozaje, Andrijevica and Plav at the location of Vasov Do". The NGOs and local community of Beranselo somewhat objected to the new EIA claiming it was just the same as the previous one, which resulted in putting on hold issuance of a building permit. Since February 2014, this illegal dump site is temporarily closed and waiting for sanitation and remediation. However, as per information from 2016, the sanitation process has not started yet due to the procedural difficulties, and it is planned for spring 2017. 

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Vasove Vode Illegal Landfill, Montenegro
Location of conflict:Berane municipality
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
Medical waste

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Around one million tons of waste was disposed on this illegal dump including medical waste. Transporting garbage to the landfill in Bar costs 13,520 US dollars /month. Around 5,000 people got sick, and nearly 1,600 had seek help in the hospital.

1,115,110 USD have been invested in the site sanitation.

Project area:6.8
Level of Investment:12,570,000
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:Up to 30,000
Start of the conflict:2010
Company names or state enterprises:Geotin inžinjering d.o.o. - Author of "Control measurements of the relevant lengths at the site Vasova voda"
Flemer stone d.o.o. - Author of "Waste Management Plan for the area of Berane Municipality 2010-2014"
Environmental Protection company ERICO Velenje - Author of "A study on the assessment of the need for the audit of the Strategic Master Plan for Waste Management in Montenegro and recommendations for the organization of waste management by 2030"
PUC “Komunalno” Berane - Responsible of dumpsite, collecting waste and elaboration of Spatial planning document for the project
Security Center Berane - Providing assistance to the Communal Police in breaking the blockade
Eko Montenegro d.o.o. - Author of "Selecting a location of the sanitary landfill for communal waste for municipalities Berane, Rožaje, Andrijevica i Plav"
Urban projekt Podgorica from Montenegro - Author of the second EIA „Elaborat procjene uticaja na životnu sredinu za projekat sanacije odlagališta otpada i izgradnje regionalnog centra za obradu otpada za Berane, Rožaje, Andrijevicu i Plav, na lokaciji Vasov do“
Medix d.o.o Podgorica from Montenegro - Author of the first EIA „Elaborat procjene uticaja na životnu sredinu izgradnje regionalne sanitarne deponije u opštini Berane“
Relevant government actors:Municipality Berane; Montenegro Police; Ministry of Health of Republic of Montenegro; Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism of Republic of Montenegro; Ministry for Spatial Planning and Environment of Republic of Montenegro; Environmental Protection Agency of Republic of Montenegro; Committee on Tourism, Agriculture and Environment of Republic of Montenegro
International and Finance InstitutionsEuropean Investment Bank (EIB) - Investor
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:NGO „Ozon“; NGO MANS; NGO „Green home“

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Potential: Air pollution, Fires, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Infectious diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights


Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Negotiated alternative solution
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of alternatives:Because of inconsistencies in the law, NGOs and Citizents of Beranselo demanded from the Municipal authorities to prohibit further disposal of the waste at Vasove vode, do urgent rehabilitation of the current site, and build a new modern sanitary landfill and recycling center at the appropriate location.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:According to information from 2016 (two years after closure) sanitation of the Vasove vode illegal landfill did not started yet.

Sources & Materials

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries


Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Berane: Odblokirana deponija Vasove Vode


Iz drugog ugla: Beranska „ekološka“ farsa se nastavlja

Berane: Otpad mora pred skupštinu Crne Gore

Deponija na Vasovim vodoma i dalje tačka sporenja seljana i opštine : Beranselci nezadovoljni elaboratom

Kako će regionalni centar za obradu otpada u Beranama uticati na okolinu: Danas javna rasprava o Vasovim vodama

Blockade of Vasove vode landfill


Novac niz potok, sanacija teška

Za deponovanje čvrstog otpada još nema rješenja: Vasove vode „nagrizaju“ i budžet

Iz drugog ugla – Vasove vode: Na braniku konfuzije

Citizens urge authorities to remove waste site in Montenegro

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Foto-video priča: Vasova Voda, MZ Beranselo, Berane (update)

Vasove vode: Sanacija smetlišta ostala mrtvo slovo na papiru

Meta information

Contributor:Jovanka Spiric, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)
Last update25/05/2016



Medical waste at Vasove Vode Landfill

Medical waste at Vasove Vode represent a great risk to the environment and human health

Waste burning at the landfill near Berane

Illegal landfill Vasove Vode is source of air pollution

Protest in Berane

Citizens chained together with the representatives of environmental organizations in front Local Parliament asking for the solution of the problem with the landfill of Vasove Vode. The sing says "I do not want to live in garbage!"