By linking local authorities and communities who live close to the Vrbas River basin, international organisations, companies, and Governments, the “Clean Vrbas” project sets the foundations for the preserving and strengthening of the economic potential of river basins in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The second Eco Regatta “Clean Vrbas” took place from 29 June to 2 July. The project which started last year in nine municipalities of the Vrbas River basin, connected local authorities and their public utility bodies, the Coca‑Cola group in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, the mission of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Government of Japan, as well as the non-government organisations and the population in the river bed cleaning and the strengthening of the awareness on the significance of the natural treasure to the local communities development.

The project will serve as a model for the protection and strengthening of economic potentials and basins of other rivers in the country.

“Caring about water is one of the priorities of Coca‑Cola in the region, but also at global level. Our efforts are focused on three important areas: reducing water consumption in the production of beverages, harmonising all production processes for water purification, and investing into local community through water protection programmes. Through the “Clean Vrbas” Project, we have the opportunity to point out the importance of water protection and help the local community to focus at the Vrbas River clean up while strengthening the awareness on its importance for the local development. We believe that the successful implementation of the project will raise the awareness of state and local authorities, the domestic population, members of sport clubs, and the youth on the importance of the protection of the water and environment, and become an example for the preservation and strengthening of the economic potential of other basins in the country and the region” said Boška Trbojević, the Director of the Public Affairs and Communications Department for Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. For this year’s Eco Regatta educational leaflets were printed and handed out on the streets of all cities which Eco Regarra travelled since 29 June from Gornji Vakuf, and for the next five days through Bugojno, Donji Vakuf, Jajce, Banja Luka, and Laktaši, ending in Srbac on 3 July.

“We are happy with the response of the citizens since it is important for us to raise awareness for the protection of Vrbas river as a common good for a large number of people. But, the campaign we are conducting at this moment, as well as the project which encompasses, it has wider goals than mere pure water. We want to show people that the protection of the Vrbas and nature is the protection of themselves and their families, and that by protecting the Vrbas River they can do a lot for themselves and for their loved ones – in the sense of a healthier, and more prosperous life” pointed out Goran Vukmir, Head of the UNDP Regional Office in Banja Luka.

Just like the previous Eco Regattas organised by the Rafting Club “Kanjon” from Banja Luka, during which the central part of the Vrbas River riverbed around Banja Luka, one part of this year’s activity was also focused on the review of the situation regarding the Vrbas River upper stream, the installation of dumpsters, the transport of bulk waste to landfills, the education of the local population, and the connection of state representatives for a common goal, namely the preservation of the river. What is even more important, the activities of this year were especially focused on the training and better organisation of those who care about the river the most – rafting clubs from this area – in order for them to become the permanent protectors of the Vrbas River. With that in mind, training for rafting guides/skippers, as well as the education of young people in eco-schools was organised this year, and for that purpose 10 sets of rescue equipment, 20 sets of rafting equipment, 10 sets of children's equipment for eco-schools in Karanovac, and Krupa na Vrbasu, as well as two large boats for rafting clubs “Dabar” from Donji Vakuf, and “Jajce” from Jajce, were provided.

Connecting local authorities and rafting clubs for a joint mission regarding the protection of the Vrbas River began with the establishing of a coordination body composed of city and municipality Mayors of all municipalities at the Vrbas River who signed a charter on the preservation of the river. 

By connecting communities from the source to the mouth of the Vrbas River, the Eco Regatta help the implementation of the above mentioned charter and encourages the local population to discard waste at places planned for that purpose. By including the highest representatives of local authorities located at the Vrbas River into its activities, the rafting clubs encourage them to pay constant care in order to solve the waste water and waste disposal problem at the water banks, in order to restore the Vrbas River to its original beauty and preserve it for all times. 

For more information, please contact:

Alma Šahbaz
Public Affairs & Communications Department 

Tel: ++ 387 33 284 160
Fax: ++ 387 33 284 111