Dubrovnik-Neretva County is the southernmost county in the Republic of Croatia, adorned by the blue-green landscape, valuable cultural and natural heritage and tremendously rich history. The whole area used to be a republic for itself called the Republic of Ragusa, which was an important Mediterranean force from the 13th century onwards. This maritime society had highly expressed ethical and human values, with liberty as the highest worth. Ragusa was the first in Europe to abolish slavery (1416). Its motto was “Non bene pro toto libertas venditur auro” – “Liberty is not well sold for all the gold”. This republic made one of the first medieval sewer systems (1296), while other major cities across Europe had little or none awareness for the disposal of this type of waste. Today, 29% of the area is under NATURA 2000 protection and managed to preserve its beauty with very indented coastline that varies from sheltered bays, sandy beaches of exotic beauty, steep shoreline with cliffs facing the open sea, islands, forest parks, reserves and its gracefulness of numerous fortifications, civil structures, religious buildings, summer residences… Our pilot case boasts of with the World Heritage Site (Old City of Dubrovnik) with its medieval, 6 meters thick and 2 kilometres long walls that have been popular filming site for Game of Thrones series, the latest episode of the Star Wars franchise and will become Nottingham Castle in the new Robin Hood blockbuster.
Reflection on the tourism in the pilot
Dubrovnik-Neretva County´s economy is profoundly influenced by its geographic position, the length, indentation and quality of the coast, still extremely clear sea, the buildings that fit perfectly into the landscape, by numerous protected areas in terms of geology and nature. This circumstance led to a large expansion of tourism offers, mainly accommodation and catering sectors. Regardless of whether you are visiting Dubrovnik Neretva Region for the first time or the hundredth, the sense of awe never fails to descend when you set eyes on its beauty. It’s hard to imagine anyone becoming jaded by the region green vistas, baroque buildings and the endless shimmer of the Adriatic. Main tourism types are cultural (UNESCO protected heritage site and festival, fortification complexes, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches, monasteries…), rural (Mediterranean villages and rural households with domestic products; National Park, Nature Park, Ramsar Site, special forest vegetation, botanical park, the biggest special reserve in the sea) and nautical tourism (cruise tourism, island cruises). The Region´s location and mild Mediterranean climate provides the possibility of growing all kinds of agricultural plants as nowhere else in Croatia (citrus fruits, grape vines – white and red wines of protected origin, olive trees, etc.) and represents abundance in eno – gastro touristic offer. This pilot case is marked by a strongly expressed seasonality in tourism, with high peak season from June to September. In one year period, our pilot case counts more than 1,3 million visitors and more than 6 million overnight stays. The main emphasis is on the city of Dubrovnik with about with 25% of the total accommodation capacity of the Region and more than 40% of total overnight stays. The largest number of overnight stays refers to foreign tourists of wide age range that spend their time traveling around the whole pilot area.
Current waste management practices
Waste management in Dubrovnik-Neretva County and its efficiency, has to be ensured by Croatian Government and the competent Ministry of Environment and Energy. In accordance with the Sustainable Waste Management act (NN 94/13) each local government unit is obligated to deliver conditions and implement prescribed measures for waste management. Dubrovnik Neretva Region still hasn´t established County Centre for Waste Management – it is in the process of establishment (feasibility study preparation). Applicable waste management plan for Dubrovnik-Neretva County has been adopted for the period from 2008 to 2015, which means that new Waste Management Plan should be developed for the following period. From total municipal waste, still relatively little waste is separated (10 – 15%), but there is an increase in recent years recorded in the separate collection of plastic and paper. Major problems in the area are illegal landfills with construction and bulky waste. Dubrovnik Neretva Region is one of the counties with the highest number of active landfills and a large number of illegal landfills, especially on the islands. On total of 1780,86 km² land area there is in total 10 active landfills. It can be said that a certain measures and activities aimed at sustainable management and reduction of the amount of waste are carried out. Remediation of active landfills have been implemented, as well as rehabilitation and clean-up actions of illegal landfills with citizens participating. However, it is necessary to speed up building activities of County Centre for Waste Management in order to rehabilitate all active landfills and to proceed with all needed waste management measures.
Impact of tourism on waste management
Dubrovnik-Neretva County is marked by a strongly expressed tourism seasonality, with high peak season from june to september. The socio-economic impact of tourism is extraordinary, but it brings at the same time a range of negative externalities, such as high levels of unsustainable resource consumption and waste production. tourism industry is particularly sensitive to environmental issues because of the preserved environment as its primary resource. Due to intensified tourist traffic in the summer months, we can observe a significant environmental pressure on air, land and sea (higher air pollution in cities, increased amounts of wastewater and municipal waste). In some areas of the pilot case the municipal waste amount increases from 50% (City of Dubrovnik) up to 400% (City of Korčula). An important tourism sector is nautical tourism, i.e. cruise shipping. Port of Dubrovnik for several years now, with series of measures, seeks to limit the number of passengers from cruise ships up to 8000 per day. waste management problems detected for the cruise shipping situation is sea water pollution (wastewater and ballast water) and inadequately developed waste management infrastructure on land, for cruise ships admission and for such a large number of people in passing during one day period. URBAN-WASTE will support policy makers in developing adequate strategies and answering these challenges.